The crowd cheers as a Hunting Park summer camper cuts the ribbon for Lil Philly Safety Village, the region's first traffic park.

Jaws himself and children from the Hunting Park Rec Center summer camp cut the ribbon on Lil’ Philly Safety Village

Lil’ Philly Safety Village, the first traffic park in the Greater Philadelphia region, is officially open as of this morning. Hunting Park neighbors and summer campers joined the project design team, donors, Philly Parks and Rec, and Bicycle Coalition staff to celebrate everyone’s first look at the finished park.

Located at W Hunting Park Drive & W Cayuga Street in North Philly, Lil’ Philly Safety Village is a space for kids and adults alike to practice biking (and even rolling and walking) in a colorful, playful area completely free of motor vehicle traffic. The miniature bike lanes, crosswalks, stop signs and other traffic markers help Lil’ Philly Safety Villagers learn to move through urban street space. From there, they can test their new skills on the sidewalks (for kids 12 and under) and street loops of the surrounding park.

Lil’ Philly Safety Village was designed with input from Hunting Park United, the Hunting Park Recreation Center, Hunting Park Community Garden, Hunting Park Connected and community members attending the Hunting Park Farmers Market. Studio Ludo is the design firm and ThinkGreen the contractor. The project was planned and managed by Stephanie Rivera Fenniri, the former Deputy Director of the Bicycle Coalition and a current Weitzman School of Design Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. The traffic park and its location are of particular importance to Stephanie because, she says, “I grew up in a neighborhood not unlike Hunting Park.”

“When learning more about the Hunting Park community, the Black and Latinx and immigrant population really resonated with me because I’m a first-generation Mexican American whose parents are both extremely hardworking Mexican immigrants. While working on the project I immediately felt like I was doing it for families who look and sound like mine and deserve an amazing public facility in their own community. 

 

Biking has brought me so much joy and greatly increased my overall health, so this is my way of paying it forward for future generations. My hope is that children and families in Hunting Park will embrace the Lil’ Philly Safety Village as their own and truly believe that bicycling is for anyone and everyone! If I can convince just one person to adopt bicycling as their preferred mode of transportation or recreation, I think my job is done.”

Huge and sincere thanks to Kaboom! and the William Penn Foundation, the McLean Contributionship, the Ron Jaworski Foundation, Mimi Sheller, Piscitello Law, and 130+ other individuals whose funding turned this long-held dream of the Bicycle Coalition into a reality. Philly Parks and Recreation also made this project possible by helping with project management and making the ~4,568 sq ft. parcel available for Lil’ Philly’s construction.

Pictured: Hunting Park United President Leroy Fisher, PPR 1st Dep. Commissioner Patrick Morgan, Darren Evans, Fareed Abdullah from State Senator Sharif Street’s office, Joe and Michael Piscitello, Suzanne Hagner, Bicycle Coalition board members Rae Whately and Sharon Holloman, and Bicycle Coalition staff members Randy Lobasso, Anthony Bayne, Malaku Mekonnen, Sarah Clark Stuart, Stephanie Rivera Fenniri, Kieran Campbell, Elly Porter-Webb, Kristen Conran, Amanda Ruffner, Lor Song and Katie Burns.

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