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Queen Village / Pennsport : Development News

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Joynture Work Habitat comes to the Pearl Building on South Street

In autumn 2014, the former Pearl Arts & Crafts building on South Street got new life as a dance and fitness complex, but the venture was short-lived. Now, a co-working space focused on young and growing companies is set to open in May.

Joynture Work Habitat, which operates under the umbrella of software design and development company EWS, already has one location on Wall Street in New York City; it will open another in Lahore, Pakistan this year.

EWS Vice President of Business Development and Joynture co-founder Kyle Riggle says the company has been looking to expand to Philly for the last year.

"The reason we’re interested in Philly is just because the tech scene here is really starting to come alive," says Riggle. "I think that’s kind of the market we like to go after."

The hunt for a space began in Center City and then moved to Old City without turning up the right spot in terms of size, price, lease length and "a landlord willing to work with the type of business that we want to run," explains Riggle. "That’s not easy to find."

A Northern California native who came to the East Coast to attend Columbia University, Riggle lived in New York City for the past six years before buying a house in Philly’s Point Breeze neighborhood. He was strolling South Street one day late last year with his brother when he saw a sign in the Pearl building window. He met with the owner the next day for a tour.

"It had a lot of character and a lot of potential," he recalls. "Right when I saw it, I knew I could do something cool with it if I could make the numbers work."

The lease for Joynture’s new Philly location was finalized last December.

With the support of EWS, members will have access to a host of technical resources: membership benefits include big discounts from Amazon Web Services, Zipcar, UPS, B & H, and more.

The space will be a mix of private offices available for rent and co-working space. There will be an event area on the first floor and offices on the second. The 9,000-square-foot third floor can be tailored for multiple tenants looking for anything from 500 to 2,000 square feet. Startups interested in getting into the new Joynture space can e-mail [email protected] to get the ball rolling.

Writer: Alaina Mabaso
Source: Kyle Riggle, Joynture Work Habitat


Lights up on the next phase for Fabric Row

Last summer, we looked at the transformations taking place on South 4th Street’s Fabric Row, and now a big piece of those plans is complete. On February 8, representatives from the South Street Headhouse District (SSHD), the Commerce Department, the Streets Department and First District Councilman Mark Squilla officially brought up the lights on a major new streetscape improvement.

The corridor now has 38 LED pedestrian lights and 12 LED overhead lights between Lombard and Christian Streets. The project also includes the planting of 20 new trees, fixes for deteriorating curbs and sidewalks, and new decorative crosswalks. Made possible by NTI Commerce Department funds secured through SSHD, the renovations extend to several nearby blocks of South Street, with 130 existing lights on South between Front and 11th Streets being upgraded to LEDs.

Philly is "considered one of the best walkable cities in this country," said Streets Department Commissioner Donald Carlton at the lighting ceremony at 4th and Bainbridge Streets. This improvement was a long-needed upgrade to one of the region’s most historic commercial corridors.

SSHD Executive Director Michael Harris added that the project would have "transformative impact" on the area. Elena Brennan, SSHD Board Chair and owner of the nearby Bus Stop Boutique, agreed.

"It’s really near and dear to my heart," she said of the lighting improvement. Nine years ago when she first opened her store the lack of adequate lighting was a big problem for nighttime shoppers and shop-owners. "This street now is going to be brilliant."

"Lighting is the key to safety," explained Councilman Squilla in his remarks -- it increases visitors' comfort and foot traffic, and boosts business on a corridor.

He acknowledged some of the project's challenges, including its winter construction timeline (which may have impacted holiday sales). But with years to come of attractive well-lit walkways in good repair, the temporary inconvenience of construction will pay off for shoppers and business owners alike.

As we discovered back in summer 2015, the roster of businesses on the corridor is evolving: shifting to include a range of eclectic upscale boutiques and restaurants alongside the traditional textile stores. Councilman Squilla lauded the burgeoning intergenerational feel of Fabric Row, where legacy businesses are increasingly joined by new ones.

Writer: Alaina Mabaso
Sources: 4th Street Lighting and South Street Lighting Celebration speakers 


The new Pier 68 waterfront park boasts fishing, seating and more

On October 1, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) and Mayor Michael Nutter formally opened DRWC's third permanent pier park. Pier 68 -- located at the end of Pier 70 Boulevard -- offers an exciting new place for Philly’s fishing enthusiasts to cast a line into the Delaware (just be sure to get your PA fishing license). Designed by Studio Bryan Hanes, the firm behind the Civic Commons plans in Parkside, the half-acre Pennsport pier joins the Race Street Pier (2011) and Washington Avenue Pier (2014). 

