Ashley Hahn and Christine Fisher of PlanPhilly's "Eyes on the Street" set out on a "Park(ing)" adventure, to capture about 20 park(ing) spaces across the city last Friday. September 21 marked Philadelphia's fifth annual Park(ing) Day, a daylong event when design firms, community groups, and city agencies transform ordinary on-street parking spots into unique, temporary public spaces. The city hosted 59 installations this year, nearly doubling last year's total. The day showcased everything from a "color garden" of arts and crafts, dining gardens, play gardens, and even a Shipping container turned art gallery on Chestnut.
Check out the PlanPhilly Flickr stream of the parklets in South Philly and Center City, and Germantown by Photographer Gary Reed.
Fishtown residents and Philadelphia planning commissioners support Core Realty's plans for the former Ajax Metal Works and dry ice building, holding onto only a few parking and billboard concerns. They appreciate the plans mission to bring new use to these old, vacant buildings. Residents voted 86 to 25 in favor of the proposal earlier this month.
The plans for the Ajax building include a 3,000- person music venue, a bowling alley, a restaurant and a working distillery with tasting room. The dry ice building, located across Allen Street, would house a country-western bar and grill. The project would include a 13,000 square foot public green space near the Ajax building and 337 parking spaces, located beneath highway overpasses.
The project is called Canal Street North at Penn Treaty Village. Core owns blocks of properties along Delaware Avenue, and Canal Street North fits into a greater master plan for the area. The multi-block, mixed-use development is called Penn Treaty Village. The master plan suggest family friendly entertainment and a unique pedestrian experience along Canal Street. A current ongoing phase of the project is called the Penthouses at Penn Treaty Village. These are condo conversions of two former auto storage buildings at Brown Street, one has been completed and the other has begun construction.
Plan Philly reports that because the project sites under three Zoning Overlays, the parking situation has gotten rather sticky, with the total overlays requiring 675 spaces. Core feel that 337 spaces are adequate, because a trolley runs on Frankford Avenue and the Girard Avenue El stop is also close by. Finding the right amount of parking is a balancing act, between providing enough for the development without creating a "sea of parking" says Scott Page, and urban designer with Interface Studio who presented Core's plan.
Commissioner Nancy Rogo-Trainer said despite the nearby presence of public transportation, she believes most people will drive to events at the venue. She suggested Core bring a detailed plan for overflow parking when they return seeking board approval, and suggested that maybe businesses could use a parking validation system where patrons could park for free with a stamped ticket.
Commissioner Greenberger noted his understanding that Core could not build out the development all at once, but advised the development team to show commissioners that there is commitment to the plan for the larger area, and to put this portion of the development in that context.
The Philadelphia Navy Yard will soon reach a 20 year goal to employ 10,000 workers in 2013. with the help of GlaxoSmithKline, who will be finishing construction on its new Philadelphia facility at Five Crescent Drive, the companies 1,350 current Center City employees will begin moving there in 2013.
This 20 year milestone was the prediction made by the task force then-Mayor Ed Rendell put together in 1992 to forge a plan for the future of the 1,200 acres on the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers at the southern end of Broad Street. The district is not even halfway to reaching its goal of 25,000 to 30,000 people working in The Navy Yard before the year 2030. Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger, said it's likely that in 10 years the Navy Yard will be the city's third-largest job hub, behind Center City and university City.
In October, the Navy Yard is expected to release a new planning document. The update tmo the current 2004 master plan done by Robert A.M. Stern Architects will reflect changes in the physical reality of the land available, since a portion of land has gone to port expansion. It will also update goals related to housing, transit, employment and amenities, such as restaurants, retail and additional green space and trail connections.
Urban Outfitters expansion
The focus will still remain on job creation with emphasis in the worlds of high-tech manufacturing, natural gas and alternative energy, and energy efficient construction. The new plan will look at ways to better connect the Navy Yard with the city and region. An environmental impact statement is being worked on concerning extending the subway to the Navy Yard. Residential development has also been a topic of discussion. Companies feel housing will look more attractive to their employees, SEPTA feels an extension of the Broad Street Line is only feasible if people live there, and small businesses need more than just 9-5 customers to survive. Housing would create a true community that is open for business all day long, seven days a week.
The concept of the parklet is not very popular in Philadelphia, especially not in lower income neighborhoods outside of Center City like Logan. A parklet is a small park created in former parallel parking spaces. This week the Logan CDC and the Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) proved that parklets can work in such neighborhoods.
Parked outside of the Logan Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia sits a parklet designed by three PhilaNOMA architects. The space is designed with "work, play, lounge" elements, including a stage with chalkboard floor and both casual and formal seating areas. Designers hope to provide flexible outdoor space that can accommodate multiple uses by various people.
The project is part of MOTU's parklet pilot program inspired by the successful parklets that MOTU and University City District, with funding from the William Penn Foundation, collaborated on in West Philadelphia last summer.
Green Line Cafe
The University city parklets are in front of neighborhood businesses like the Green Line Coffee Shop, where the parklet has increased revenue by nearly 20 percent.
Green Line Cafe
The Logan project proves that these small projects can be placed in any neighborhood because Philadelphians from every neighborhood desire quality public spaces. Logan CDC plans to incorporate the parklet into some of the library's programming and to host neighborhood events such as movie screenings, like last weeks showing of Hugo, which drew more than 40 people to the space. As part of the pilot program, the parklet is designed to be seasonal, and will be stored indoors from late fall until early spring.
30th Street Porch
Future parklets will be popping up on Frankford Ave in front of Little Baby's Ice Cream, on Main Street in Manayunk, on South Street and, next year, in Chinatown.