Track Renewal Project Scheduled along SEPTA’s Route 15 Trolley

PHILADELPHIA, PA (June 12, 2017) — SEPTA will conduct a track renewal project on a portion of its Route 15 trolley line from June 18-September 17, 2017. The project will take place on Girard Avenue from east of Broad Street to just west Corinthian Street, including the east and westbound tracks on the Schuylkill River Bridge and the intersection of 34th Street and Girard Avenue.

Most of the track in this area was last replaced in the 1950s. The street structure supporting the tracks has deteriorated due to weather, traffic and the age of the road surface. SEPTA will excavate and replace approximately 4,100 track feet and repave the track area. The new track will result in reduced sound and vibration because the new rail is incased in an insulated rubber boot. The new and improved track components will make for a smoother ride.

To accommodate the work, buses will replace trolleys along the entire Route 15 from June 18- September 17, 2017. Trolleys will return between Frankford and Delaware Avenues and 63rd Street and Girard Avenue on September 18. Shuttle buses currently in use between Richmond Street and Allegheny Avenue and Front Street and Girard Avenue due to PennDOT construction will continue to operate in place of Route 15 trolleys.

The project will start at Broad Street and progress west over the summer. The inner lanes on Girard Avenue will be closed to all traffic in separate, multi-block construction areas. Girard Avenue will remain open for emergency vehicles and deliveries during the entire track renewal project. Lanes for local traffic will be shifted in the construction area, and detours will be posted. All side streets in the construction areas will be closed to thru traffic, but local traffic will be permitted up to construction sites. Parking will not be permitted in the area or adjacent to the tracks being reconstructed; however, exceptions will be made for those with special needs. Walking access for businesses will be arranged.

Normal construction hours will be Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Weekend work may be required to maintain the project schedule. Temporary trailers will be placed on the south curb line of Girard Avenue at 16th Street. Parking lanes on the south side of Girard between 16th and 17th Streets and between 19th and 20th Streets will be closed so rail strings can be welded and stored until installation.

For more information, please visit or call SEPTA Customer Service at (215) 580-7800.


Parkside’s New Ambassadors Program

Our thanks to all members of the ambassadors program, seen here are Tracy Reed, Quentin Drew and John McFadden.

By Michael Burch

You may have seen the hard-working guys, pictured above, working around Parkside. They are part of a program from the Centennial Parkside CDC called the Ambassadors program. In an effort to learn more about this program, I contacted Chris Spahr, the executive Director of Centennial Parkside and asked him some questions.

PJ: Can you tell me what the Ambassadors program is all about?

CS: The Ambassador Pilot Program helps to achieve one of the goals of the Centennial Parkside CDC, which is to clean and beautify the corridors of East Parkside. To do this, the ambassadors are sweeping streets, cleaning vacant lots, and working to combat illegal dumping in the community. Our hope is that this will encourage residents and business owners to keep their sidewalks and lots clean and beautiful and extend their concern to vacant lots and alleyways in the neighborhood. It is also a sign that East Parkside is no longer a place where people can illegally dump garbage. Rather, we hope that this program will empower residents to take control of their neighborhood and demand an end to illegal dumping.

PJ: How many staff currently and what is their service area?

CS: There are currently three staff members and their initial focus areas are vacant lots, 40th and 41st streets from the bridges to Girard Avenue, and Girard Avenue from 40th Street to 38th Street.

PJ: Do you have a plan to expand the program?

CS: This project, supported by the Knight Foundation and Brandywine Realty, is currently funded through October but the CDC is pursuing additional funding to extend and expand the program.

PJ: One more thing, if residents should need help with a neighborhood problem, can they request help?

CS: Yes, if residents request help from the Ambassadors, this information will be relayed to management at the CDC, who can then add this to the work plan. Residents can also contact the CDC directly to request help with any specific neighborhood problems.

PJ: Thank you for answering our questions.  For residents that have a need to contact the CDC they can be reached at 267-225-8356.


Parkside Welcomes Early Childhood Montessori Education


by Jasmine Bullock

Education is the foundation of our society. Finding a quality school is paramount to many parents and it starts when children are babies. The Today’s Future, Tomorrow’s Promise Montessori School (TFTP), located at 5070 Parkside Avenue, is providing the quality service families are looking for. As the only Montessori school within a two mile radius, TFTP is providing something new and refreshing to the community for early learners. The Montessori teaching method dates back to 1907 when Dr. Maria Montessori began the Children’s House in a low income district in Rome. She began her school based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, and cognitive. The Montessori method of education focuses on five pillars. They are uninterrupted work periods, multi-aged classrooms, child directed work, use of Montessori materials and properly trained Montessori instructors.

