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.