Construction on the new park began last winter; the recreational fishing component was very important to the neighborhood.
"There is a very big demand for fishing along the river," explains DRWC President Thomas Corcoran. Until recently, people who wanted to drop their hooks "had to walk out on dilapidated piers which were not at all that safe, some of which were privately owned."

Pier 68 remedies that, with a third of the structure dedicated exclusively to fishing.
The pier also includes a feature similar to a popular one on the Washington Avenue pier: an "Aquatic Cut" -- a four-and-half-foot deep cut into the pier surface that lets visitors see into the tidal world. A "microcosm of the Delaware River’s pre-industrial ecology," according to DRWC, the cut will let students and visitors view a wide assortment of native aquatic plants be covered and then revealed by the tide every day.
Other features include an entrance deck that spotlights repurposed maritime bollards.
What’s a bollard?
"It’s what the ships tie up to," says Corcoran of the salvaged wood’s origins on piers of the past.
The new space also boasts a tree canopy that shields the pier from the parking lot and traffic to the west, and picnic tables on the pier’s southern edge.
Pier 68 is another milestone in the regional Circuit trail project, with the Washington Avenue Pier and Pier 68 serving as bookends to the southern part of the developing Delaware River Trail. Ultimately, it’ll be a part of the Spring Garden Greenway and the greater East Coast Greenway.
Two years ago, DRWC built a demonstration section of what the finished Delaware River trail would look like at Spring Garden and Columbus -- a 28-foot-wide bi-directional bike path separated from a pedestrian path, with landscaping on both the road and river sides featuring cutting-edge stormwater management.
The pier project was the result of a major public/private collaboration between DRWC, several design teams, Bittenbender ConstructionHydro Marine Construction, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the William Penn Foundation, and a Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities Grant, administered through the National Fish and Wildlife Service.
Writer: Alaina Mabaso
Source: Thomas Corcoran, Delaware River Waterfront Corporation


Rethinking the Rowhome: An architect lets in the light in Queen Village

In this city of rowhomes, thoughtful design can have a huge impact. One local designer transformed her Fabric Row space into a showcase for bringing light and flexibility to Philadelphia's signature structure.

Juliet Whelan, owner of award-winning architecture firm Jibe Design, lives with her husband live on the second and third floors above an office they rent out. The recently renovated home is stunning. Natural light floods the space and the minimalist furniture was designed by the homeowner herself. There are tons of unique features including a steel parapet hook chandelier over the custom dining table, a raw steel grating stair and a steel "curtain" guardrail from the 3rd floor to the roof.

This is actually the second renovation on the home, which sits on the 800 block of South 4th Street in Queen Village. The project cost $150,000 and included an addition to the rear of the building, a roof deck and a garden.

In fact, there are no traditional closets -- just a custom pantry in the kitchen for storing food and cleaning supplies, and a string curtain surrounding open shelves for clothes and shoes in the master suite. 

"We're pretty tidy people, so I opted for closets as furniture," explains Whelan. "I like to stand in my bedroom, where there's a lot of natural light, and pick out my clothes for the day."

Helping to capitalize on that natural light pouring in through large windows on the upper level and coming down from the light box on the roof are two sliding doors on the bedrooms. They can be left open to let the light play throughout the space or closed to provide privacy when the couple has guests.

The home's new furniture was designed by Whelan and built with the help of several friends and craftspeople. There's the bed that looks like a double-wide chaise lounge made from wood, which sits atop a black and white rug from Millésimé. She also designed the dining table; above it hangs the chandelier made from parapet hooks, which have a connection to the house's history.

"For the last seven years I've had these metal hooks I found in the basement," she says. "We thought maybe it was a Jewish deli and these were meat hooks. We hung them above my table and then found out they're parapet hooks, used to do work on the exterior of a building. Someone who lived here before us must have been a mason or something."

Writer: Rosella LaFevre
Source: Juliet Whelan, Jibe Design

Big announcements, big fun on the Delaware Waterfront this summer

"The additions to the Delaware River Waterfront in recent years are truly remarkable," enthused Mayor Michael A. Nutter on April 9 at the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation's summer programming announcement. The upcoming warm-weather festivities will include a first-of-its-kind outdoor roller rink and the return of Spruce Street Harbor Park. 

