In 2022, Feet First Philly celebrated 10 years of advocacy, held numerous walks and other events, and funded public space enhancement projects across Philadelphia. As 2023 approaches, we are taking a look back on our accomplishments this year and getting ready for another year of fighting for pedestrians. Here are a few things we have been up to:
Feet First Philly turned 10 years old, and launched a 10 year anniversary celebration – 10 walks for 10 years. These walks and events have been well attended, very informative, and fun. Read here to learn about some of our previous events and our next upcoming walk, along the K&T Trail in Northeast Philadelphia on 12/4 with Riverfront North Partnership.
FFP has been working to support the next generation of pedestrian advocates, and partnered with Temple University for the third year to offer Walk Audit Certifications. This year, the students worked with Tookany/Tacony Watershed Partnership (TTF) to conduct a walk audit at a trail crossing on the busy Rising Sun Ave.
Traffic calming measures are important to help keep pedestrians and other vulnerable road users safe. But FFP’s analysis discovered that only 3% of the High Injury Network are eligible for traffic calming measures according to city and state guidelines. That means the most dangerous roads cannot receive traffic calming measures.
For the third year in a row, Feet First Philly and Clean Air Council partnered with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to fund public space enhancement mini-grant projects. From the 2021-2022 mini-grant season we received over 60 applications and funded eight (8) amazing projects. Projects were implemented by community groups throughout the spring and early summer.
Planters, funded by Feet First Philly, were installed along the sidewalk next to Adaire Middle School in Fishtown to block illegal parking and filled with native plants.
Late spring FFP received additional funding for the Public Space Enhancement Mini-grant program from the University of Pennsylvania philanthropy grant making course. This, combined with donations from pedestrian advocates like you, placed us in a better position to fund more projects this year. On August 1st, FFP launched the third round of the Public Space Enhancement Mini-grant Program and we expect to announce recipients of the mini-grants before the end of the year.
Building parklets is one way that community groups can improve a space and extend the sidewalk. Parklets allow neighborhoods to reclaim space from vehicles and provide additional public space to pedestrians. During Park(ing) Day 2022, FFP released an infographic that explains how to get a permanent parklet in your neighborhood.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all success for pedestrian advocacy this year. In February, the City shamefully backtracked from its final design choice for the Washington Avenue Improvement project. This was a huge disappointment to Feet First Philly, other advocates, and community members. We joined other advocates in demanding the Mayor and Councilmember Johnson take action to move forward with traffic safety measures on the west side of Washington Avenue, to no avail.
Sidewalks in Philadelphia are in poor and very poor conditions, and the current law leaves the burden to fix these sidewalks on property owners. Feet First Philly launched an action demanding the city to fund sidewalks like they fund streets. The first step in this action is to hire a sidewalk coordinator who can categorize sidewalks in the city and leverage State and Federal funding to fix them. The action also aimed to draw awareness to Philly’s broken and missing sidewalks. Unfortunately, the city declined to recognize sidewalks as a priority in their budget again this past year.
Despite both of these disappointments, Feet First Philly will continue fighting for safer road design and high quality sidewalks in 2023 and into the next mayoral administration. But we need your help to do it: our Giving Tuesday fundraiser is open now to raise general funds that will help support our advocacy work. You can start donating now to help us reach our goal of $500! Donate TODAY and help us continue advocating for pedestrian rights.