Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Up or down, let's get greening

Reading Viaduct is a big project with many interested constituencies, so we can't expect it to happen overnight. On the other hand, this proposal has been kicked around for years now, and as we get closer to actually implementing any portion, it seems that turf wars are intensifying.

Up or down, let's get greening

Here is a view, courtesy of viaductgreene.org, showing that there are fascinating portions of the old train line in town that could benefit from the "green" overhaul.
Here is a view, courtesy of viaductgreene.org, showing that there are fascinating portions of the old train line in town that could benefit from the "green" overhaul.

There have been some interesting twists and turns recently in the Reading Viaduct project, something that could push Philly a long way toward being the literal "Greenest City in America."

The Daily News today chronicles a successful NIMBY campaign to stop a "Neighborhood Improvement District" that would have hiked taxes in return for improvements that were tied to the project.

[The NID] was seen as a precursor to converting the abandoned Reading Viaduct train trestle that runs through the neighborhood into a park modeled after New York's successful High Line.

But Maria Yuen said that the additional tax was too big a burden.

"Everybody agrees we all want to live in a beautiful place with clean streets and green parks," Maria Yuen said. "But with this economy, the priority has to be jobs. People need to put food on the table."

Meanwhile, with Mayor Nutter confirming his commitment to the overall project, a City Paper article points out that while we're all wrangling over the hometown High Line portion, we could be getting started on the nearly 3-mile stretch that runs below the city's ground level.

Paul Van Meter, a landscape architect, and Liz Maille began the initiative with an eye to the Viaduct's history. Van Meter had been researching the old rail line, and he and Maille decided to walk around and search for the entrance, hidden in the woods off Pennsylvania Avenue. Instead of darkness and rubble, says Van Meter, they saw "Philadelphia's next great civic space."

"We realized that it was almost a three-mile right of way, and that, wow, this is a fabulous opportunity for Philadelphia. It connects so many diverse neighborhoods," Maille says. Plus, unlike the elevated branch, "We thought there's a lot more opportunity to make this happen fast."

This is a big project with many interested constituencies, so we can't expect it to happen overnight. On the other hand, this proposal has been kicked around for years now, and as we get closer to actually implementing any portion, it seems that turf wars are intensifying.

Come on, folks. We really don't need a polarized "elevated first" or "submerged first" argument, but rather, look toward that greener Philadelphia and see how we can move forward without overrunning - or undercutting - anybody.

About this blog
Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

The experts at Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency answer your energy questions in our regular feature Stay Warm, Stay Green. Send in your question or questions to energy@phillynews.com.


Look for Jenice Armstrong to supply tips on green living as well as occasional columns on the subject of Green. She also blogs at Hey Jen.


Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.


Laurie Conrad recycles from her ever-growing e-mailbag to pass along the latest travel deals, fashion statements, household strategies, gadgets, cool local events and other nuggets of interest to those who appreciate a clean, green world.


Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.


Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...


Sandra Shea and the DN editorial board opine on any green-related legislation or policy. And we'll pass along some of the opeds on the subject that people send us.


Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.


Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.


In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man





    Earth to Philly
  • Latest Health Videos
    Also on Philly.com:
    letter icon Newsletter