Here at the PCPC, we’re all about your health. Not in the personal training way, but in the built environment way. That’s why we’re going to end the week – or at least some weeks – with Fitness Fridays! This is our chance to highlight physical activity, recreation, healthy food opportunities brought to you by the current and evolving landscape of Philadelphia. So without further ado and with a nod to the upcoming University/Southwest District Plan, in today’s Fitness Friday, we bring you:
“The Old Dusty”
North 46th Street in the University/Southwest District
That ginormous swath of pavement is the unit block of North 46th Street, affectionately known locally as “The Old Dusty”. Why you may ask, well, because the lack of buildings that meet the street plus luxuriously wide lanes equals the perfect ground for a windswept mess of streetscape. You wouldn’t be surprised to see tumbleweeds or their Philly cousin, the tumbleweave, slowly ambling from the Aldi to Haverford Avenue when you disembark from the El at the 46th Street Station. There are 49 feet of roadway from curb to curb and all that is contained within are two parking lanes and two very wide driving lanes. We can do better with this location as it is surrounded by institutions, it’s very transit accessible, and underneath lies the diverted Mill Creek. READ MORE
Today’s Wonky Wednesday describes a seldom used term we hope will grow in popularity over the coming years: Sidepath. A sidepath is a multi-use sidewalk/trail facility adjacent to a roadway. As you know from previous posts, bicycling on the sidewalk is illegal in Philadelphia unless you are under 12 years of age. On some busy roads, a cyclist must be brave and take the travel lane for safe passage. A sidepath allows some respite from traffic and a more leisurely ride, as well as a wider pedestrian area for dog walking, stroller-pushing, and roller blading.
A rendering of the 58th Street Greenway – now under construction. It’s the perfect sidepath illustration.
Our weekly look into the built environment and how it can influence your health leans a little to the wonky side this morning as we touch on an aspect of the
new Zoning Code that addresses these issues: Civic Design Review. This won’t be the last time you hear about this, by any means. In fact, CDR (cause everyone needs another acronym) is going to become a regular part of how we do business and how you as a resident consider the impacts of large projects. CDR is section 14-304(5) for those who still haven’t committed chapter and verse to memory.
We bring up CDR on a Fitness Friday because it’s specifically intended to address, among other things, walkability, pedestrian safety, street activity, and open space design (within the given proposal). All of these factors can influence not only your interest and willingness to walk, but the degree to which you can do so safely and enjoyably.
You can’t tell from the back, but these people are lowering their blood pressure, preventing crime, reducing pollution, and saving money RIGHT NOW.
Why do we want you to walk? Lots of reasons. Here are 4: READ MORE
It’s the last Friday of the summer, so we hope you spend out and about, getting some exercise and soaking up some rays (with SPF 30 or higher, of course). We hit the gym this morning, but Fitness Fridays are about making the city your gym (nice tag line, right?), so we’re here to talk planning from a physical activity point of view. Today’s topic, the grand-daddy of all active transportation policy documents, our very own Philadelphia Pedestrian & Bicycle Plan, the first citywide pedestrian plan and an update to the 2000 bicycle network plan. The Plan was completed this spring and adopted by the Planning Commission in June 2012. As with many of our other health-related initiatives, thanks are due to the Department of Public Health’s Get Healthy Philly initiative for helping to fund completion of this important document.
One of many panels that you can print out, tape together, and hang on your wall to create a full bicycle network for Philadelphia.
The Plan has five goals related to Safety (for pedestrians and cyclists); Encouragement (of these forms of transportation), Connectivity (of our infrastructure), the Public Realm (being designed with all road users in mind), and Recognition (of how awesome we are in this department). READ MORE
With approximately 52 minutes left until happy hour, there’s still ample time to discuss your physical health and well-being, things that can be greatly affected by your environment! Today we look north – to the Bronx, specifically – to see what other cities are doing to build more health-supportive built environments.
At NYC’s first adult playground, people can live out their Olympics fantasies on equipment that includes parallel and high bars.
Often ahead of the curve, New York City is starting to roll out adult playgrounds, which are pretty much exactly what they sound like. The idea is to create what are essentially outdoor gyms to encourage physical activity in people of all ages.