In West Philly, a trench laden with railroad tracks separates the Mantua and Parkside neighborhoods. Some north-south streets, like 40th Street, pass over the tracks. Others, like 39th Street, stop in Mantua and pick up again in Parkside. 41st Street stands alone in that it once allowed travel between the neighborhoods, but due to a structurally unsound bridge it's been a dead-end for several years. But not for much longer.
A $10.8M project to demolish and rebuild the deteriorating bridge will once again allow travel between the neighborhoods on 41st Street. This bridge, though somewhat beyond our usual coverage area, runs between Mantua Avenue and Poplar Street.
The new bridge will be a "two-span, continuous structure with architectural concrete parapets and fencing," according to a Streets Department press release. The proposed roadway will include "two travel lanes with wide shoulders and sidewalks, new street lighting, signing, line striping, ADA curb ramps, and enhanced safety features."
Taken by itself, this is a small one-off project that's a long-time coming. But when considered with other infrastructure improvements in this area, we begin to see perhaps a new era of investment coming west to often ignored neighborhoods. It was two summers ago that a major improvement project cleaned up around 34th & Girard, improving the entrance at the Zoo, which also came with the construction of a new parking garage.
The closest we've come to covering anything near here happened last year when we chanced upon the Urban Mantua Peace Garden at 37th & Brown. Most of the projects we've covered have happened further south in Mantua, like the projects happening along the 3600 block of Spring Garden Street. And most of the redevelopment will continue happening in the southern parts of Mantua, close to Drexel. But with more and more redevelopment in those areas, it's likely that construction will continue to drift to the north. And while Parkside is probably not getting too much developer attention in the near future, at least it will, by the end of next year, have another access point to Mantua and the rest of West Philly.