In the coming decades I-95 will be rebuilt to the tune of billions in taxpayer dollars. And rather than seize this opportunity to create infrastructure that will beter serve Philadelphia in the long run, the current plan is to rebuild I-95 in its own image. What a missed opportunity.
The steady drum beat against the mirror-image reconstruction of I-95 is getting louder. Next American City‘s Diana Lind gave a TEDxPhilly talk on highway removal and wonders why on earth Philadelphia would recreate the infrastructure of the past to meet our city’s 21st century needs. In her recent column, Inga Saffron revisits the idea of thoughtful remediation, if not removal, of I-95 along the Delaware Waterfront. And, a serious public conversation about overcoming I-95 is on my wish list.
Other cities like Providence, Milwaukee, and San Francisco have removed highways and lived to tell the tale. What can Philly learn from these examples that applies to the case of our waterfront highway? Lucky us, this Thursday night (2/23) Next American City has collaborated with the Academy of Natural Sciences to host a panel discussion on Reimagining Urban Highways. The discussion will be moderated by Streetsblog‘s Aaron Naparstek, and feature Ashwin Balakrishnan (Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance), Thomas Deller (Director of Planning + Development, City of Providence, Rhode Island), Diana Lind (Next American City), and Peter Park (University of Colorado). The event is sold out, but you can tune in for the webcast starting at 6:30pm.