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5/5 Travel, Parking and Housing Info for Philly

Here are some tips on traveling, parking and staying in Philadelphia, thanks to Susan Rogers, one of our friendly welcoming host organizers in Philadelphia. (Disclaimer: We are just providing these as suggestions to get you started, and can't be responsible for any results. Unless you are familiar with the resource, please be sure to do additional research.)

Philadelphia Transport & Housing Info

Update 4 May 2012 4 pm ET:

For those who are staying at Motel Six near the Philly airport (in Essington): 

Try to network with others staying there, to carpool to tomorrow's event. 

If you must take public transport, check the important updated info near the BOTTOM of this about public transport from that Motel 6 to the event! Note this was updated from earlier today. 


Update 28 April 2012: 


PARKING TIP for those attending indoor rally at 10 am at Friends Center, from a friendly staff person: 

"There is a lot directly across 15th Street from Friends Center.  There is also a lot with a 12-story garage two shorts block away. The garage fills the block between 15th and 16th, and Spring and Vine, right off of the expressway.  Take the Broad Street exit and follow signs for 15th Street.  The garage is $5 on Saturday.  I’m not sure about across the street but would be no more than $10 because we validate those parking tickets. and it might be $5 on Sat as well."

 

Update 25 April 2012

More info about airport Motel 6 at bottom, especially about public transport from there to protest.

 

Update 22 April 2012:

Mobility tip:

Anyone with mobility issues – for example, anyone who uses a wheelchair – needs to know that not every subway stop in Philadelphia has wheelchair access, i.e., elevators. Here are the stops on the Broad Street line that do have elevators:

http://www.septa.org/access/alternate/bsl.html . These stops do not include the closest stop to the Convention Center, nor do they include the Broad and Snyder stop, which is where those who are staying at Motel 6 http://www.motel6.com/reservations/motel_detail.aspx?num=1267 near the Philadelphia Airport – at which several people have already made reservations – will be dropped off by the city bus from the hotel.


Update 14 April 2012: This travel tip just in from another MindFreedom member -- she recommends the following bus service: http://megabus.com/ 

