Thursday, May 26, 2011

Reading Viaduct, Pt. II

See it right there? It's even been highlighted.

The publicly-accessible embankment along the 1200 block of Noble? The one that's all skuzzy and filled with broken glass? Do something with it. Go ahead, Reading Viaduct Project. Go ahead, Viaduct Greene. There's your pilot. Make that a livable park and then you might see more money for your ultimate mission.

I would love to see the Viaduct turned into a park. But it won't magically appear out of nowhere. The High Line took years of blood, sweat, and tears; years of the incessant dedication of the Friends of the High Line, to happen. The Friends continue to fund a sizable chunk of the park. So, for me to believe the RVP and V. Greene are adult enough, capable enough, to handle a park of this complexity, I'll need to see more than pretty renderings. I'll need to see examples. I'll need to see them actually maintain some small chunk of this Viaduct they want to be entrusted with. There's one available. Go ahead. I'm waiting.
What it looks like on the ground.


  1. The fundamental problem with all the High Line knockoffs is, including this one, is that they aren't in tremendously dense areas. Good parks exist partly because of good design, but partly also due to the large amount of people around them (think: Central Park and Rittenhouse Square, both of which are surrounded by towers and density). If they were proposing upzoning the area around the Viaduct and then instituting some sort of TIF scheme for adjacent landowners (or just asking for voluntary charity), it would be a bit more plausible.

    - Stephen Smith,

  2. I agree to a certain extent, but I was also talking about the organizations I named in my previous post on the subject.

    Keep in mind that while Callowhill today may not seem as dense as Chelsea, it is at a state of development effectively equivalent to Chelsea prior to was historically loft-industrial and many surface lots are unbuilt lofts. Its current industrial zoning, a leftover from its active days, has over-powered community NIMBYs and helped further stall development, as have conflicts between the Callowhill community and the (also neighboring) Chinatown community.

    Moving forward, the whole district needs to be zoned dense commercial (in all likelihood RC4 in Philadelphia's new code) due also to its extreme proximity to Center City.