TPTF moved to the Parkside neighborhood three years ago. It was the perfect location for the school because of the growth taking place in the area. The school started with one child and has grown to approximately 40 children. Approximately 25% of the currently enrolled children are residents of the area. Head of School, Florence Churchill, decided to focus on the Montessori teaching because it is a calmer form of teaching that helps to mold children into responsible, independent individuals. This is the same response the other eight educators and staff had about the teaching philosophy and the environment TPTF offers to its families. TPTF currently caters to three age groups, infants, toddlers age 2-3 and preschoolers age 4-5. With the growth of the school, TPTF is looking to add Kindergarten to their curriculum. In Montessori tradition, student’s transition from class to class based not only on their age but their academic ability. Churchill rejoiced in saying “That is the beauty of Montessori! We look at the individual student to see where they are and move forward based on their ability.”

“Montessori is purposeful and deliberate for the development of the child,” said Florence Churchill. The infant room provides care for babies and 1 year olds that includes tummy time, story time and group and individual play. The room is divided into sections that cater to different activities. The toddler classroom at TPTF is considered a Montessori inspired classroom. The children have the opportunity to play but they also learn life skills. The classroom caters to the child. All the supplies are height appropriate allowing for the children to develop in a real world setting. The preschool classroom is considered a Montessori classroom. It is separated into six sections that have different themes. While in this setting, the young learners continue learning skills for practical life and also begin formal academics.

A staple in the Montessori classroom is organization. The structured classrooms not only make teaching easier, but also help teach children to focus. During instruction time, children work independently. While students have the freedom to move freely throughout the classroom to satisfy the never-ending energy of a young person, there is always one student per working table or learning mat. Not only does this help with building focus it begins to teach the child about personal space.

TPTF prides itself in taking advantage of all the opportunities the community has to offer. They frequently expose the children to the cultural institutions in the area. They have also expanded life skills lessons by visiting local businesses such as Shop Rite and Monster Pets, allowing the children to have age appropriate nutrition and veterinary workshops.  School Leader, Florence Churchill communicated that TPTF caters to the entire family unit. They encourage parents to be involved in their children’s education from an early age. School personnel provide families with materials that explain the Montessori pedagogy in the hopes of some of the strategies being used in the home. Parents have also organized a PTA where they sponsor monthly cultural events for the children. The fathers have a group, Fathers Lead, Fathers Read, where they read to the school children regularly.

TPTF moved into the community to reach children who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to get a Montessori education based on location or economic status. With this goal inspiring everything they do, TPTF is quickly becoming a staple in the community balancing the extensive educational opportunities offered to young people in the area. To find out more about Today’s Promise Tomorrow’s Future visit their website at


Wynnefield Apartment Residents to Be Evicted

Residents of Wynnefield’s Penn Wynn House have been served with a mass eviction notice. Tenants have been given until the end of May to leave the apartment complex, their homes. This move comes as owners of the complex prepare to begin a major renovation project that will displace hundreds of residents. With the continued growth of development in Philadelphia these types of stories are no longer rare, but no less painful to the neighborhood residents they effect. Penn Wynn House has some 240 apartments and many of the residents there are senior citizens, retired veterans, people with limited mobility or on fixed incomes. For many of them finding new lodgings is a challenge made doubly hard when trying to do this in little over a month’s time. After interviewing some of the residents it’s clear that this all began when new owners purchased the building in December 2016.

According to resident Willie Mobley “soon after that the letters started being stuck on apartment doors” eviction letters. The tenants have had little communication with the new owners, and many don’t see a way forward.

In early May, some of the residents partnered with the Philadelphia
Tenants Union, to hold a demonstration outside the Penn Wynn
house. PTU is a tenant-led organization dedicated to winning safe,
decent, and affordable housing for renters in Philadelphia. The
demonstration held outside the Penn Wynn House was planned to
bring awareness to their plight. The Tenants Union is asking the new
owners to give the tenants an extension of three months and to return security deposits in full. Residents could use this money as they seek new housing in the area. Members of the press were there along with many onlookers. Councilman Curtis Jones was on hand to
speak to the crowds and he stated that he would introduce legislation concerning unfair eviction practices during city council session in May. The Parkside Journal will continue to follow this story, look for updates on our website at:

Update: Councilman Curtis did Introduced a bill, in late May, that would require landlords in gentrifying neighborhoods to give residents at least six months’ notice before eviction can take place.

