We are almost halfway to our goal of $2,000! Thanks to the generosity of pedestrian advocate Peter Kim, all donations over the next 19 days (up to $2,000) will be matched. Help us fund more public space enhancement projects like the Friends of Adaire’s tree planter project which stopped illegal parking on a sidewalk next to Adaire elementary school in Fishtown.

Read why Friends of Adaire co-founder Denis Devine supports the Feet First Philly Public Space Enhancement Mini-Grant Program.

I have been an active Fishtown community member since I moved to the neighborhood in 2008. However, it wasn’t until I started pushing a stroller in 2011 that I really noticed how difficult it is to travel on sidewalks, mostly because of rampant sidewalk parking all around the neighborhood. Those babies in the stroller grew up and became students at the around-the-corner elementary school, Alexander Adaire K-8, where I co-founded the Friends of Adaire volunteer parent organization.

Friends of Adaire co-founder Denis Devine helps move one of the new planters into place where it will serve as a barrier to illegal parking and part of native plant container garden.

My school volunteering and my increasing concern for navigating this neighborhood’s car-strewn sidewalks came together when I experienced firsthand the dangers of trying to walk my kids to school while dodging cars backing up onto the sidewalk. My kids, and many other kids, had to navigate around illegally parked cars and parents attempting to park illegally to pick up and drop off their kids. Weekends were no better, and games at the adjacent sports field caused even more car vs kid conflicts on the Adaire Elementary sidewalk along Earl St.

I learned about the Feet First Philly Public Space Enhancement Mini-Grant program, and chose to apply. I decided that physical barriers to sidewalk parking were the only intervention that was going to work, and thought big stainless steel planters strategically placed between the tree pits would deter illegal sidewalk parking. I applied on behalf of Friends of Adaire, with the board’s approval and the principal’s support. Sadly, our project wasn’t chosen, and we didn’t get funding. Then, we got some good news…. 

When Feet First Philly contacted me in early April to tell me that another generous donor — I’ve since learned that was Peter Kim, who I’ve come to know and respect through his shared interests in bicycling with his kids and advocating for safer streets — had made a generous donation allowing my application to be funded, I was ecstatic. 

This year on Earth Day, we installed the planters and filled them with native plants. Our event had an incredible turnout with dozens of families and so many kids helping out. Those planters have kept cars off the sidewalk ever since. Recently, we transplanted the first of the plants from the planters into the elementary school’s rain garden to make room for the new plants we’re going to grow from seeds collected by our students at the rain garden. 

All of this was made possible by Feet First Philly investing in safer sidewalks for students to get to school. I encourage you to make a donation today to support this amazing program, and help Feet First Philly fund projects that improve safety and enhance the pedestrian experience in communities across Philadelphia.