|The Space Between: Red is Drexel, Yellow UPenn, blue commercial, purple residential. Green is greenspace, and those two blue lines show the build-to lines framing 31st St. Boulevard.|
However, this area has two wings. Let us focus first on the south wing, defined by Penn Park.
|Around Penn Park. The park is in green; blue is 100 Schuylkill; purple, proposed residential on air rights; yellow, Penn's land bank. In black note the extension of Schuylkill Boulevard atop the Schuylkill Expressway.|
But there is a second element, not as much considered: The park lies between the train tracks. While it is difficult to justify covering the western ones--at least until (unless) the Class of 1923 Ice Rink and Levy Tennis Pavilion plots are redeveloped--the Schuylkill's heavy traffic suggests that an extension of the surface avenue atop it to South is warranted. This is Schuylkill Boulevard.
And with the Boulevard, we create a platform for development. Now 30th St.'s south approach isn't just Penn Park's east edge, it's also very precious developable space sitting between it and Schuylkill Boulevard. This plan capitalizes on that by capping the NEC with five blocks--split by greenways--four of which would hold development, and one an extension of Penn Park to the river. A pedestrian bridge would also connect across the Schuylkill, onto the CSX crossing's west abutment, adding a valuable river link to these amenities. Finally, the 100 block of Schuylkill Ave. is highlighted (as if it couldn't be any more) as very valuable, riverfront, parkside developable space. Let's call this "Penn Park Place".
|30th St. and Penn Park, with Drexel in red, Penn in yellow, commercial in blue, and residential in purple.|
|Powelton air rights, from Drexelmasterplan|
|Schuylkill Hill. Blue are the Drexel Master Plan parcels; yellow, my extensions; red, the DMP streets; sky blue, my extensions; and green is parks and berms.|
*Short of sinking billions of dollars into a bypass.