When we passed by 42nd & Woodland across from University of the Sciences a couple of weeks ago, we were shocked to see a big pile of dirt and a tractor instead of the tables and landscaping that made up Woodland Green. You may recall, this pedestrian plaza was fabricated at the triangular concrete parcel at that intersection by University City District a couple summers back.
It was at the time the first implementation of the City's Pedestrian Plaza Program, announced in 2011, which has since expanded and transformed a number of similar underused spaces into animated urban places— like Baltimore Crossing at 48th & Baltimore—a simple move in urban placemaking that's spreading across the city. It was like a mini Porch, with the umbrellas but without the food trucks and mini-golf.
We were very pleased to learn that the tractor and dumpster on the site, were part of the effort to make the temporary Woodland Green into a permanent Woodland Green. So much for our worry it was disappearing, then. According to UCD, as the City rebuilds Woodland Green into a permanent fixture over the next few months, the project will include simple improvements like new traffic signals and priority signals for the trolley.
In University City, there's other infrastructure improvements taking place, as the 40th Street Portal is closed for the next couple of weeks for SEPTA improvements. Meanwhile, the UCD's renovation of the 40th Street Portal into a green-roof landscaped portal with a cafe are coming closer to being reached. With hope, and a final push in financing, by this time next summer work on the Portal will have been well underway. And a refreshed and permanent Woodland Green will be just down the street.