Yet Another Imperfect Plan for the Delaware Waterfront

In Sunday’s Inquirer, Inga Saffron discusses a new master plan for the Delaware waterfront. A quick summary: low-rise housing, green space, no more concerts on Festival Pier, no capping I-95. We give one thumb down to the Festival Pier item- we like our outdoor concert space but the distinct lack of shade and the countless resulting sunburns make the venue entirely expendable. We give one hundred thumbs down to the I-95 idea- without covering the stretch of I-95 between South St. and Market St., the status quo of many people never interacting with the waterfront will regrettably be maintained.

In the article, architect James Timberlake states “Forty-six out of seventy-two city streets pass under I-95. It’s not necessary to cap it.” Which makes sense because, you know, people just love walking under an elevated highway. The combination of safety, excellent lighting, and wonderful aesthetics below thousands of cars thundering by at high rates of speed makes everyone wish they could spend their days and nights under the highway. And this statement also ignores the fact that Center City, our densely populated core, full of people who would spend time and money at the waterfront if doing so were only a little easier, contains several of the twenty-six streets that don’t pass under I-95. So maybe we should go back to the drawing board on this idea?

The official public presentation of this plan will take place tonight, at the Festival Pier at Spring Garden St. and Delaware Ave., from 6:30PM – 8:30PM.

Image Courtesy of Delaware River Waterfront Corp.

From the article:

“Philadelphia’s waterfront has shifted identity many times since William Penn first stuck his toe in the Delaware, evolving from a pioneer settlement to a bustling port, from an industrial wasteland to a big-box entertainment and retail district.

Now, as Philadelphia wraps up a five-year planning effort, the river is being prepped to take on a new role. A detailed master plan, which will be presented to the public Monday evening, shapes the empty acres along the central Delaware waterfront into the flagship of a 21st-century lifestyle city, with dense neighborhoods of middle-class housing, street-level retail, gracious parks, restored wetlands, and a riverside recreation trail….”

To read the rest, click here