Prema Gupta, UCD's director of planing and economic development, said the group would use the extra land to "humanize the space" by adding in planters, tables and chairs. The group also wants to add programming for the area, something along the lines of a farmer's market or a partnership with a fitness center to provide outdoor yoga classes.
The move is part of a larger city-wide initiative to improve pedestrian amenities on the cheap, such as the recently installed parklet installed by UCD near Clark Park and a new city program that aims to turn unused slivers of roadbed into small pedestrian plazas. Costs are being covered by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.
the UCD project is one of several planned in the area, along with Penn Park, the University of Pennsylvania's redevelopment of acres of vacant parking lots into playing fields. Additionally, the Water Department is planning to turn the 3000 block of John F. Kennedy Boulevard into a green street demonstration project highlighting storm-water management features. The city also has federal stimulus grant to make the Walnut Street Bridge more pedestrian friendly, and the Schuylkill River Development Corp. wants to add more green space along Schuylkill Avenue.