Petition: Save Philly's Block Party Program! No Police Power Grab!

(Fishtown Block Party | Image: Jon Geeting)

Philadelphia is known as the Block Party capital of the East Coast, closing more streets for community celebrations than any other big city. 

But the Kenney administration just threw a big wrench into the gears of Philly block party culture by requiring communities to get pre-approved by the local Police District first before they can submit a petition to Streets.

This is totally unnecessary red tape that's just going to make it harder for neighbors to organize block parties, and weaken this important part of Philadelphia's culture.

Sign and share this petition to SAY NO to this Block Party Power Grab by the Police Department!

One of the biggest reasons why Philadelphia has such a strong block party culture—which is most popular in majority black neighborhoods in North, West, and western South Philly—is because of how cheap and easy it is to get a permit.

A block party permit costs only $25, and requires signatures from 75% of households on the block (or 90% on a weeknight or non-holiday). As of a few years ago, you can also apply for a block party permit online, thanks to Tim Wisniewski during the Nutter administration, who put the permitting process online in an effort to streamline block party organizing.

Now Mayor Kenney is going in the exact opposite direction, creating an annoying two-step process that's going to be much less clear and straightforward for residents. And by leaving it up to individual Police Districts all over the city, there's going to be too much personal discretion from individual police officers to decide who gets to have a party or not.

That's unfair, and is the opposite of the direction we need to be going in, with even more lax permission requirements to use streets as public space.

The Streets Department is framing this in Orwellian terms, talking about why Police pre-approval will improve "customer service" or the "efficiency and integrity" of the program, but that only makes sense if you consider the Police and City service providers as the customers to be served—not the residents organizing the block parties.

For the real customers, it's going to mean more of your block party applications getting vetoed by the Police for unclear reasons. Maybe police officers just prefer to drive on your block and don't want the hassle of going around—DENIED! There's also the additional hassle and delay of getting a permit reviewed by two separate departments—a burden that should be on the City to coordinate, not the block party organizer.

This policy already went into effect on August 1st and was just announced with no advance warning, so we need to get the Kenney administration to reverse this new rule.

Take Action: Sign and share this petition to help raise awareness of the block party power grab. Then, call your City Councilmembers and ask them to call on Mayor Kenney to support Philly's block party program, and oppose pre-approval by Police.

District Members

District 1: Mark Squilla: [email protected], (215) 686-3458, (215) 686-3459

District 2: Kenyatta Johnson: [email protected], (215) 686-3412, (215) 686-3413

District 3: Jannie Blackwell: [email protected], (215) 686-3418, (215) 686-3419

District 4: Curtis Jones, Jr.: [email protected], (215) 686-3416, (215) 686-3417

District 5: Darrell Clarke (Council President): [email protected], (215) 686-3412, (215) 686-3443

District 6: Bobby Henon (Majority Leader): [email protected], (215) 686-3444, (215) 686-3445

District 7: Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez: [email protected], (215) 686-3448, (215) 686-3449

District 8: Cindy Bass: [email protected], (215) 686-3424, (215) 686-3425

District 9: Cherelle Parker: [email protected], 215) 686-3454, (215) 686-3455

District 10: Brian O'Neill: brian.o'[email protected], (215) 686-3422, (215) 686-3423


At-Large Members

Blondell Reynolds-Brown: [email protected], (215) 686-3438, (215) 686-3439

Allan Domb: [email protected], (215) 686-3414, (215) 686-3415

Derek Green: [email protected], (215) 686-3450, (215) 686-3451

Bill Greenlee: [email protected], (215) 686-3446, (215) 686-3447

Helen Gym: [email protected], (215) 686-3420, (215) 686-3421

David Oh (R): [email protected], (215) 686-3452, (215) 686-3453

Al Taubenberger: (R): [email protected], (215) 686-3440, (215) 686-3441

672 signatures

Will you sign?

Showing 539 reactions

  • Beth Hollingshead
    signed via 2018-08-02 18:20:35 -0400
  • Anna Smith
    signed 2018-08-02 18:05:40 -0400
  • Eric Gerchberg
    signed 2018-08-02 17:58:34 -0400
  • Whitney Barnebey
    signed 2018-08-02 17:57:41 -0400
  • Elizabeth Campion
    signed 2018-08-02 17:48:25 -0400
  • Deborah Matus
    signed 2018-08-02 17:44:25 -0400
  • Oskar Castro
    signed via 2018-08-02 17:37:20 -0400
    I think the arguments made in this appeal are cogent and deserve sincere and authentic consideration. A better explanation for the backward trend would be appreciated as well, but in lieu of that I’ll take going back to the way it was and should be.
  • Katy Otto
    signed 2018-08-02 17:15:46 -0400
  • Pelle Tracey
    signed 2018-08-02 17:14:59 -0400
  • Jacques-Jean Tiziou
    signed 2018-08-02 17:13:30 -0400
    Our block in its second year of hosting block parties and it has been a wonderful way for neighbors to create and deepen relationships. To have to go to two separate authorities does seem like extra complication, and I agree with the sentiments voiced that Streets & Police Depts should be coordinating this on the back-end. (I thought they already were…?)
  • Jacob Hope
    signed 2018-08-02 17:11:39 -0400
  • Kevin Maguire
    signed 2018-08-02 17:02:01 -0400
  • Marianne Schilling-McCabe
    signed 2018-08-02 17:00:02 -0400
  • Alexandra Montgomery
    signed via 2018-08-02 16:54:24 -0400
  • Patrick Morgan
    signed 2018-08-02 16:47:28 -0400
  • Christopher Palmer
    signed 2018-08-02 16:47:10 -0400
  • Claire Labe
    signed 2018-08-02 16:41:28 -0400
  • Katie Foster
    signed via 2018-08-02 16:29:14 -0400
  • Renee Byer
    signed 2018-08-02 16:25:39 -0400
    Incredibly rude and unnecessary!
  • Ellen Giranda
    signed 2018-08-02 16:15:59 -0400
  • Willard Johnson
    signed 2018-08-02 16:11:00 -0400
  • Allison Kelsey
    signed 2018-08-02 15:58:09 -0400
    Allison Kelsey – This is an absurd requirement. I’d much prefer my local Police District to focus on crime, not approve block party permits. Plus, our block is about to apply for one, and this now adds an extra step.
  • Rebecca Wanner
    signed via 2018-08-02 15:53:04 -0400
  • Kevin Todd
    signed 2018-08-02 15:51:45 -0400
  • Elliott Battzedek
    signed 2018-08-02 15:49:57 -0400
  • Christopher Romano
    signed via 2018-08-02 15:49:26 -0400
  • Sequoia Medley
    signed via 2018-08-02 15:44:42 -0400
    This is an absolutely unnecessary proposal.
  • Megan Andeer
    signed 2018-08-02 15:28:32 -0400
    Why would you make it harder to let neighbors get together, get to know each other and build community? In this world of constant screens, anything we can do to make people communicate, in person only helps build understanding.
  • David Sherick
    signed via 2018-08-02 15:27:23 -0400
    Don’t touch the block party programs. If this happens, I will be voting against the current district members at the next opportunity.
  • Caitlin Quigley
    signed 2018-08-02 15:24:31 -0400