Since 2009, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation has worked to activate the city's underused spaces. This year, the organization is partnering with Independence Blue Cross and Univest/Valley Green Bank, enabling them to move toward seven-day-a-week programming.

"[This] helps us build towards our mission of making the waterfront a recreation destination throughout the year," explains Communications Manager Emma Fried-Cassorla.

Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, Philadelphia's first and only outdoor roller rink, will replace the popular Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest site, giving the space year-round vibrancy. The rink  -- featuring roller and in-line skates as well as a high-end roller-hockey-grade flooring system -- will be open seven days a week from May 22 through the end of September. 

The Winterfest Lodge will transform into a boathouse-themed restaurant and venue, decorated in a relaxed summer vibe. The whole fest will be free and open to the public (with roller skating being the only ticketed activity; Independence Blue Cross cardholders skate for free).

Also luring the hot, thirsty and bored east will be the return of Spruce Street Harbor Park (SSHP). The wildly-popular boardwalk-inspired installation will open Memorial Day weekend, a month earlier than last year, and expand its offerings -- that means more seating, more hammocks, more dining choices, more beer and more family-friendly attractions. The park will also boast a new meadow donated by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a re-imagined version of the Oasis.

In addition to the new outdoor roller rink and SSHP, Philadelphians and visitors can also enjoy a slate concerts, festivals, and movies along the waterfront this summer. 

Writer: Hailey Blessing
Source: Delaware River Waterfront Corporation

Metered parking spaces throughout the city to morph into pop-up parks

As you step outside your home or office this Friday, September 19, don't be surprised if you see your neighbor lounging where their car would normally be parked.

In fact, don't be surprised if an antique coffee table is perched on the sidewalk next to them, or if a working lamp, bookshelf or mini-fridge is alongside in the gutter.   
Every year here in Philadelphia -- and throughout the world, for that matter -- on the third Friday of September, an unusual celebration of public spaces occurs at dozens of metered parking spaces throughout the city.
Known as PARK(ing) Day, the nine-year-old event was first launched in San Francisco, where a single metered parking space was transformed for two hours into a miniature public park by members of an architecture firm. A photo of the temporary installation soon went viral, and by 2011, PARK(ing) Day was being celebrated in 162 cities on six continents.
Here in Philly, more than 50 diminutive pop-up parks will be installed in Center City, Queen Village, Germantown, Fishtown and North Philly, to name a few. An interactive map of the planned parks can be accessed online.
As Erike De Veyra of Zimmerman Studio, which organizes the event locally, points out, the purpose of PARK(ing) Day Philadelphia isn't solely to raise awareness of public spaces. It's also to suggest that public spaces, which bring communities together, don't necessarily need to be large or even particularly expensive in order to serve their purpose.
From 5 to 8 p.m., the Center for Architecture will host an after-party featuring photos from the day. Click here to reserve a spot.  

Insider's Tip: According to De Veyra, a Center City architecture firm historically hosts one of the event's best parks. It's located near the corner of Broad and Walnut.

Writer: Dan Eldridge
Source: Erike De Veyra, Zimmerman Studio

Sneak Peak: Progress at Pier 53

This past weekend, Philadelphians were offered a sneak peak of Pier 53, an ambitious waterfront renovation project at the foot of Washington Avenue. Flying Kite headed down there on Saturday to snap some pictures and take in the gorgeous views of the Delaware. 

A joint venture between the Friends of Washington Avenue Green and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC), the project will not only add green space to city, but also memorialize the immigration station that operated on the pier starting in 1876. At one point, Pier 53 processed up to 1,500 immigrants per day. (Click here for more on the history of the immigration station.)

After checking out the under-construction space, we walked north to check out progress at Spruce Street Harbor Park. That fabulous installation opens to the public on Friday, June 27. Barges boasting loungers and picnic tables, dozens of hammocks, and beach-like dunes are already in place -- it's a can't miss.

For more outdoor summer fun, check out The Visit Philly Beer Garden Series.

