Gym Introduces Legislation to Reaffirm Support for Muslim Community, Protect Pedestrian Safety
PHILADELPHIA—December 8, 2016—Today, Councilmember Helen Gym (At Large) introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at reaffirming Philadelphia’s support for a pluralistic democracy and ensuring pedestrian safety around construction sites.
Gym’s resolution, which is co-sponsored by Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. (4th Dist.), seeks to affirm the City’s support and protection of Muslim communities. Responding to an alarming increase in anti-Muslim violence and hate speech in the wake of the November election, the resolution calls for all Philadelphians to stand in solidarity with Muslims and all targets of xenophobia, racism, and bigotry.
“We are affirming Philadelphia’s commitment to the United States as a pluralistic democracy in which all people have a right to freedom and dignity,” said Gym of the resolution. “We will not be deterred by those who seek to frighten and attack our friends and neighbors and undermine the fundamental values of our nation.”
If passed, Philadelphia will join over 30 municipalities and counties that have taken a public stand to support and protect Muslim people. Local Progress, the national network of municipal leaders advancing a progressive agenda from the ground up, has spearheaded this campaign.
Gym also introduced a bill, co-sponsored by Councilman Mark Squilla (1st Dist.), that would expand protections for pedestrians around construction sites by minimizing sidewalk closures without safe walk-arounds. Under the proposed legislation, anyone seeking a permit to close any part of a sidewalk would be required to use at least protected walkway, unless that is incompatible with public and traffic safety. Currently, developers are required to determine whether or not covered walkways are practicable.
“We look forward to working with the Streets Department, pedestrian and safety advocates, and business owners to ensure safety for everyone around construction sites, including those who use wheelchairs and are particularly impacted by sidewalk closures,” said Gym. “We are committed to strengthening the Streets Department’s tools for ensuring pedestrian safety.”
Pedestrian safety is a key focus of Mayor James Kenney’s recently-established Vision Zero Taskforce—which will meet today for the first time. While a councilmember, Mayor Kenney lead the way in establishing the city’s first major sidewalk closure protections.
CONTACT: Ian Gavigan ([email protected]) 215-686-3408