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

  • Travis Southard
    signed 2018-08-02 13:36:55 -0400
  • alison perelman
    signed 2018-08-02 13:36:17 -0400
  • Kenneth Highsmith
    signed via 2018-08-02 13:33:13 -0400
    Where do you get the pre-approval form from? What is the procedure?
  • Avalon Nemec
    signed 2018-08-02 13:32:08 -0400
  • Wydiah Sullivan
    signed 2018-08-02 13:31:38 -0400
  • Lucas Carine
    signed 2018-08-02 13:26:37 -0400
  • Harris Pike
    signed 2018-08-02 13:19:59 -0400
    Harris Pike
  • Sarah Anton
    signed via 2018-08-02 13:14:29 -0400
    It’s certainly important to alert the police when a block party is happening, but the whole point of requiring neighbor signatures is to allow for only those events that are truly in the interest of the community – as decided by the community. That should be enough of a check. This seems very unnecessary.
  • Jason Ang
    signed via 2018-08-02 13:13:51 -0400
  • Rebecca Lundy
    signed 2018-08-02 13:13:45 -0400
  • Amanda Feifer O'Brien
    signed 2018-08-02 13:10:16 -0400
    No thanks! Block parties have been working well for as long as I’ve lived in Philly. We do not need additional bureaucratic hurdles to enjoy outdoor time with our neighbors!
  • Tesia Barone
    signed via 2018-08-02 13:03:28 -0400
  • Patrick Kelly
    signed 2018-08-02 13:03:27 -0400
  • William Dungan
    signed 2018-08-02 13:01:00 -0400
  • Sara Sherr
    signed 2018-08-02 12:57:56 -0400
  • Brian Kall
    signed via 2018-08-02 12:56:23 -0400
    Brian Kall
  • Gretchen Dahlkemper
    signed 2018-08-02 12:54:04 -0400
  • Michael Colligan
    signed 2018-08-02 12:52:32 -0400
  • Erik Kelechava
    signed 2018-08-02 12:52:15 -0400
    I have a problem with the complete lack of any criteria which an applicant must meet to be approved by their local PD. This seems exactly like the kind of thing that’s going to lead to favoritism and discrimination. The police need to have some accountability to their communities here. This cannot turn into a completely opaque process.
  • Gayle Christiansrn
    signed via 2018-08-02 12:48:01 -0400
  • Max Morgan
    signed 2018-08-02 12:46:35 -0400
    Why give police more power???
  • Nicholas Apice
    signed 2018-08-02 12:44:01 -0400
  • Stephanie Zbikowski
    signed via 2018-08-02 12:43:20 -0400
  • Shoshana Milovsky
    signed 2018-08-02 12:41:55 -0400
  • Melissa Kosmicki
    signed 2018-08-02 12:38:57 -0400
  • Joe Spross
    signed 2018-08-02 12:38:46 -0400
  • Aaron Ronksley
    signed via 2018-08-02 12:38:13 -0400
  • Adam Woods
    signed via 2018-08-02 12:36:31 -0400
  • Bob Brooks
    signed 2018-08-02 12:36:05 -0400
  • Steph Davis
    signed 2018-08-02 12:32:40 -0400