WEST PARK ARTS FEST – CELEBRATING 10 YEARS on Saturday, June 3, 2017

Philadelphia, PA – Founded by West Park Cultural Center in 2008, the West Park Arts Fest is celebrating 10 years and moving to the Avenue of the Republic near the Please Touch Museum. This site is adjacent to the Centennial Commons – an exciting public space project under construction by Fairmount Park Conservancy as part of Philadelphia’s Reimagining the Civic Commons initiative.

Fairmount Park Conservancy and Global Philadelphia have joined West Park Cultural Center as organizers for this free public event advancing the festival’s mission to bring communities together in the park, promote greater awareness of the area’s history and heritage while celebrating the arts and cultural diversity of Philadelphia. The festival embraces partnership and has over the years been made possible in great part to the participation of many arts, cultural and community partners from West Philadelphia and across Philadelphia.

On Saturday June 3rd from 12pm to 5pm attendees of all ages will enjoy two stages of exciting culturally diverse performances by some of the area’s best dancers, musicians, vocalists, and spoken word artists. Some of the talent will include the popular West Philadelphia Orchestra, Badd Kitti, Gretchen Elise Music, Pasión Y Arte Flamenco, Megan Flynn Dance Company, Academy of Classical Indian Dance, Jasmin Yahne Dance Company, and much more. The event will invite participation in dance, collaborative painting with WEPAINT, free guided historical trolley tours through the Centennial District, heritage storytelling with Global Philadelphia, children’s activities with the Franklin Institute PACS Program, Tree House Books and more to be announced. As part of the celebration, Fairmount Park Conservancy’s Arts & Culture Program, with the support of ArtPlace America, has commissioned artists to create special installations and interactive elements that draw their inspiration from the neighborhood, the park and the history of the 1876 Centennial. Festival goers will see a standing timeline created by Global Philadelphia that documents Parkside’s history and heritage with pictures and text.

Attendees can buy unique items in the Handmade Market, browse other vendors and enjoy refreshments from food vendors and the popular Parks on Tap – the traveling beer garden developed by Fairmount Park Conservancy with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and FCM Hospitality. An estimated 1,500 are expected to attend. Participating partners this year include Mann Center, Philadelphia Zoo, The Franklin Institute, Tree House Books, Keepers of the Culture,

Sponsors as of this writing include ArtPlace, UPS, ShopRite, Rockland Capital, Zakian, and Zerflin. The event is also supported in part by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

To learn more about the festival visit and  For more information call 215-473-7810 or email

Niesha Kennedy, PR Manager

West Park Cultural Center



Pyramid Stem Showcase

Get Ready for Hands-On Excitement at the Pyramid STEM Showcase

The 6th Annual Pyramid STEM Showcase will take place, Saturday, April 29th, 2017, from 11 am – 4p, at the Sullivan Progress Plaza, 1501 N. Broad St. in Philadelphia. Held annually during Philly Tech Week, the Free showcase is for all ages and is bound to excite someone about the wonders of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The Pyramid STEM Showcase is a way to educate and empower African American families and prepare all to become an integral part of the fastest moving industries of all time.

The Pyramid STEM Showcase features hands-on exhibits, information tables, Black Inventions and History exhibits, speakers, giveaways and vendors. There will be continuous sessions in the computer lab area building apps and video games, and throughout the event attendees will learn through hands-on displays: robotics, science, engineering, aeronautics, health, electronics, the parts of a computer, etc. This year will include the Great Brain Freeze – brainteaser competition among the attendees and special presentations from Red Hen Productions and the University of Pennsylvania – called Neural Knitworks.

The first 100 teen and adult attendees at the Pyramid STEM Showcase will receive a technology giveaway, in addition, there will be door prizes, including a tablet giveaway each hour.

There are so many organizations that have STEM-related programs, products, services, classes or careers that we all need to know about. Many might be free or low-cost. There is also a disparity in the minority and African American communities as it relates to awareness of the various aspects of STEM. The Pyramid STEM Showcase is the opportunity to get the word out – not just on paper, but with hands-on displays that excite and peak the interest.

An initiative of DHEx Enterprises, the Pyramid STEM Showcase is also being hosted by Sullivan Progress Plaza and presented by the Leon H. Sullivan CDC, Called to Serve CDC, Zion Baptist Church Technology Ministry, The Business Center for Entrepreneurship and the Hill-McCoy Family. For further information, please call 215-844-4200 or visit


News that is from, about, and benefits our Parkside Community in West Philadelphia.