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January 18, 2016 Letter to Mayor Kenney


From: Lynn's mail []
Sent: Monday, January 18, 2016 9:33 AM
To: ''
Cc: ''; ''; ''
Subject: Restoration Issues for Philly's Historic Small Streets


Dear Mayor Kenney:  Philadelphia has had a Historic Street District ‘restoration program’ since 1999, but many residents who live on those streets have yet to benefit from this program.  They have waited long enough for safe – walkable - streets. We would appreciate your support on their behalf.  The Philadelphia Society of Small Streets (PSSS) is dedicated to the preservation and proper restoration of Philly’s historic small streets. We host both a meetup group and website.  We have several issues that we work on with Councilman Mark Squilla, the Streets Department, and the Historical Commission.  Councilman Squilla has been very accessible and vigilant in this effort.  And the Streets Department and Historical Commission have been responsive to many of our concerns.  However, serious issues persist.


Briefly, we would like city officials to do the following:


We have more detailed information below and on our website:  We greatly appreciate anything you can do to make our historic small streets, safe and attractive, for the residents who live on them and the visitors who use them. Thank you for your attention.


Lynn and Cliff Landes, founders
The Philadelphia Society of Small Streets (PSSS)
217 S. Jessup Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

cc: PSSS membership









The case AGAINST the Streets Department's current "concrete foundation & mortar" requirement for historic streets, includes the following:



3. PLUMBERS PATCHES:  These patches are an unnecessary waste of the city's time, money, and effort.  Historic pavers are designed to be picked up and placed back down again. Currently, contractors can fill their ditches on historic streets with asphalt, leaving behind numerous unsafe and unsightly patches for the city to repair. Contractors who dig into city streets should be required to put the street back as they found it (historic or not).  This is more easily done on historic streets if contractors don't have to drill through a concrete foundation.


UPDATE 1/15/16 (Unfortunately, the following program still allows for plumbers patches).  MAY 2014: GOOD NEWS! One of our main goals is to stop unsightly "plumbers patches". A pilot program to allow homeowners to contract historic street restorations through their plumbing contractors will run from July to December 2014.  Residents will save $450 on their permits. Previously, plumbers felt that they had to pour an asphalt or concrete patch. Homeowners had to wait years for the city to get around to restoring the patch, which rarely occurred. Now, homeowners have the option to contract for the restoration work to be done immediately.  So, congratulations to everyone. We think that this is a good first step toward putting an end to unsightly "plumbers patches", and it wouldn't have happened without your support. Thank you!  Now we need to put an end to ‘plumbers patches’ permanently.  They are blighting our community and wasting taxpayers dollars. What's the point of restoring a historic street if the very next week a contractor can pour a plumbers patch, as happened with the newly restored 200 block of Warnock Street in 2012!