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The Future is Crossable: Frankford Avenue in Fishtown Introduces Pedestrian-oriented Intersection Improvements

December 3, 2016

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It’s one small stop for cars, one giant relief for pedestrian-kind.

This weekend the City of Philadelphia installed stop signs, curb extensions, and crosswalks at Fishtown’s well-used 3-way intersection of Frankford avenue, Thompson and Shackamaxon streets! Now, as I do from time-to-time with this blog, please excuse me as I put my civic engagement citizen’s hat on for a post and talk more Streets Department than Streets Dept…

You may remember an article I wrote for Plan Philly in the summer of 2015 that talked about the need to make Frankford avenue in Fishtown more walkable/crossable (if you don’t, please feel free to check it out in-full HERE!) In it, I wrote:

“As a life-long Fishtowner, I take real pride in my neighborhood, and I’m thrilled about all the excitement along Frankford Avenue, these past few years especially. From art galleries, to cafes, to tech companies, to vintage shops, and clothing stores, Frankford Avenue in Fishtown is attracting all sorts of much-needed local businesses.”

“What Frankford Avenue is currently still missing, however, is walkability, or more pointedly crossability. Sandwiched between two El stops and surrounded by densely populated neighborhoods, there’s no reason why pedestrians should not have full access to this half-mile of highly used commercial corridor.”

“So what can we do? In my opinion, we need stop signs or at the very least crosswalks with pedestrian activated signals. Thompson, Belgrade, Marlborough, and Oxford streets would be good places to study this opportunity for safety improvements.”

Well, it seems I was FAR from the only person calling for more crossable intersections on Frankford avenue. In fact, the Fishtown Neighbors Association has apparently been working with the City for almost a year now to plan for and implement the Frankford/ Thompson/ Shackamaxon intersection improvements we’re all seeing this weekend. Great work, y’all!

And the improvements couldn’t have come at a more curial time, because as Billy Penn reported this week six people walking around Philly were killed by vehicles just this past November alone.

Let’s hope the City is working to make more intersections around Philly more crossable, including more intersections along Frankford avenue in Fishtown, which even with this weekend’s much-need improvements will still have a near half-mile stretch (from Thompson street to Palmer street) that is completely un-crossable by pedestrians.

And in addition to the need for more crossable intersections going up Frankford avenue, I wonder if we could maybe make Front street up to Lehigh avenue one-way for vehicle traffic and create a two-way protected bike lane?! Because…

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Awesome New Mural by Artist ‘AYE!’ in Kensington

November 30, 2016

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LOVE this new mural by artist AYE! at Palethorp and Turner streets in Kensington!

Philly Street Artists React to the Election of Donald J. Trump

November 23, 2016

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(New wheatepaste titled ‘Inauguration’ by Joe Boruchow)

Little more than two weeks after the Electoral College declared Donald J. Trump the President-Elect of the United States, Philly street artists are beginning to react.

In his new wheatepaste titled ‘Inauguration’ (pictured above), paper cutout artist Joe Boruchow shows a much more ominous depiction of Donald Trump than he had perviously created in any of the trio of anti-Trump pieces he made this past summer. As Joe tells me, he felt his original depictions of Trump were ‘too cutesy.’ See for yourself here.

In an Instagram post revealing this new wheatepaste design, Joe wrote:

“It won’t be ok. Regular life is over. Work to obstruct, defy and resist.” 

As is probably pretty obvious to anyone reading this post, lots of people – lots of artists, creatives, and people from marginalized communities especially – share Joe’s dismay and anger at the election of Trump, including myself. And, in perhaps a tiny bright spot on this otherwise entirely shitty (to say the least) moment, I think that anger is quickly turning into motivation to unite those communities and organize against what may very well be a Far-right swing in our Federal government.

In their latest “Dear Friend/Survivor” series that came out this week, the Philly-based feminist activist group Pussy Division released a number of wheatpastes that reached out to many of those communities.

