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

  • Erin Gautsche
    signed 2018-08-02 12:32:06 -0400
  • John Cruice
    signed 2018-08-02 12:32:02 -0400
  • John Reid
    signed 2018-08-02 12:27:12 -0400
    This is a vindictive change in policy.
  • Erika Morgan
    signed 2018-08-02 12:22:56 -0400
  • Naomi Littell
    signed 2018-08-02 12:17:36 -0400
    This administration needs to work on better police conduct, conduct that shows police can behave in humane ways. Until that has been shown I cannot consider this as anything less than a ridiculous bureaucratic power grab. How dare you! NO to this.
  • Matt Ruben
    signed 2018-08-02 12:17:26 -0400
  • Scott Lamson
    signed 2018-08-02 12:17:03 -0400
  • Harold Burnett
    signed 2018-08-02 12:16:14 -0400
    Growing up in Strawberry Mansion block parties were a fundamental part of my Summers.

    Not only on my own block, but on every block in my neighborhood.

    Every weekend was filled with the smell of ribs hitting the charcoal grill. The booming sounds of a local DJ and laughter of all my neighbors.

    My family and I took part in every aspect from the morning street cleaning to the night time clean up after the block party had ended.

    As I got older and moved a few times I would always make a point to ride my bike around my old neighborhood during Block Party season. The sounds and smells of Block Parties are the Summer in Philadelphia no other gathering can match the unbridled joy and happiness a Block Party provides.
  • Evy Cruz
    signed 2018-08-02 12:12:59 -0400
  • Jeff Hornstein
    signed 2018-08-02 12:06:45 -0400
  • Dennis Blow
    signed 2018-08-02 12:05:50 -0400
  • Keith Purnell
    signed 2018-08-02 12:02:14 -0400
  • Dana Pavlichko
    signed 2018-08-02 12:00:44 -0400
  • Rachel Abbott
    signed 2018-08-02 11:59:52 -0400
  • Nick Marzano
    signed via 2018-08-02 11:57:12 -0400
    Unclear what the need is for this layer of oversight, and no clear rubric about what police want to see on an application. If there are legitimate concerns about safety, let’s hear them transparently. But unchecked discretion for no reason? Nah.
  • Amy Wilson
    signed 2018-08-02 11:55:21 -0400
  • Abby Doyle
    signed 2018-08-02 11:54:49 -0400
  • Miltreda Kress
    signed 2018-08-02 11:54:15 -0400
  • Joe Celentano
    signed 2018-08-02 11:54:15 -0400
  • John Poole
    signed 2018-08-02 11:52:30 -0400
  • Jackson Shellenberger
    signed 2018-08-02 11:51:19 -0400
    Power to the people.
  • Leroy Dabney
    signed 2018-08-02 11:49:08 -0400
    Police get approval from we the people. the people should not have to get approval from them to assemble.
  • Jennifer Corry
    signed via 2018-08-02 11:45:38 -0400
  • Stefan Zajic
    @sczajic tweeted link to this page. 2018-08-02 11:44:52 -0400
    Petition: Save Philly's Block Party Program! No Police Power Grab!
  • Stefan Zajic
    signed 2018-08-02 11:44:35 -0400
  • George Hasenecz
    signed 2018-08-02 11:44:17 -0400
  • Joe Zang
    signed 2018-08-02 11:44:09 -0400
  • Alison Roberts
    signed via 2018-08-02 11:43:27 -0400
    Alison Roberts
  • Benjamin Weber
    signed 2018-08-02 11:43:16 -0400
  • Brandy Bones
    signed 2018-08-02 11:42:48 -0400
    Brandy Bones