Now is the time for a coalition of communities and advocates to champion citizen-led ROW stewardship

StreetBoxPHL is working with groups across Philadelphia to

  • Support ROW Reform of regulations
  • Support ROW Stewards through programming and capital support

The COVID-19 Pandemic has forced citizens, City officials, business owners and community development organizations to reimagine how our streets serve our city.  Clear themes have emerged for street-based placemaking in the last 10 months that make 2021 a critical time to revisit how the City manages its streets (technically referred to as the Right of Way, or ROW), to learn from the successes of new street uses and see how those lessons can open up more opportunities for community stewardship of our streets. Now is to organize and marshal collective resources to make it easier to reclaim concrete for the community.

A coalition of community stewards shall provide City Officials, City Council, Placemaking Stakeholders, and Funders an opportunity to take stock of the pandemic and consider changes needed to make it easier for neighbors to utilize the cartway for community activities.  Doing so requires drafting a ROW Reform Agenda.  Such an Agenda shall:

  • Reflect on how Philadelphia’s new streets use rules during the pandemic reveal opportunities to change longstanding policy and practice.  
  • Outline specific steps that the City and Council can take to expand placemaking opportunities within City streets.
  • Outline specific investments that funders could make that would help more communities emerge as champions and custodians of these spaces.

A ROW Reform Agenda shall provide stakeholders an opportunity to see how these lessons could:

  • Expand the number of streets communities can transform, and ways businesses can operate in, the ROW.  Use of state routes, and table service in the cartway, were all previously forbidden as part of placemaking activities and should now be revisited for post-pandemic public space.
  • Make it easier for communities to pilot projects: The lowering of thresholds, the creation of grace periods, and a street furniture library (with an inventory of pre-approved flex post delineators, planters, etc.) could make it easier for stakeholders to take the chance to pilot public space projects.
  • Expand access to placemaking technical support: Demystifying the Streets review process, shortening the review timeline, and connecting learners and practitioners, will make it easier for groups with high amounts of community engagement, but low technical capacity, to transform their neighborhood streets.

In response to this need, and in support of this reform,
StreetBoxPHL is committed to building a coalition that shall:

Support ROW Reform: 

The Coalition will educate citizens and lawmakers about how different review regimes, regulations, and support, can enhance equitable community-led ROW stewardship.  

Support ROW Stewards:

The Coalition will build programmatic and capital support from Funders and Officials for community-based ROW stewards