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(New “Dear Friend/Survivor” wheatepaste series by Pussy Division)

And speaking of working fast to organize, Pussy Division has already created a Go Fund Me asking for support:

“We refuse to accept the hatred stemming from this election as the new normal.”

“In light of recent events in our country and the subsequent increase of hatred toward marginalized groups, Pussy Division needs to act fast. We’re asking for financial help to cover the costs of our supplies for this year so that we can get to action now without our ideas for expression being stifled by a lack of funds.”

The election of Donald Trump has even spurred at least one Philly street artists who typically avoids politics in his work…

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(New wheatepaste by Nero One)

After running into Nero‘s latest wheatpaste, I knew it spoke to me as a reaction and a rally cry against Trump, but I asked Nero himself to make sure that that was indeed the intent:

“I’m usually not one to voice my political views in my work, however this piece was indirectly related to the election results and the current situation our nation is facing. I tried to give that piece a double meaning so it could apply to more people. But yes to me personally it was about Trump.”

I can only suspect (and hope!) that we’ll begin to see more and more of Philly’s street art community – and the street art/art community at large – coming out and getting more actively political in their work over the coming months and years. Fuck Donald Trump and the hate that he represents. Fuck the Electoral College for failing America yet again. Fuck.

As sad as I’ve been the last couple of weeks, I can’t begin to tell you how uplifting it is to see our streets reflect the mix of anger and hope that I have. I fully believe in the idiom, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” And I think it’s time to get squeaky, y’all!

Philly At Night

November 22, 2016

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Just a few photos from a recent walk I took from West Philly into Center City… I’ve really been enjoying our city skyline’s westward expansion! I particularly love the nearly finished FMC Tower.

You may remember my visit to the then top of the still-rising FMC Tower from back in December – photos HERE! Hope to visit the new top soon. (Photos from Cira Green, which I’m still so surprised so few people know about yet, HERE too!)

Love. This. City. <3

Explore the New Streets Dept Print Shop!

November 21, 2016

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Get your loved ones some original, Philly-centric wall prints this holiday season. (And support a blog and photographer you follow in the process. Shop small, shop local – support an artist, y’all!)

Museum-quality prints and framing of select Streets Dept photos are now available for shipping through Prints.ly starting at just $28… Click HERE to explore! <3 :)

Amberella’s Got A Message…

November 17, 2016

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You may remember how much Amberella ‘Couldn’t Even’ with Donald Trump when she installed alongside one of Joe Boruchow’s anti-Trump pieces at 9th and Spring Garden streets this past summer. Now, at that same intersection, she invites you to breathe.

In a recent Instagram post she put up in which she announced that she was giving away 50 signs that she made to anyone who wanted to use them at the anti-Trump rally in Philly this Saturday, Amberella wrote: “I don’t know what else to do [right now] other than offer my passion, feelings, drive, determination, and heart.”

Right there with you, Amberella, thank you! <3

Philly Artists: Paint A Mural, Win $2,500 from GreenDrop!

November 17, 2016

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Got a really exciting email this week from a purpose-driven organization who are looking for a Philadelphia-based artist to paint a huge new mural for them on a high-traffic street in exchange for $2,500!

This is such a great offer – I hope y’all apply:

GreenDrop is transforming the way consumers support national charities through the donation of gently used goods. We recently opened our 28th location at 2300 South Street, and, in response to Mural Arts Month, we’re searching for the city’s most talented, graffiti mural artist to give the location a distinct Philadelphia flare. 

The winning artist will create a mural on the 57-by-30-foot wall behind the facility that exemplifies our mission of doing good for the environment, charities, and the community—a chance to showcase their work to the Philadelphia community and win $2,500.”

To enter the contest, artists must send a PDF of a sketch that details your vision for the mural.

Submissions can be sent to greendropit@gmail.com by Friday, December 16th!

For more information about GreenDrop, visit their website HERE.

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