A new plan for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
July 19, 2013
Guests: Michael DiBerardinis and Harris Steinberg
Originally envisioned as Philadelphia's own Champs-Elysee, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway was designed as an elegant tree-lined boulevard that epitomized the City Beautiful movement. But over the years the Parkway has become known more for its heavy traffic than for attractive park spaces. That's something the City is trying to change – shifting the focus to more "park" and less "way". From July 17 through Aug. 18, cars will be banned from Eakins Oval, the busy traffic circle in front of the Art Museum, to make way for an eight-acre summer park and events space. It's the latest in a wave of renewal sweeping the mile-long avenue. The past six years have seen the renovation of the Rodin Museum, the relocation of the Barnes Foundation, and the introduction of bike lanes and more trees. All this raises questions about the purpose this Philadelphian landmark should serve and how city planners can transform. Joining us to talk about the re-invention of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway are HARRIS STEINBERG, executive director of PennPraxis, the research arm of the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania and MICHAEL DIBERARDINIS, Philadelphia's Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources and Commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation.