Friends of 40th Street

12 September 2004

Friends of 40 th Street
Meeting Memo No. 3

Date/Place/Time: 30 July 2004/3901 Market Street – Room 7C, The Market/8:00 a.m.

Attendance: Sharrieff Ali (SA) Spruce Hill Alliance (SHA)

Cory Bowman (CB) Center for Community Partnerships (CCP), U of PA

Ila L. Clark (IC) 3901 Market Street (3901)

Mark Christman (MC) University City District (UCD)

Joe Fischer (JF) University of Pennsylvania Police (UPP)

Ajamu Johnson (AJ) Peoples Emergency Center CDC (PECCDC)

Beth Ann Johnson (BAJ) Friends of Walnut West Free Library (FWW)

Lucy Kerman (LK) President’s Office (PO), U of PA

Kathy Laws (KL) 3901 Market Street (3901)

John Leatherberry (JL) West Powelton (WP)

Scott Maits (SM) 4601 Market Street (4601)

Alex Martin (AM) 3817 Market Street (3817)

Nancy Mosely (NM) 3901 Market Street (3901)

Curtis P. Peshew (CP) 3901 Market Street (3901)

Richard Rogers (RR) 3901 Market Street (3901)

Deborah Sanford (DS) 40 th Street Business Association (40ABA)

Lucia Shen (LS) Friends of Walnut West Free Library (FWW)

Harris Sokoloff (Hso) Graduate School of Education (GSE), U of PA

Harris Steinberg (HSt) Penn Praxis (PP), U of PA

Kevin Vaughan (KV) Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP)

Matt Walker (MWA) Partnership Community Development Corporation (PCDC)

Esther Wiesner (EW) University City District (UCD)

Matthew Wolfe (MWO) Spruce Hill Community Association (SHCA)

Purpose: Monthly meeting of the Friends of 40 th Street

Items Discussed:

  • Harris Steinberg (HSt) opened the meeting by welcoming everybody. All present introduced themselves.
  • The minutes from the previous meeting were approved as written.
  • An open discussion was held about events on or about 40 th Street and the work of the Friends. The following issues were discussed:
  • Joe Fischer (JF) of the Penn Police reported that the Freshgrocer store at 40 th and Walnut Streets had armed security guards in the store. As Penn owns this building, the tenant must abide by the no-firearms policy that has Penn for its buildings.
  • JF reported that the Penn Police are surveying vendors for compliance with L & I licensure requirements.
  • The issue of 40 th and Market Streets was addressed. The following issues were noted:
    • JF reported that the illegal hacks at the intersection continue to be a problem. He noted that a woman was raped in a hack in North Philadelphia.
    • Kathy Laws (KL) of 3901 Market Street reported on the state of the corner noting that it is very difficult for the residents of 3901 to feel comfortable outside of the building due to the illegal drug activity. She reported that many She reported that this is a big concern of the residents and expressed the hope that the group would be able to work with the residents of 3901 to help make the intersection a safer and more pleasant place to live and shop.
    • Lucy Kerman (LK) reported that the 40 th and Market Quality of Life Task Force (QLTF) is working on setting up a meeting with Councilwoman Blackwell’s office to begin to address this issue. It was noted that the quality of life at 40 th and Market was a priority of the Friends of 40 th Street and was a direct result of the forum held at 3901 Market Street in March 2004.
    • It was noted that there is a new security system at 3901 Market Street.
    • Residents of the building lauded the work of the Penn Police in helping to clean up loitering on the steps of The Market at 3901.
    • JF noted that the bus travel through the intersection of 40 th and Market is part of the drug problem. Dealers and buyers coordinate schedules accordingly. There is a relationship along the #40 bus between prescriptions issued at the VA hospital and a methadone clinic on Parkside Avenue. Drug users and dealers have no regard for the presence of children at the day care at 3901 as well as the elderly who live there. JF said that help is on the way as this issue will be a top priority of the University City Public Safety Group at its September meeting.
    • JF noted that a state-of-the-art camera monitors activity at the intersection. It can see at great distances with great clarity. He lauded the work of area town watches as the eyes and ears of the community on the street. Community participation is a tremendous asset to the police. John Leatherberry (JL) concurred with this, noting that it is critical that citizens do not get into confrontations. All interested in this topic should connect with Matt Walker ( (215) 662-1612 , who is leading the QLTF for the Friends.
  • Beth Ann Johnson (BAJ) noted that the outdoor summer arts festival hosted by the Foundation at the Rotunda was problematic when the performances were amplified and included a microphone. She expressed concern over potential festivals and other street celebrations that might attend the revitalization of 40 th Street in terms of the impact on the residents who live in the vicinity. LK felt that this was an interesting and important question in terms of future development of the street including the plans to create apartments along 40 th Street. How do you balance public life and safety with the needs of the residents? It was noted that the space between the Library and DuBois College House was a potential space for outdoor events. It was also noted that both Marathon Grill and Metropolitan Bakery have been successful in animating the sidewalk with café tables that are well used.
  • The status of Lancaster Avenue was reviewed. It was noted with gratitude that the Friends have extended their boundaries to include Lancaster Avenue and 40 th Street. It was noted that there are many good things happening in this area due to the good work of Peoples Emergency Center (PEC) and the Belmont community. A mural is scheduled to be dedicated in late September/early October that will showcase the history of Belmont and West Philadelphia. In addition, it was noted, that Lancaster Avenue is part of a national study being conducted by the National Park Service on the old Lincoln Highway (Route 30) that runs from Times Square in New York to San Francisco. It was felt that raised awareness of the historic importance of the corridor would aid in its revitalization with the understanding that West Philadelphia’s portion of the Lincoln Highway is the most distressed portion of this transcontinental highway.
  • The status of the opening of the Library was reviewed. Kevin Vaughan (KV) of the Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP) expressed his thanks to the Friends of Walnut West (FWW) for all of their work in making the restoration and re-opening of the building possible. This would not have happened without contributions of money and civic spirit over many years. The building is scheduled to have a “soft” opening in mid-September with the grand opening scheduled for October 2 nd. The 2 nd will be an all day affair beginning with breakfast in the morning. Events are scheduled for between 1 and 4 p.m. that afternoon.

