By Kellie Patrick Gates
Want a say in how Philadelphia looks and functions in the future?
The Planning Commission wants to hear from you.
Philadelphia has entered the initial phase of creating a new comprehensive plan – a document that guides development. This would be the city’s first such plan in more than 40 years.
As part of the planning phase, called Imagine Philadelphia. Laying the Foundation, the planning commission will hold a series of two-hour community discussions at locations around the city. The first will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Fels Community Center Auditorium, 2407 S. Broad Street.
It’s a time for big ideas, said Alan Urek, the planning commission’s director of strategic planning and policy.
“What would it take over the next 30 years for Philadelphia to have the best regional transportation system in the country?” he asks as an example of a question that will be posed at the community meetings.
Those who attend will be divided into eight smaller groups, each of which will brainstorm answers to a single big question on one of these topics: Transportation, housing, regionalism, economy, neighborhoods, preservation/open space, public facilities and infrastructure.
A team of Planning Commission staffers and consultants will conduct the meetings. The input gathered will be used both to create the white papers that are the precursor to a full comprehensive plan and to help the Zoning Code Commission revamp the city’s code.
There is no need to register to attend, and residents are not required to go to the session held in their part of the city. Those who cannot attend but have opinions to share may do so at the website www.imaginephiladelphia.org.
Here is a list of the scheduled meeting places and times. All meetings will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. PlanPhilly will cover the meetings. If the weather is so bad that Philadelphia Public Schools are cancelled, that day’s meeting will be rescheduled.
Tuesday, Dec. 4: Fels Community Center Auditorium, 2407 S. Broad Street.
Wednesday, Dec. 5: Albert Einstein Medical Center, Gouley Auditorium, Braemer Building, 5501 Old York Road.
Wednesday, Dec. 12: Northeast Regional Free Library, Meeting Room, 2228 Cottman Avenue.
Thursday, Dec. 13: West Philadelphia YMCA Gymnasium, 5120 Chestnut Street.
Additional meetings are planned, but not yet scheduled. These will be held January 2008 in Roxborough/Manayunk, Center City, Bridesburg/Kensington, and Lower North Philadelphia. To be notified when the details are set, sign up at www.imaginephiladelphia.org or call 215.683.4610.