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
In 2008, we got literal with stormwater, looking at just how much water one parking space can capture if designed to hold onto the first inch of rainfall.
The number of parks throughout Philadelphia will increase FRIDAY, September 21st, when Park(ing) Day comes to town! Park(ing) Day is an international event when activists, artists, architects, and others transform metered parking spaces into temporary public places, re-imagine the possibilities of 170 square feet of public space, and raise awareness about the need for more pedestrian-friendly spaces in our urban areas.
Any Joni Mitchell fans out there? The tree museum? Charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see them? Yes? No? Go download Miles of Aisles right now and listen to the live version. This was our 2009 concept.
Sand and soil from states across America (PCPC Parking Day 2010)
The PCPC will be participating again at our usual location on the SW corner of 16th and Arch Streets. This year we will transform a parking space into a cabana, using only plastic bags and a bit of plannerly innovation. Please stop by and relax in a lawn chair under the shade of a plastic bag, enjoy the Arch Street sights while contemplating ways to reuse and reduce your plastic consumables.
Take some time on what is sure to be a beautiful Friday and visit all the parklets across Philadelphia. To figure out a route, check out a map of all the locations.
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
We’ve posted about bicycles and the new code and now we’re covering personal vehicles (you know, cars). As part of our “Countdown to the Code” series, Philadelphia Planeto is highlighting changes in the city’s new Zoning Code, which will replace the current code on August 22nd. Today’s Q&A topic: Parking and the New Code.
If only the signage was more clear. . .
Q: As a militant bike messenger and I SEPTA Philly spokesperson, I hope you’ve banned all personal vehicles from Philadelphia, forced all attached garages to become rumpus rooms, and required surface parking lots to become spraygrounds and dog runs. Oh yeah, and streets are now giant green bike lanes with some Bus Rapid Transit. Tell me my self-published manifesto has come true.
A: Whoa there, cowboy. Or girl. Personal vehicles, delivery trucks, and other motorized transportation are a necessary and vital part of a healthy city. Off-street parking regulations help make sure that there is a safe and adequate flow of traffic, encourage development of land, and ensure that parking areas are designed to be safe and efficient. So, no, we are not banning all personal vehicles in the new code. And, sadly, there are no rumpus room regulations either.
However, the new code does acknowledge and encourage multi-modal transportation such as bicycles through new regulations and mass transit with the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Overlay and new density bonuses for connections to transit concourses in CMX-4 and CMX-5 (high-rise development). And we’ve also removed the residential parking requirements for our densest residential zoning districts.
Today’s Wonky Wednesday post, our inaugural entry in this weekly series, got you up to speed on streetscape. Streetscape is a critical component of the public realm, another wonky term that describes all the spaces and places where Philadelphians have shared encounters (parks, streets, sidewalks, public buildings, etc).
Public Realm is one of the 9 elements in which we organize all the recommendations of Philadelphia2035. Yes, ‘elements’ is also a wonky term, typically describing the individual parts or chapters that collectively compose a comprehensive plan (thereby making it, uh, comprehensive). That said, they are a convenient way to zoom in when we want to talk about the progress we are making towards our goals.
3 themes, 9 elements, 25 topics, 73 objectives, hundreds of strategies phased over 25 years…they don’t call it comprehensive for nothin’!
With this in mind, we will offer these planning element-based updates from time to time, and for no particular reason, we’re starting with the ninth and final element of Philadelphia2035: Public Realm. READ MORE