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

  • Susan Stirling
    signed 2018-08-28 18:57:35 -0400
    Leave customer service to Comcast, the right of citizens to gather in the city should be easily accessible.
  • Kareema Burnett
    signed 2018-08-28 18:29:20 -0400
  • Cassandra Mack
    signed 2018-08-28 17:54:01 -0400
  • William palmer
    signed 2018-08-28 15:57:21 -0400
  • Mike Ford
    signed 2018-08-28 13:59:45 -0400
  • Andrew Collins
    signed 2018-08-28 13:12:08 -0400
  • Lily Goodspeed
    signed 2018-08-28 13:11:03 -0400
  • Sean McCarthy
    signed 2018-08-28 13:03:06 -0400
  • Aubrie Costello
    signed via 2018-08-28 11:41:46 -0400
  • Caitlin Youngster
    signed 2018-08-28 10:53:25 -0400
    Caitlin Youngster
  • Steve Gravelle
    signed 2018-08-28 09:35:53 -0400
  • Michael Harris
    signed 2018-08-28 09:14:40 -0400
  • christopher davis
    signed via 2018-08-28 02:07:43 -0400
  • joshua santiago
    signed 2018-08-28 00:02:36 -0400
  • Michelle Schwenk
    signed 2018-08-27 21:07:22 -0400
  • Jesse Todd
    signed 2018-08-27 20:39:47 -0400
  • Garry Jones
    signed 2018-08-27 19:46:56 -0400
  • Anna Humphries
    signed 2018-08-27 19:32:45 -0400
  • Cassie Homer
    signed 2018-08-27 19:30:41 -0400
    This rule requires unnecessary red tape that makes it incredible difficult to throw a block party. It’s unreasonable to expect citizens to jump through hoops to get the two departments to coordinate.
  • Nora Rizkalla
    signed 2018-08-27 18:58:40 -0400
  • Taryn Cregon
    signed 2018-08-27 18:11:10 -0400
  • brett udovich
    signed 2018-08-27 18:08:04 -0400
  • April Sansom
    signed 2018-08-27 17:54:10 -0400
    This is a ridiculous new policy that we didnt even get any notice about! Come on, Mayor Kenney. You have done so much good in this city. Don’t f/%$ it up with this policy. As you well know, our police precincts have WAY more important things to be doung than authorizing block parties.

    Our annual block party is crucial in keeping our neighborhood cohesive, friendly and SAFE. Please don’t make it harder for us — and so many other Philadelphians — to carry on this important tradition.

    I know you keep your mind open and are strong enough to change your mind when your constituents help you see a problem. Thank you.
  • tina ruzio
    signed 2018-08-27 17:26:50 -0400
  • Emma Purcell
    signed 2018-08-27 17:16:40 -0400
  • Jamir Milligan
    signed 2018-08-27 15:48:33 -0400
  • Jordan Poole
    signed 2018-08-27 15:14:26 -0400
    This policy infringes on the community’s ability to organize easily. No police interference!
  • April Schneider
    signed 2018-08-27 13:30:32 -0400
  • Anita Woodward
    signed 2018-08-27 12:49:58 -0400
  • Zachary Powers
    signed 2018-08-27 12:44:13 -0400
    Mayor Kenney and Councilmembers this rule is killing our city’s culture. Blanket bans are punishing black and brown folks for celebrating their neighborhoods. Community relations with police are bad enough. It’s wrong and it’s baffling that you think you’ll get re-elected while this rule is on the books. Do the right thing.