Community Forum
Feb. 24, 2004

Notes from Group A

Participants in Group

Bill: Architect-Grew up in the neighborhood-Attended U Penn and has two degrees
Dolli: Secretary with the Spruce Hill Civic Association-Post-Doctorate at U Penn
Bob: Redevelopment interests
Matt: Graduate architect student-Spends a lot of time on 40th Street
John: Clean and Safe Program director with the University and city
Glenn: Was a student at U Penn-Long time employee of U Penn-Owns several properties in area-Volunteer in the community
John Mc: Arts and Culture of the area-Works for the university-On the Board of the Philadelphia Dance Company
Clifton: Family business in the corridor-Family connections are living here
Michael: Resident-Teacher
Debbie: Bookstore owner in area-Pianist-Resident
Jim: Resident-Treasurer Spruce Hill Civic Association-Owns property in the area

Voices not participating in this group
• Commuters/Transient people through the transportation hub-hack stand/bus and trolley
• Homeless
• Families of West Philly neighborhood
• Students of public schools
• Elderly
• Section 8 and Fair housing projects

Question #1
Who are the users of 40th Street?

Arts/Culture Attendees
Section 8 Residents
Shoppers for groceries
University/Institutional Employees
Retail Employees
Elwyn Institute
Patients - hospital/dental
Readers - library
Transitory/Impermanent - students
Students - elementary/middle/high
Construction Workers
Police Officers - University & City
Church Attendees - St. Mary's, St. Josephs
Post Office traffic
Dental students
People with pets- pet store

Question # 2
What uses of 40th Street - past, present, future - do you find most interesting or exciting?

Past Uses

This question created a lot of conversation about the types of stores and activities that had been a part of 40th Street but had left for a variety of reasons (see #3 below).

The 2 examples cited most often were Marty's (You can find EVERYTHING at Marty's) and a jazz club. Others cited were - Uni-Mart, service station, entertainment/club.

There was a real sense of loss over Marty's for the convenience of finding "just what you needed right in the neighborhood" and over the jazz club for the entertainment and ambiance/culture it provided.

Present Uses

Coffee Places
Arts/Performance/Culture Areas
Postal Service
Travel Agency
Pet Store
Fresh Grocer
News Stand
Street Fairs

Future Uses

Marty's or a clone of Marty's (household everyday needs)
Street Fairs/Performances
Live Music
More Greenery
Community Center as a resource for kids and families - 1 stop shopping for families
Events for kids after school

Question # 3
What factors make those uses more difficult?

The participants felt that the factors which created difficulties were the same or similar for past, present and future.


*The boundaries of the U. of Penn moved into the 40th Street area and that caused businesses/activities to be dislodged.

*Changing Demographics

*The cost of doing business rose and along with pricing competition drove some businesses out

*Other stores began providing the same services at lower prices

*Security/Safety issues and Drug Use issues affected some areas
*This area is not 'user-friendly' to an outsider, signage is poor

*Street Intersections are not well planned, not walker-friendly nor visually appealing

*Transportation needs to bring people into the heart of this area, taxi problems in certain areas

*The area is not walkable

*The area is not kid-friendly

*There is not a stable business plan to help ensure long-term stability and growth

Question # 4
As you think of all of the above, what principles do you think ought to guide the development of 40th Street?

Community Meetings Practice-Establish an on going practice for occasions like this one with more attention to getting the unorganized and other groups involved, holding the occasions in their "neck of the woods." Specifically, to reach across divides-age, economic, race, and all potential business owners.

Communicating Network-Develop a network and means for quick communication to everyone about the work of these meetings and future ones

Transportation-Bring people in to area, develop attractions such as a trolley loop with an old Philly trolley car. Some tension in this one with regard to whether we want a lot of people in the area

Pedestrian Scale-Encourage and design for a pedestrian scale "tissue" that connects
the people in the community to the street-scape -40TH and Locust is particularly problematic

Support Locally Owned Businesses-Long term commitment to locally owned businesses with a stable building plan-Rent and conditions reviewed as important consideration

Space Utilization-Utilize all space, not just street level floors-plan and seek out 2nd floor and above occupancy

24/7 Plan-Understand that there are different needs for different segments of the day and maintain or build a productive use for each time segment of day

Kid Friendly-Develop spaces, activities, and stores

Night-life-Develop this area, there was one in the past


© 2004, 40th Street Community Forum and Serendip