PHILADELPHIA—A partnership of Kensington-based community development corporations, nonprofits, and civic associations are planning a march on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. in protest of SEPTA’s decision to close the Market-Frankford Line (MFL) station at Somerset Street.
The event is being promoted as a “March for Safety and Solutions.” Protestors will meet outside of the Somerset station at 5:30 p.m., and at 5:45 will begin walking up Kensington Avenue to the MFL station at Allegheny Avenue to show the complexities of the alternative route given to utilize the MFL and to highlight the issues that led to the station closing.
NKCDC, a community development corporation with offices a block away from Somerset Station, is spearheading the event. HACE, Impact Services, Somerset Neighbors for Better Living, Harrowgate Civic Association, Kensington Neighbors Association, South Port Richmond Civic Association, and the We CAN (Change & Action Now) Collaborative have signed on to support the walk and invite all Kensington and Fairhill neighbors to join as well.
In response to SEPTA’s closure of the station, NKCDC Executive Director Dr. Bill McKinney wrote an essay published by Plan Philly on March 19.
“Anywhere else in the city, neighbors would have received more than one week notice that a primary form of public transportation was going away,” McKinney wrote. “Anywhere else, neighbors would be involved in planning the closure and planning a reopening with improved services. In fact, in no other part of today’s Philadelphia would a station be allowed to deteriorate to the point of closure.”
McKinney’s essay, along with a joint statement between NKCDC, HACE and Impact Services, called for a specific date for the reopening the station, safe conditions for SEPTA workers, increased bus and shuttle service along Kensington Avenue, a community advisory board to make decisions and set long-term solutions, increased services for unsheltered people and those suffering from addiction, and support for businesses impacted by the closure.
New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC) advances social equity and economic empowerment by nurturing and creating opportunities for residents to live in, and actively shape, their neighborhoods of choice. NKCDC uses a strategic combination of real estate development, community engagement, and people-centered direct services to ensure all of our neighbors can remain—and thrive—where they choose to live. Whether building affordable housing or helping residents build their wealth, we pledge to promote equity, stability, and safety in all we do, with a sharp focus on those most at-risk of being displaced. NKCDC is part of the NeighborWorks America network, an affiliation of more than 240 nonprofit organizations located in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. To learn more, visit www.nkcdc.org.