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

  • Bernice Nicholson
    signed via 2018-08-04 20:58:59 -0400
  • Claire Pitts
    signed via 2018-08-04 20:54:33 -0400
    Claire Pitts
  • Robert Jaffe
    signed via 2018-08-04 20:46:51 -0400
    I am advocating voting out every sitting member of Council next year, precisely because of ridiculous legislation like this.
  • Sara Cohen
    signed via 2018-08-04 19:53:18 -0400
  • Michael Gall
    signed via 2018-08-04 19:02:23 -0400
  • Paul Glover
    signed 2018-08-04 18:09:32 -0400
    End this policy
  • Danielle Dunn
    signed via 2018-08-04 16:31:08 -0400
  • Marina Isakowitz
    signed via 2018-08-04 16:02:00 -0400
  • Robert Monk
    signed 2018-08-04 16:00:13 -0400
    A search for ‘block party’ on the mayor’s website turns up no justification for the added red tape, and my intuition is the system before the police authorization rule was better.

    I could see maybe a mandatory meeting with local police representative before the event, as a way to strengthen police-community relations, but even that could dampen interest in organizing events. Most of my interactions with police have not been pleasant.
  • Jason Thomas
    signed via 2018-08-04 15:40:43 -0400
    As a home owner and a fan of enjoying my neighborhood without the extra restrictions. I prefer not to have police presence unless they are called. What’s next!? Police telling me I cant sit my step past 8pm. Or Police telling my the lights in my home cant be on past a certain time.

    I say NO to Police States and YES to Freedom.
  • Matthew Rothstein
    signed 2018-08-04 15:17:50 -0400
  • Rebecca Labow
    signed via 2018-08-04 15:12:35 -0400
  • Ella Comberg
    signed 2018-08-04 15:10:28 -0400
  • Anna Cheyette
    signed 2018-08-04 15:03:56 -0400
  • Lee Thompson
    signed via 2018-08-04 14:59:36 -0400
  • E‣MUL‣SION B-Sides 🍮🏳️‍🌈
    @asunflowerpose tweeted link to this page. 2018-08-04 14:52:17 -0400
    Petition: Save Philly's Block Party Program! No Police Power Grab!
  • Connor Park
    signed 2018-08-04 14:51:56 -0400
  • Rachel Robinson
    signed 2018-08-04 13:47:48 -0400
  • Scott Gross
    signed 2018-08-04 12:23:36 -0400
  • Sylvia Wright
    signed via 2018-08-04 11:37:21 -0400
    What good comes from fraternizing with police about ANYTHING???
  • Kyle Andrews
    signed 2018-08-04 11:00:40 -0400
  • Jennifer Mcgarrigle
    signed 2018-08-04 10:44:10 -0400
  • Yancy Davis
    signed 2018-08-04 10:29:37 -0400
    Block parties make this neighborhood so special to us, especially in this season.
  • Chad Hooper
    signed 2018-08-04 10:03:04 -0400
  • Wesley Carter
    signed via 2018-08-04 09:58:21 -0400
  • Elaine Dutton
    signed 2018-08-04 09:56:26 -0400
  • Jessica Rights
    signed 2018-08-04 09:36:57 -0400
  • Elias Gorman
    signed 2018-08-04 09:01:53 -0400
    This is already in effect and I’ve SIGNED block parties. HTF did this never reach my ears?
  • Alicia Cobb
    signed via 2018-08-04 08:26:31 -0400
  • Daniel Smith
    signed 2018-08-04 08:00:33 -0400