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March 09, 2019

Petition opposing Dilworth Park Starbucks adds hundreds of supporters in 48 hours

Business Starbucks
Carroll - Dilworth Park in the Summer Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

People walk through Dilworth Park on a summer morning.

If you’ve walked through Dilworth Park in the last couple weeks, you’ve noticed a new bit of fencing along the southern edge advertising a coming Starbucks kiosk.

The placement, just a 20-second walk from La Colombe’s Center City outpost, a minute walk from a Starbucks at the corner of Market Street and 16th Street, and opposite the Dilworth Park coffee kiosk on the park’s northern end, has some scratching their heads.

And those opposed to the coming Starbucks have found plenty who agree, after a petition launched by Streets Dept — the arts blog, not the city’s streets department — has picked up more than 650 signatures in less than 48 hours.

“Dilworth Park is an incredibly special public space for Philadelphia,” the petition reads. “Aside from sitting at the foot of City Hall, it's the only park in the entire city of Philadelphia that's connected by both the Broad Street Line Subway and Market-Frankford Line El. 

"Dilworth Park connects tens of thousands of Philadelphians and dozens of Philly neighborhoods every day. And frankly, it's public land that should not be sold off to Starbucks for their private profit!”

The coming Starbucks was first reported in December, and construction is expected to be completed in April.

Center City District issued a statement two weeks ago defending the impending kiosk. The district argued the coffee shop would buffer the southern end of the park from traffic noise; would be able to sustain business due to increased demand and Dilworth Park through-traffic; and was necessary in order to support park operations financially.

The shop — which is being billed as more of a kiosk than a full-fledged coffee shop — will have a “green roof” and add more landscaping through its construction, the district says.

“Rather than reduce cleaning, landscaping maintenance and programming and diminish quality, we add a new amenity that everyone is free to patronize or ignore,” the district’s statement said.

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