This member adds: "If you are on the eastern coridor you may want to consider this bus service. Dont wait until the last minute because prices then go way up. If you cant come pay for a ticket for someone else."

 
~~~~~
 

A welcoming note from Susan Rogers, one of the local host committee in Phialdelphia, about transportation and housing:

 

Hi Everyone,

Here is some information about travel and places to stay that might help make your trip to Philadelphia easier!

Travel from the airport to Center City Philadelphia:


If you fly into Philadelphia International Airport http://www.phl.org/ , you can take a train directly from the airport to Center City Philadelphia. It is the SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) R1. 

Here is a link to the schedule: http://www.septa.org/schedules/rail/pdf/air.pdf

The cost is very reasonable (under $10), and the train stops not only at the Amtrak station (30th Street Station) but also at the regional rail stations, including Suburban Station (16th and JFK, right near City Hall) and Market East (12th and Market, right near the Pennsylvania Convention Center).

 

I have been told that, depending on your point of origin, it can be a lot less expensive to fly into Newark Liberty International Airport http://www.panynj.gov/airports/newark-liberty.html

If that is the case, you can inexpensively travel from Newark Airport to Center City Philadelphia if you don’t mind spending a couple of hours on the train after getting off the airplane. http://www.njtransit.com/sf/sf_servlet.srv?hdnPageAction=TripPlannerItineraryFrom

(Individuals over age 62 and individuals with disabilities can pay half the regular one-way fare http://www.njtransit.com/sf/sf_servlet.srv?hdnPageAction=ReducedFareTo .) 

The trip would take a little over two hours. It would take longer if you can't get to the connecting train in the 15 minutes they seem to allot for the connection. 

However, the connecting train – you would be switching from NJ Transit to SEPTA – is usually close by, on the opposite track. Also, if you miss the connection, the trains run fairly frequently and the Trenton Train Station is pleasant, with places to buy food and tables at which to eat it (like a food court, but with fewer choices). And it’s a lot cheaper than Amtrak!

 

Places to stay:

I just checked on a small hotel – the Rodeway Inn – that is four blocks from the Convention Center and that, the last time I checked (about a year ago), was $99/night. 

But when I asked at the desk of the Rodeway Inn about rates for May 4 to 6, I was told that two nights would cost more than $700.00 (single or double)! When I questioned this, I was told that the hotel is under new management; in addition, I was told that the rates are higher when the demand is greater (such as when there is a huge convention in town)!

So if you are planning to come to Philadelphia, it would probably be best to make your reservations as soon as possible!

Before booking an inexpensive housing option in a neighborhood you are not familiar with we suggest you do some research on the neighborhood by Googling or through a resident of Philadelphia, to see if the location is convenient in terms of transportation, and/or if you would feel comfortable staying there at night in terms of safety. 

Hotels:

As a start, here is the official Convention and Visitors site list of hotels (it goes on for several pages).

http://www.philadelphiausa.travel/listings/accommodations

Hostels:

Here is a link to Philadelphia hostels. If the link doesn't work, just Google Philadelphia hostels:

http://www.hostelworld.com/findabed.php/ChosenCity.Philadelphia/ChosenCountry.USA?source=googleadwordsustopcities&gclid=CNWK46y1nawCFYSK4AoduGXz1A

 

Hotwire:

The “hotwire” site http://www.hotwire.com will find you a cheap hotel. You can enter a region and it will tell you prices and how many stars the hotel has. But it won't tell you exactly which hotel it is or exactly where it is until after you book it. 

I have not personally used it, but the person who told me about this site got rooms at the Sheraton http://www.starwoodhotels.com/fourpoints/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1980 on Race Street (right near the Pennsylvania Convention Center!) for $68 a night! (I have no idea whether people can book directly with the hotel for this rate or if this is a special rate that you have to go through hotwire.com to get.) 

However, rates are probably higher – and availability is undoubtedly less – when a large convention is in town!

 

Airbnb

You can plug Philadelphia, PA into AIRBNB for many housing options:


 

Frugal Traveler also has a number of suggestions:



 

BELOW are tips from New York Times about cheap travel!

 

To get the best deal on Priceline.com, where travelers name their own price and pay before learning the hotel’s name, sites like Biddingfortravel.com and Betterbidding.com have long offered strategic advice on how to game the system. Now, a new site, Biddingtraveler.com, goes a step further. Enter the city, dates, neighborhood and star ratings for the hotel you want. Then, after reviewing the site’s recommendations, enter a “lowball” bid and “final offer.” The Bidding Traveler then calculates and helps you execute the optimal bidding strategy on Priceline.

Not willing to gamble? Hotels.com offers nearly 145,000 properties in more than 60 countries from national chain hotels and all-inclusive resorts to bed-and-breakfasts. You can find particularly good last-minute deals on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And the site has a loyalty program through which members earn a free-night voucher after they book 10 nights.

Here is link to article: 

http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/travel/19-web-sites-for-travel-savings-in-2012.html?src=me&ref=general

 

Thank you Susan for providing the above helpful tips! 

Again, Susan and MindFreedom are sharing these suggestions just to get you started; please be sure to confirm information and do any extra research required for prudent and safe travel. 

For example, it may be a good idea to check the Bed Bug registry, recognizing that some hotels that have been listed may have cleaned up their problem. That registry is here: 

http://bedbugregistry.com/

Those attending the event from out of town may also want to exchange additional information, find rides to share, and ask questions among other participants via the Boycott Normal Facebook page, the Five-Five planning email list, etc. 

 

