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

  • Aaron Pond
    signed 2018-08-07 22:11:51 -0400
  • Sabrina Jacot
    signed 2018-08-07 21:21:48 -0400
  • Leah Dirkse
    signed 2018-08-07 21:15:24 -0400
  • Chris DiBiase
    @ChrisDiBiaseRE tweeted link to this page. 2018-08-07 18:10:06 -0400
    Petition: Save Philly's Block Party Program! No Police Power Grab!
  • Chris DiBiase
    signed 2018-08-07 18:09:53 -0400
  • Nate Fletcher
    signed 2018-08-07 16:25:14 -0400
  • Andrea DiRugeris
    signed via 2018-08-07 15:14:52 -0400
    Andrea DiRugeris
  • Meg Rumsey
    signed 2018-08-07 14:03:18 -0400
  • Lauren Lewis
    signed 2018-08-07 13:44:22 -0400
    This is a racist policy and goes against the culture of the city. Not right.
  • Scott Ackerman
    signed 2018-08-07 13:42:35 -0400
  • Anthony Fasano
    signed 2018-08-07 13:32:51 -0400
  • Kathy Hayden
    signed 2018-08-07 13:22:42 -0400
  • Dee dee Lukes
    signed 2018-08-07 12:52:19 -0400
    Although I can certainly understand your concern; “block parties” in Philadelphia are as natural as pretzels and waterice on a sunny day. However,

    not every block/neighborhood is prepared to handle the negative consequences that can come from the bad behaviors of certain residents and outside influences. I do not see this as a “power grab”. Who better to know the possible negative out come of such a gathering than the police department. They spend far more time in their districts then Parks & Rec. They know exactly who the trouble makes are and the potential for havoc to occur if certain blocks are permitted to have parties. Furthermore, this action is already the norm. I know from personal experience because my block is one of those streets that can no longer have

    a “block party”.

    We have a particular Landlord who rents rooms from his property. He constantly rents to the lowest common denominator and over the years the police have dealt with once incident after another at this specific house. Finally, last summer after arresting a resident who had several automatic weapons and a large vat of chemicals, the Community Liaison from the 25th police district said my block could no longer have a “block party”. Even though the block captain retrieved said permit and the neighbors were all ( well mostly) in agreement, the police came to the block, tore down the yellow tape and told us no block party as a result of that particular boarding house.

    I applaud the 25th for their forward thinking: who knows what this guy was planning and who else may have been a participant. Additionally,

    my block is also plagued by high unemployment, sex workers and lots of drug traffic; the many negative elements that encourage bad behavior,

    they don’t need a damn “block party”! They need education, training and employment! As a former Wraparound counselor, I don’t believe

    in rewarding bad behavior. When everyday is a party: grilling on your porch, blasting your music to all hours of the day and night, smokin’

    weed all day, throwing trash into the street and hanging out on the corner, who needs to close the block?
    As much as I would love to sign your petition, I simply cannot. Firstly, you are too late. Secondly, everyone does not have the luxury of living
    in a healthy and safe environment. So… for some, the party is over. For others, perhaps this is a good time for community members and police

    districts to form better relationships. I know its easier said than done but if the Community Liaison or Captain of a district is familiar with the

    communities they serve, with individuals like block captains, committee people, pastors, shop owners, sports teams, school children and parents

    who walk their kids to school ( just to name a few), then maybe, just maybe a block permit would be a lot more obtainable.
  • Jordan Scrom
    signed 2018-08-07 12:35:20 -0400
  • Michael Bourg
    signed 2018-08-07 12:34:18 -0400
  • Daniel Homa
    signed 2018-08-07 12:25:14 -0400
  • Alexandra McFadden
    signed 2018-08-07 12:23:02 -0400
  • Dan Packel
    signed 2018-08-07 12:11:22 -0400
  • Megan Cauley
    signed 2018-08-07 12:09:20 -0400
  • Diego Gallardo
    signed 2018-08-07 11:20:18 -0400
    Diego Gallardo
  • Chris Cook
    signed 2018-08-07 11:07:40 -0400
  • Carolyn Levy
    signed 2018-08-07 10:49:52 -0400
  • Marielle Lerner
    signed 2018-08-07 10:42:13 -0400
  • Noah Corbett
    signed 2018-08-07 10:35:45 -0400
  • Megan Brown
    signed 2018-08-07 10:35:19 -0400
  • Larisa Mann
    signed 2018-08-07 10:27:06 -0400
  • Margaret Retz
    signed 2018-08-07 10:26:24 -0400
    The Streets Department and the Police Department need to work together to create a better system for approving block parties without adding an additional burden to residents trying to build a stronger sense of community in our neighborhoods by organizing block parties.
  • Eric Horvath
    signed 2018-08-07 10:25:11 -0400
  • Holly Mack-Ward
    signed 2018-08-07 10:24:13 -0400
  • Charlotte Murphy
    signed 2018-08-07 10:02:20 -0400