Writer: Lee Stabert


Upcoming Plenty Café in Queen Village will be the local mini-chain's largest location yet

In a city that has gone from fine-dining desert to a veritable foodie paradise in the space of a decade, building a gourmet café chain that captures the interest of the city is anything but easy.
And yet that's exactly what brothers Anthony and Damon Mascieri are accomplishing with Plenty Café, their quick-service sandwiches-and-coffee cafe known for its use of natural, organic and local ingredients. The majority of the menu is inspired by the brothers' international travels.  
After opening the original Plenty Café on East Passyunk in 2012, and then following up with a bi-level Rittenhouse Square location soon after, the Mascieris have announced the launch of a third location. Due to open in summer 2015 at South Fifth and Monroe Streets in Queen Village, the new café will feature a specialty coffee bar and rotating menu.
The Mascieris have made a habit of purchasing each of the buildings in which their cafes reside and then developing residential real estate on the floors above. The Queen Village location will feature nine luxury apartments that Damon's firm, Mascieri Group, will put on the market around the same time the café opens its doors.     
"This location is definitely going to be the biggest of the three," says Anthony. "And being that it's on a corner [lot], we're really going to take advantage of all the window space. We'll do really extensive outdoor seating, and add a lot of greenery and other things to make it a really attractive destination for lunch."     
Writer: Dan Eldridge
Sources: Anthony and Damon Mascieri, Plenty Café 

Renderings released for massive reimagining of Penn's Landing

Sometimes you see a rendering that just makes your heart leap -- that was the case with these recently released conceptual drawings for Penn's Landing that appeared on PlanPhilly.

Currently cut off from Center City by a combination of I-95 and busy Columbus Boulevard, the Delaware Waterfront remains woefully underused. Recent projects such as the Race Street Pier have drawn tourists and residents to its banks, but this new plan would remove a huge emotional and visual barrier while providing flexible space for picnicing, exercising and general frolicking. 

The project, being sheparded by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, would also include riverfront residential and commerical development to keep the area lively outside of holidays and weekends -- plus, you need a place to stock that picnic basket. The jewel of the plan, an 11-acre park, would stretch from Front Street to the river, ending in a large public space featuring an amphitheater.

Of course, something like this doesn't come cheap, but integrating infrastructure improvements increases funding options. Then there's the economics benefits of developing such an underserved stretch of prime real estate. Here's PlanPhilly:

The current cost estimate for the plan, which includes capping I-95 and Delaware Avenue between Chestnut and Walnut with an 11-acre park: $205 million in public investment.

That large number would normally be discouraging, noted [Central Delaware Advocacy Group] Vice Chairman and Old City resident Joe Schiavo. But he didn't think so after hearing about the financial concepts behind the plan. "The notion here is a lot of the work that needs to be done is infrastructure," he said. "It involves roadways, and as such funding is available through transportation budgets." The $205 million is for the public space and infrastructure only. The idea is that investment would spur the private parts of the development – the residences, restaurants, shops and the like – to the tune of $800 million or even $1 billion. "It's a very good ratio, he said.

Though there is still a lot to be figured out -- including what to do with current tenants such as The Chart House and The Independence Seaport Museum -- the enthusiasm is palpable.

"It's just absolutely marvelous," said Richard Wolk who represents Queen Village to PlanPhilly. "I went home said to my wife, 'This is going to the renaissance of Philadelphia. This is going to make people want to come to the river, and make us a first-rate city.' Because every first-rate city has a first-rate waterfront."

A presentation to the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation board is scheduled for April 25. Check out PlanPhilly's whole report here.

Source: PlanPhilly
Writer: Lee Stabert

A facelift could be in the works for Queen Village's historic Fabric Row

Michael Harris has been executive director of the South Street Headhouse District -- the city's second-oldest business improvement district -- for two years now. One of the first things that struck him about the historic stretch of South Fourth Street known as Fabric Row -- which runs between South and Catherine Streets -- was the dated and run-down feel of the strip.

"There are certain basic streetscape elements that are lacking down there," says Harris. "Like trash cans, pedestrian lighting, and places to sit."
Harris was also struck by the fact that many of the new businesses and contemporary boutiques moving into the area are investing in their own properties. Meanwhile, the public elements of Fabric Row, he says, "don't really reflect all the good things that are going on."

And so, along with the Community Design Collaborative, Headhouse District put together a conceptual design for Fabric Row that includes streetscape improvements -- park benches, planters and pedestrian-level lighting, for example. The plan also calls for building façade renovations, an aspect of the project Harris hopes to have funded via the Department of Commerce's Storefront Improvement Program.   
Because construction funds for the proposed improvements haven't yet been raised, there's no official timeline for the plan. At the moment, Headhouse District is still rolling it out to the street's stakeholders and attempting to gauge interest.