KV noted that the Library is conceived of as a place of community well beyond the walls of the buildings. He reported that the building was completely torn apart and beams in the main reading room were restored. All of the collections are located upstairs and the first floor includes the circulation desk with the latest library technology. This includes a radio frequency identification system that allows books to circulate outside the walls of the library – such as a collection of large-print books that could be housed in a room at 3901 Market Street, for instance. There will be a self-checkout system available on the first floor of the building. This technology was first introduced on the West coast.

The building is completely handicap and wheelchair accessible with a grade level entrance on the first floor and an elevator inside that will access all floor levels within. The building will include technology for large screen computers for the visually impaired and audible computers for the hearing impaired. There will be an expanded children’s section. This 60,000-volume building is viewed as the “jewel of the system.”

The Library will include programs such as homework help after school, morning programs for seniors and programs for pre-schoolers as well. 3 high school students will be hired to work with young people concerning responsible Internet use. All of the computer will include filters to protect children. College students will be hired to mentor teenagers. The Library is viewed as a center for lifelong learning that will be tied to the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy and GED programs. Written material for all literacy programs will be housed at the Library. There will be rooms available for the community to use at no charge (2 small rooms and one large one).

The Rotunda plans to support the opening of the Library with a ceremonial parade of books.

  • LK reported on the progress of the Arts Task Force (ATF). She noted that the group is organized around the idea of arts being a way to honor the principles created during the public forums ( LK acknowledged the concern of the neighbors with respect to noise. She talked about extending the work of the Foundation to Lancaster Avenue and activating the courtyard of 3901 Market Street with artistic offerings. The Foundation offers free, non-alcoholic concerts and spoken word events to the community. SM noted a recent article in New York magazine concerning the roll of the arts in neighborhood revitalization – good art, managed correctly induces inclusive revitalization.
  • It was noted that the University City Review does not have a circulation box at The Market at 3901 Market Street.
  • The next meeting is scheduled for September 24, 2004 at 8:00 a.m. The location is 3901 Market Street Community Room. Please enter through the main doors to 3901 Market Street. The Community Room is on the ground floor. Standing meetings will be held the last Friday of each month with the exception of August and December. Meetings are open to the community and members are urged to invite neighbors and friends to participate.

Submitted by:


Harris M. Steinberg
Penn Praxis

cc: Those in attendance
Glenn Bryan
Claudia Christian
Robert Christian
Daniel Cope
Andy Frishkoff
Eric Goldstein
Lela Jacobsohn
Stefany Jones
Tyler Martin
Melissa Long
Lisa Lord
Jim Lilly
John McGarry
Gina Renzi
Jennifer Rodriguez
Esaul Sanchez
Ravi Srinivasan
Alison Williams
Kevin Vaughan

© 2004, 40th Street Community Forum and Serendip