Old City overflows with Philadelphia and American history, and is home to countless landmarks that remind us of times gone by. In a neighborhood full of historic landmarks, the bus ramp leading from Market Street out to Penn’s Landing is an unfortunate monument to regrettable urban planning policies of the mid-20th century. A portion of this ramp met the wrecking ball a few years back next to Penn’s Landing, but the ramp that parallels Market St. along its western approach to 2nd Street remains and doesn’t appear likely to go anywhere anytime soon. Not only does this ramp create an unpleasant pedestrian experience, the inclusion of a SEPTA bus depot below the ramp adds to the auto-heavy feeling of the area. Add that to one of the worst on-ramps we’ve ever seen for a road as big as I-freaking-95 across Front St., and you have an area that is best avoided by the double decker buses full of tourists.

Looking NW from Market & Front at the bus ramp and SEPTA turnaround underneath
Looking SE towards the Statue of Tamanend at the entry ramp to I-95

While it may be difficult to see, there is actually a parking lot wedged between this ramp and the existing buildings just to the north. Patriot Parking has been operating here for about a decade, but thanks to a zoning update, we are excited to say that something pretty big is in store for this tricky and inconspicuous site. Let’s get our bearings straight before we get to the news.

101Market-01 Aerial
An aerial of the site, with the property highlighted in yellow
Looking east from near 2nd & Market
A street-level look at the narrow parking lot as seen from Front St.
Another view of the site from the raised ramp

A little birdie (or a zoning permit), let us know there are now residential plans for this home for cars – a seven-story, 35-unit apartment building. This structure will sit on the wider, western edge of the site, still allowing access to the 22 parking spaces (out of the current 42) which will remain on the property. A roof deck and balconies will also provide some pretty sweet views and may be close enough to Panorama Wine Bar to have them pass you a carafe roof to roof. Additional bicycle parking will also be included for this property which almost literally sits on top of the 2nd Street station of the MFL just steps away.

A look at the site plan shows the new building footprint on the west side of the property
The elevation drawing provides little in terms of details

We are all for more pedestrians and fewer cars on this block which turns into something of an on-ramp. However, we are hopeful that the upcoming mega-projects close by will change the feel of this stretch even more. After visiting the site of both the transformational Penn’s Landing Park and the Durst mixed-use development that was to be developed in tandem, there haven’t been many obvious signs of action. But we are very pleased to say that this will change soon, as a groundbreaking for the park is taking place next week.

The grand plans from Durst for the Penn's Landing of the future
The Park at Penn's Landing, breaking ground next week (at last!)
Will we see these plans come to fruition?

We are still many years away from this transformation of the Delaware River waterfront, but these steps are slowly but surely making every nook and cranny denser and more pedestrian friendly. Who knows, future residents here may even enjoy a view of the park or at least a view of some high rises along the waterfront. Either one sounds like a better experience than a roaring I-95.