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    Problems Resume on the Schuylkill River Trail: What You Can Do

    After reporting last month that the city agreed to increase presence on the Schuylkill River Trail after a string of incidents, it appears things have gone back to status quo.

    The recap: Runners and bikers began to discuss incidents of harassment on Facebook and a bunch of media outlets continued to spread the word. A police presence was placed on the Schuylkill River Trail after the media attention.

    A little over a month later, Run215 founder Jon Lyons has been receiving an increase of personal Facebook messages about incidents reoccurring lately. In addition to hearing these stories, there are other problems that have been ignored after the chatter calmed down online. He also noticed the same street light has been out on the trail for the past month, which is one easy fix for the city.

    Lyons expressed additional frustration after reaching out to Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s office. After scheduling a meeting and a few reschedules, they later cancelled the meeting because the “situation was being handled”.

    What City Council Can Do to Create a Safer Philadelphia

    Lyons wants to work with City Council to create solutions. In response, he created a Facebook event (join it and invite your friends) to spread the word, since he does think that “solutions are possible”.

    He includes 5 ways to suggest that City Council can address the issue:

    1. MAINTAIN simple safety improving measures like fixing the lights on the SRT at night.
    2. Improve education to the public and emergency personnel on WHERE and HOW to identify locations during an incident (e.g. clearer signage, better communication).
    3. More presence patrolling our City’s major commuter and recreational hotspots.
    4. ENGAGE with the community and EMPOWER the City’s youth. They are the ones who will be using our City’s streets and trails someday.
    5. STOP TURNING YOUR BACKS ON OUR CITY’S KIDS. START ENGAGING WITH THEM. (And if you want to take it further, I think our State Representatives could use a little wake-up call on this specific point).

    (Editor’s note: With 4000+ runners strong on the Facebook group, this is the perfect opportunity to organize after school or similar programs on the trail.)

    How you can make a difference

    So what can you do to reach out to your City Council member? Here’s 3 ways:

    1. Call your City Council member
    2. Email your City Council member
    3. Tweet your City Council member.

    All that info is online at Philadelphia City Council’s website. And when citizens start contacting their City Council rep, they start paying attention.

    As Lyons says it best,

    “Do you want Philly to be a first rate city? Let’s start acting like it.

    What to do if you see or a victim of an incident:

    As a refresher from our last post:

    Call 911. You must file a police report (and then stay for the cops to show up.) Unfortunately, it makes the police jobs difficult when incidents are NOT reported.

    Julie Hancher

    About Julie Hancher

    Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake.

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