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
On Thank Goodness Thursdays, we like to revisit previous plans and projects and consider just how lucky Philadelphia is that they did or didn’t happen. This week we are very thankful for our Victorian park planners and citizens who had the civic dream to preserve the Wissahickon gorge. We are recognizing the park’s century and half of public service and public benefit as we await the PA Senate vote on House Bill 2224, that puts parks at risk of being sold for short-term financial gain.
The steep river gorge is about seven miles long and 1,400 acres, including more than 50 miles of the best hiking trails in Philadelphia, the only red covered bridge in any major city, and prime viewing of the Pennsylvania Piedmont’s own Wissahickon Schist (say that 10 times fast). It was acquired by Fairmount Park in 1868 following a mixed-use past.
“On the Wissahickon at Red Bridge” – view of Thomas Mill Road Bridge, c. 1880s. Only remaining covered bridge in the Wissahickon, built 1737. (Courtesy Fairmount Park Commission Archives).
Remember that baby in the lower right from that Dinosaurs show on ABC? “NOT DA MAMA!”
In this edition of City Planimals, we’re sharing a rendering from the Lower South District Plan that did not make the final cut. Our original recommendation for FDR Park was to transform it into a dinosaur wonderland a la Jurassic Park. This peerless attraction would give Philadelphia bragging rights for being the only city where humans would be able to mingle with genetically engineered dinosaurs while enjoying a cocktail on the porch of the renovated boathouse or riding a paddleboat in the lake. Alas, the public shot this idea down during one of our public meetings. Parks & Rec also had concerns about liability issues (I guess they saw the movie). Oh well…looks like we’ll have to settle for Six Flags over the Lower Schuylkill.
(Special thanks to jeffgoldblumdoesstuff.com)
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.
Do you all read Hidden City? Because you really should. Our new blog followers with a love for planning will be particularly interested to see all the great pieces they’re featuring this week about the Lower Northeast District Plan and the projects it recommends.
1) Nathaniel Popkin sets the tone with his haunting prose
2) Elizabeth Schlingmann gets into proposed zoning changes along Castor Avenue
3) Ariel Diliberto describes how PCPC staff are working with other agencies to bring a Frankford Creek Greenway closer to reality
We’re glad to see so much attention being paid to the Lower Northeast District, or as we like to call her around the office to save time, LNE (this is prononced Lonny, like Johnny, but with an “L”). Such abbreviations are necessary in government to get through meetings in less than four hours. To wit:
Planner 1: Did you see the FAQ in the RFP that DRWC released? They did a great job explaining how the selected developer will need to work with the RCO during CDR. Planner 2: Totally, they did a great job! (Note: this did not actually happen! Just an example!).
But we digress. Read up on LNE, and look for the draft plan release next Tuesday.