UPDATE 9 April 2012:

Motel 6 in Essington, by Philly Airport

A number of planners flying in and seeking inexpensive lodging, are staying at Motel 6 near the Philly airport. This is not necessarily a recommendation or endorsement, each person is responsible for their own lodging. However, there is still room here:

 

Motel 6 Philadelphia Airport - Essington #1267

43 Industrial Highway I-95 at Wanamaker Avenue,  

Exit #9-A Essington, PA 19029

 

Phone number for that Motel 6:  (610) 521-6650 

National Motel 6 phone: 1-800-466-8356

 

TRANSPORT TIP FOR THOSE TAKING PUBLIC TRANSPORT FROM THIS AIRPORT MOTEL 6 TO THE PROTEST:


IMPORTANT UPDATE 4 May 2012: 

 

There are already several protesters at the Motel 6 today. 

If you don't have a vehicle to get to the protest tomorrow morning, it is recommended that you try to network with others at Motel 6, and carpool to the events on Saturday, 5 May 2012. 

However, if you must take public transport, here is the best info obtained and reconfirmed first hand today by David Oaks, MFI director - but double check everything, no guarantees. He has phoned SEPTA (the public transport system) three (3) times about this today, talked with two Motel 6 staff, and personally drove around the route.  

Both SEPTA and the staff at Motel 6 in Essington (by Philly airport) recommend this public transport to downtown Philly where will be protesting: 

  • General idea is easy: From Motel 6 (43 Industrial Highway, Essington, PA) you will be taking the 37 bus a few minutes to the airport, then from the airport you will take the train to our events. 
  • The best confirmed bus stop by Motel 6 is to walk out to Industrial Highway (291). Walk to the LEFT to the intersection with Wanamaker (the big cross street that is 420). Then cross the Industrial Highway and Wanamaker at the stop light. Watch for the bus stop set back  - to the LEFT of Jim's Steaks on the corner.
  • Please note that because of construction you should NOT use any other bus stops. Do not use the bus stops directly across from Motel 6 (across from Denny's etc.). Because of detours, the only reliable bus stop for Bus 37 to the airport, is at that intersection of Wanamaker and Industrial Highway. (Note: SEPTA thought Ramada Inn was serving at a bus stop during construction; Ramada Inn staff have confirmed today this is false.)
  • So take that 37 bus to the airport and get off, because there's a train there you can catch, called the "Airport Line." This is faster than going all the way into town by the bus.
  • Take the Airport Line train to Suburban Station. 
  • Then walk north on 16th Street, to Cherry St., and locate 1515 Cherry St.
  • You're there for the indoor event at Friends Center at 10 am!

IMPORTANT DETAILS: 

To repeat: 

The two bus stops (#29455 and #29456) directly across the street (Industrial Highway, route 291) from Motel 6, where you catch the 37 bus to the airport, are apparently NOT IN USE because of extensive construction detour about a half mile further out down. SEPTA didn't bother to put up a sign saying this.

SEPTA was also recommending going to the Ramada Inn for a temporary bus stop, but Ramada Inn staff said today there is no bus stop there any more, during construction! Do NOT use that. 

To play it safe, and to over-emphasize: Walk to Industrial Highway, and walk to the left.  Walk down Industrial Highway, to Wanamaker (the big cross street that is 420), cross both streets via the stoplight, kitty-corner, and wait at the bus stop near that corner, a little to the left of Jim's steak house. 

In terms of timing, here's what Reggie at SEPTA estimates, are the two best choices:

  • 7:11 am: Get on Bus 37 (Broad/Snyder via airport) at that intersection of Wanamaker and Industrial Highway by 7:11 am -- Arrive at "Airport Line" at 7:20 -- Take airport line at 7:39 -- Arrive at Suburban Station -- 8:05 am, plenty early for the doors opening at 9 am at 1515 Cherrry (event starts at 10 am). 
  • 8:06 am: Get on Bus 37 (Broad/Snyder) at intersection of Wanamaker and Industrial Highway at 8:06 am -- Arrive at "Airport Line" by 8:15 am. Take the train that arrives at 8:39 am. Arrive at Suburban Station by 9:05. The doors will be open at 1515 Cherry by then for the 10 am event. 

If you wish, you can confirm all this info by phoning SEPTA at (215) 580-7800, keep hitting "zero" and wait the few minutes to chat with a person. Or go to the SEPTA web site

And/or you can also check with the Motel 6 front desk, though they were not aware of some of these facts.

Said David Oaks, "It's a sad comment on inequality, that SEPTA neglected to put 'out of service' signs on the two bus stops that are out of commission. Motel 6 staff said they've seen older people stand there forever, until they went over to inform them. It's also sad that twice today SEPTA has incorrectly referred us to Ramada Inn as the replacement bus stop. I'm glad I called Ramada Inn to find out the temporary bus stop any more during construction. I flew and got a rental - no way any of those customers would have been treated like this. I'm glad we're working for a nonviolent revolution!"

 

 

Some other tips via Susan: 

  • City Hall is a land mark near where we will be -- you can't miss City Hall since it's a huge baroque edifice that is dead center in Philadelphia, and bisects Broad Street as well as bisecting Market Street. 
  • Cherry Street between Broad and 15th is not a real street. It is the outside of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and there are a couple of huge sculptures in the middle of the street, making it impassable to anything but foot traffic.
  • The Green Village Food Market is at 127 N. 15th Street (SE corner of 15th and Cherry), so people may want to grab something to eat and/or drink there. There is also a very small restaurant called Yonny’s at 1531 Cherry Street, directly west of the Friends Center.

 

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Mary Ann Ebert of Mental Patients Liberation Alliance of Syracuse helped found MindFreedom International's Support Coalition and provided early technical assistance to get it off the ground. Mary Ann has worked for decades to support human rights and alternatives of people in the mental health system. (Photo by Tom Olin.)
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