The Parkway; How Should We Plan For Its Future?

An ongoing discussion continues on in an article in The Wall Street Journal, "Rethinking Philadelphia's Boulevard of Broken Dreams".  The article addresses past, present, and future dreams, plans and changes to the parkway and questions "What is the best way to move forward?".

Paul Levy, president and CEO of Philadelphia's Center City District reflects on his past attempt to re-imagine the city's grand diagonal boulevard as a higher-density urban space.  An unsuccessful attempt, however from that, the re-pedestrianizing of the parkway caught on.  The current plan by Harris Steinberg, founding executive director of PennPraxis, considers how to connect the boulevard into the life of the city.  Dubbed "More Park, Less Way",  the plan focuses on turning four parcels of underutilized open space into lively neighborhood parks with amenities such as yoga, volleyball, chess boards, food kiosks and cultural programming.  The aim is to make the parkway as enticing a destination for city residents and tourists.

The formerly inhospitable roadway now has bike lanes and crosswalks, renovated sidewalks and benches, nighttime illumination, new parks and cafés, better signage, a restored Rodin Museum and Logan Circle, Sister Cities Park, and the move of the Barnes Foundation's gallery to the parkway.  Soon there will be a Mormon Temple at 17th and Vive streets and a hotel to occupy the Family Court building.

The question that remains now after its been cleaned up is "What do we want it to be?" says Michael DiBerardinis, the city's deputy mayor for environmental and community resources and commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation.  As Philadelphia continues to work toward being America's Next Great City, it's grandest boulevard for sure must stand well against any of its counterparts around the world.  Read more at WSJ.com

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