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

  • Kara Lieff
    signed 2018-08-02 15:13:38 -0400
  • Walter Bilderback
    signed 2018-08-02 15:04:26 -0400
  • Bobby Szafranski
    signed via 2018-08-02 15:01:39 -0400
    Don’t the police have better things to do than approve block parties?
  • Christina Greco
    signed via 2018-08-02 14:58:37 -0400
  • Joshua Miller-Myers
    signed 2018-08-02 14:58:10 -0400
    I believe that the existing procedure has enough safeguards in place; we don’t need additional barriers to community-building!
  • Jack McHugh
    signed 2018-08-02 14:54:05 -0400
    We don’t need police permission to use our own block. Don’t the police have better things to do ?
  • Peggy Guerin
    signed 2018-08-02 14:47:25 -0400
    Block parties are a wonderful tradition and should be encouraged, not made harder to obtain.
  • Eric Heydenberk
    signed 2018-08-02 14:46:34 -0400
  • Stefanie Williams
    signed 2018-08-02 14:45:56 -0400
    Block parties are very important to building and sustaining communities! Make it easier, not harder, for people to connect with one another
  • Phil Gentry
    @pmgentry tweeted link to this page. 2018-08-02 14:43:43 -0400
    Petition: Save Philly's Block Party Program! No Police Power Grab!
  • Randall Huth
    signed 2018-08-02 14:43:35 -0400
    I love a Philly block party. There’s no reason to make them harder to have. Block parties bring the community together…..and there a great time!
  • Philip Gentry
    signed via 2018-08-02 14:43:13 -0400
  • sandy katz
    signed 2018-08-02 14:40:08 -0400
  • Chris Mateer
    signed via 2018-08-02 14:39:34 -0400
  • Paul Smith
    signed 2018-08-02 14:34:29 -0400
  • Teresa Giardina
    signed via 2018-08-02 14:34:10 -0400
  • Bill Morrison
    signed 2018-08-02 14:27:03 -0400
  • Gabriel Hohmann
    signed 2018-08-02 14:15:01 -0400
  • Sarah Miller
    signed 2018-08-02 14:14:25 -0400
  • Sara Blumenthal
    signed via 2018-08-02 14:12:17 -0400
  • Allison Grassi
    signed 2018-08-02 14:11:50 -0400
  • Michael Shambach
    signed 2018-08-02 14:06:46 -0400
  • Justyn Myers
    signed 2018-08-02 14:01:33 -0400
    Justyn Myers
  • Al Beatty
    signed 2018-08-02 14:00:21 -0400
  • Sarah Davidson
    signed 2018-08-02 13:57:13 -0400
  • Jane Anderson
    signed 2018-08-02 13:53:12 -0400
  • steve hach
    signed 2018-08-02 13:47:23 -0400

    Police should not be worrying about block parties. they have bigger fish to fry.
  • Chris Nevin
    signed 2018-08-02 13:45:39 -0400
  • Fred Teitelbaum
    signed 2018-08-02 13:39:22 -0400
    No police involvement. Some block parties are imptomptu, and others are planned. Please remember Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods.
  • Lauren Summers
    signed 2018-08-02 13:38:50 -0400