DRWC unveils Penn Street Trail renderings, and will soon hire designer for Spring Garden Connector

Delaware River Waterfront Corporation planners unveiled renderings of the Penn Street portion of the Central Delaware Waterfront Trail at Friday’s board meeting.

This section of the trail will connect a greenway on Spring Garden Street to the Central Delaware trail. It will run north from Spring Garden on Delaware Avenue, turn onto Penn Street and into the SugarHouse Casino parking lot. SugarHouse has agreed to build the section of the trail through its lot, which will hook on to the existing trail the casino has built on the waterfront.

Key design elements include trail-side rain gardens, which are being designed with help from the city water department,  and a new kind of solar street lights. Project Manager Lizzie Woods said these don’t have the flat plates extending out to collect the sun’s energy. Instead, the wrapping of the pole is the solar collector.

The planning commission has approved materials for the trail, but Commissioners must still vote on other aspects, including the plan to change curb locations, and traffic flow on Penn Street. This is expected to happen in November.

Woods said plans are being submitted to the streets department and PennDOT next week, the construction bid should go out in late November or early December, construction should start in February, and a Memorial Day ribbon cutting is planned.

Spring Garden Connector

Speaking of Spring Garden Street, Planning Director Karen Thompson said the pre-proposal meeting for the Spring Garden Connector project design RFP was well attended, and she was hoping that meant many submissions would be received by today’s deadline. UPDATE: Nine proposals were received by the deadline.

A short-list for the designer of perhaps the largest neighborhood-to-river connection project along the Central Delaware will be finalized early next week, she said, with interviews Nov. 5. Staff hopes to bring a proposed contract to the board executive committee at its December meeting.

Pier 53
Woods said DRWC is still finalizing the design/build contract for Pier 53 with Applied Ecological Services, but meanwhile, AES has begun doing research and developing design concepts. “We are on track to get the planning committee together next week to hear their initial concepts,” she said.

The Pier 53 project is also known as Washington Avenue Green Phase II. Washington Avenue Green park is on the uplands of the pier. This project will extend public access to the pier itself.

The first public meeting to discuss the project will be held at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Southwark House, 101 Ellsworth St.

South Waterfront Trail

Next week – weather permitting, of course – workers are scheduled to lay the asphalt for the new section of waterfront trail behind the Sheet Metal Workers Union.

The trail originally jutted into the parking lot, but a right-of-way agreement was reached, and the trail path is being straightened so it hugs the river.

“It will be wrapped up in coming weeks,” Woods said. She showed a video of work done last week. “Everything is in place to make it closer to the water, and make it feel more like the waterfront trail,” she said.

Also on the southern end of the trail, DRWC is working with Biohabitats and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society on projects that will clear the area of invasive plants and put in native plants. In addition, PHS has designed several “seating nodes” for along the trail, between Reed Street and Pier 70.

DRWC President Tom Corcoran said by next spring, the southern portion of the trail “is really going to be something very different than it has been.” It still won’t be as good as it will be in the future, he said, but just getting rid of the Japanese knot weed will be huge, because “there will be views of the river for the first time.”

Contact the reporter at kgates@planphilly.com

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