Even during winter, when relatively few Philadelphians are out enjoying the waterfront, planning continues apace for the renovations revitalizing the underutilized riverfronts.
Our partners at PlanPhilly have been documenting the Delaware River waterfront planning process since the get-go, and the intreprid Kellie Patrick Gates reports from a Friday meeting of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, Mayor Nutter’s replacement for the old Penn’s Landing Corporation.
This defining feature of the DRWC’s efforts along the Delaware is incrementalism, as opposed to the grandiose visions of the past. With money tight in every direction, the planners are tackling smaller projects and planning efforts that don’t require major capital investments, and opportunistically seizing partnerships where they wash in.
Reflective of that mentality are the DRWC’s street connector series of projects, designed to link obstensibly riverfront neighborhoods with riverfronts largely cut off by I-95. This week’s meeting brought updates on the Columbia Street Connector connecting Fishtown to Penn Treaty Park, and the Spring Garden Connector, the intersection of several transportation nodes and the apple of the DRWC’s eye.
Also in the spotlight is the huge old warehouse building slowly rotting next to the Race Street Pier, the DRWC’s signal achievement last year. Folks hoping for a bathroom break while hanging out beneath the Ben Franklin Bridge, among many others, have high hopes for the 40,000 square feet of usable space.
What’s more, the DRWC is pursuing some archeological work on a paved parking lot that covers one of the last remaining swaths of Philadelphia’s original riverfront, original wooden docks and all (link to pdf).