Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What will Philadelphia look like in 2035?

City unveils dreams for two neighborhoods in 2035

What will Philadelphia look like in 2035?

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Philadelphia doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on, well, on anything, but hey, a city can dream, right? One of the biggest dreams is a planning effort called Philadelphia2035, the city’s first comprehensive effort in 50 years to talk about what our neighborhoods and streets should look like.

On Tuesday, the City Planning Commission unveiled drafts of the first two plans for individual neighborhoods, and they propose big changes.

Anybody who has visited the Please Touch Museum or Kelly Pool can see the potential in the neighborhood the city calls West Park: A vast swath of green surrounded by charming homes with porches. If it were in New York City, it would be surrounded by multimillion dollar homes. Instead, much of West Park is poor, and the sections of Fairmount Park that dominate it are unknown to many people in the rest of the city.

The 2035 plan for West Park would start relatively small, moving a Streets Department facility at 40th and Jefferson streets that is out of character with the area’s residential feel. Planners also hope to create a green playground at a local public school to transform blacktop there into a park that residents could use. City planner Andrew Meloney also said planners want to add pedestrian crosswalks and other features to calm traffic on Parkside Avenue, which currently can feel like a raceway.

Eventually, planners hope to add commercial and apartment space on Parkside that will offer park views. It’s not clear how feasible such a plan is for part of the city that is still shrinking.

In South Philadelphia, near the stadiums, planner Jennifer Barr said the city hopes to build on the possibilities created by PhillyLive, a shopping and entertainment complex that will open in South Philadelphia this spring. The city also wants to increase connections to Broad Street to improve traffic flow on game days and renovate some of the amenities in FDR Park, including adding paddle boats at the old boat house.

For more information on Philadelphia2035, go here.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer's Chris Hepp, Tricia Nadolny, Julia Terruso, and Claudia Vargas take you inside Philadelphia's City Hall.

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