In honor of tonight’s grand opening ceremony for the Race Street Connector, we figured we’d head over and see what progress has been made at making the hundred yard walk under I-95 feel less like a hundred yard walk under I-95. For those who don’t know what we’re talking about, the Race Street Connector is the first step in a long-term project to improve access to the Delaware river, and utilizes landscaping, greenery, improved signage, widened sidewalks, and lights projected on a metal screen to improve the walkability and safety of the stretch of Race St. between Front St. and Delaware Ave. The purpose of this connection is to make it easier for folks to get to our pricey but pretty new public space, the Race Street Pier.
In general, this is a nice first effort by the DRWC and the Streets Department. They’ve successfully made an undesirable stretch of sidewalk much more pedestrian friendly, and we suspect that this improvement will lead to more people braving the walk under the highway to explore the new park. One thing that did catch our attention was the apparent incompleteness of the project. Sure, the southern side of Race St. is dramatically improved, but what about the north side of the street?
This problem will be resolved with Phase Two of the Race Street Connector project, which will improve the currently unchanged and still extremely unattractive north side of Race St. Similar streetscape improvements will be implemented, with new sidewalks, new landscaping, and a metal screen added to complement the one on the southern side. We’re a little concerned that until the second phase is completed, the connector will continue to feel unfinished.
Then again, maybe we just need to check it out at night. The lighting is supposed to be very impressive.