A coalition of 69 civic and environmental groups has presented mayoral candidates with their idea of 10 common sense ideas to make safer, healthier, and stronger neighborhoods.
It's called the Next Great City agenda, and proponents say every idea is readily achievable, easily funded and proven successful in other cities.
Want an example? Planting street trees.
"We have half the street trees Baltimore has, and a third of those in Chicago," said policy analyst Karen Black at a news conference yesterday. Those figures refer to trees per mile of city street.
Philadelphia has removed 23,000 street trees in the last five years, and the coalition says replacing them would cut energy costs, reduce air pollution and make neighborhoods more attractive.
Money for tree maintenance already is part of Mayor Street's Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, the coaltion says, and could be augmented by other city fees.
Another problem: One third of Philadelphia businesses recently surveyed reported they'd had flood damage within the previous year, in part because city sewer system is in such rotten shape.
The Next Great City coalition recommends major sewer repairs, along with regulations and incentives to get property owners to control storm water runoff. They say funding can come from restructuring the city sewer and storm water fees, which undercharge some property-owners.
Mayoral candidates Michael Nutter and Chaka Fattah attended yesterday's event and endorsed the agenda. Among the other proposals:
* Improving transit stops with funding from advertisers.
* Encouraging more public areas along the city's riverfronts.
* Modernizing the city's zoning code.
* Fighting asthma by installing pollution controls on city trucks.
* Cleaning and greening vacant lots.
* Reforming management of Fairmount Park.
* Expanding and improving recycling.
* Using more locally produced clean energy.