Last October, PlanPhilly graduate intern Amanda Mazie wrote about VIADUCTgreene’s grassroots efforts to get the public to imagine what it would be like to transform an abandoned rail viaduct’s unplanned green space, which stretches northward from 12th and Vine to 9th and Fairmont, into an urban elevated linear park.
On Friday, Abraham Lincoln High School’s Horticulture Academy won a major Pennsylvania Horticultural Society prize for its effort to keep alive the conversation about revitalizing and reconnecting this part of Philadelphia’s industrial past to its future.
The three-year technical program that provides specialized instruction, laboratory training and field experience in green industry took home the PHS Sustainability Award – for demonstrating the best use of sustainable gardening practices to the public.
As Mazie reported, the Reading Viaduct actively carried trains until 1984, and in recent years it has grabbed the imagination and attention of advocates including VIADUCTgreene founders Paul vanMeter and Liz Maille, and Center City District CEO Paul Levy.
The high school’s project, a collaborative effort that included the Center City District, SEPTA and landscape architects from Studio Bryan Hanes, imagines ten blocks of linear park. The elevated greenway would include pathways, benches, ramps for access and stairs at major intersections.