"There's a tremendous energy going on along Fourth Street right now," says Harris, adding that Fabric Row today has an amazing mix of businesses both brand-new and generations old. "What we're trying to do is to draw that identity out, and make it more apparent."

Source: Michael Harris, South Street Headhouse District
Writer: Dan Eldridge

Moonshine, a neighborhood bar and restaurant, thrives in Pennsport

With adjacent East Passyunk recently named best neighborhood for the second year in a row by Curbed Philly, and memories from Mummers' revelries a street over still fresh, it seemed a good time to check in on two-month-old bar and restaurant Moonshine in Pennsport.

The 46-seat establishment stands at the site of the former East Side Moyamensing Saloon, a no-frills dive bar that operated on the corner since 1935. Co-owner Rich Fattori said he jumped at the chance to buy the property, located about a half-mile south of The Industry and Federal Donuts

"We found the location because we were the vendors for the jukebox and Megatouch of East Side Saloon," says Fattori. "When we found out the previous owner was selling, we wanted to get in right away, because we thought it was a very up-and-coming area. There are lots of young professionals and new people moving in, but it still has the mystique of a typical South Philly neighborhood." 

Fattori was initially concerned about neighbors' reaction to losing a local institution. 

"I was a little nervous in how quickly it would take them to warm up to what we're trying to do here," he says. "We've owned another bar in Briarcliffe for ten years and the original clientele is still resistant to any changes."

Fattori and his team made a concerted effort to become part of the community. He even knocked on a neighbor's door to introduce himself: "Before I could even say anything else, she held up her hand and said, 'Stop. I know what you're doing, and I love it.'" 

The neighborhood's enthusiasm was documented by local press, such as Pennsporter and Passyunk Post, as Fattori's team completed renovations over the summer. Since opening, he estimates that about three-quarters of customers have been locals. This fits perfectly with his vision for Moonshine as a welcoming and friendly neighborhood spot. 

Fattori's strict adherence to Moonshine's concept, even when it means a loss in profit, was evident in his decision not to open on New Year's Day. Though the restaurant served lunch to a private party (the Holy Rollers N.Y.B. Mummers club), Fattori closed to the public partly based on the recommendations from neighbors and frequent diners.

"We didn't want to change to just open and make a ton of money," he says. "We wanted to keep our character and the vibe we have going here."

Moonshine is located at 1825 East Moyamensing Avenue; make reservations at moonshinephilly.com or by calling (267) 639-9720.

Writer: Nicole Woods
Rich Fattori, Moonshine 

Nostalgia, an innovative vintage boutique, opens off South Street

Nostalgia opened its doors on October 19, right off South Street at the former site of Passional in Queen Village. The boutique could be easily mistaken as just another high-end consignment shop, but owners Rafael Rosado, Arielle Salkowitz and Danielle DiRosa position Nostalgia as an dynamic retail experience.

"Our idea was to bring back classic Americana style and mix it with quality accessories," says Salkowitz. "We wanted to create a lifestyle store that brings back positive memories."

The trio cultivates Nostalgia's brand through a combination of vintage items and contemporary American-made clothing. Salkowitz's own line of 1950s-inspired rockabilly gear, Earl Salko, is sold along with infinity scarves by DiRosa and original pieces from other local designers. Rosado's curated vintage collection includes a 1960s-era elementary school desk and a large selection of vintage eyewear.

Although Nostalgia's vintage wares are most prominently displayed in its display window, Earl Salko is the store's X-factor. Salkowitz created the line after graduating from Philadelphia University in 2011. Her inspiration for the collection was 1940s motorcycle clothing. The line includes pants, jackets and dresses riffing on 1950s circle skirt dresses (a perfect match for those denim jackets). 

Salkowitz sews much of Earl Salko's collection by hand; the denim items are manufactured at a factory in Kensington. Until Nostalgia opened in October, she primarily sold items through Etsy and at local markets, including last summer's Brooklyn Flea at the Piazza. 

As Rosado assisted Salkowitz at vending opportunities over the last two years, he began building his vintage collection. All the pieces gelled in September when DiRosa spotted the vacancy left by Passional. 

"The store is in a great location, so we knew it was a great opportunity," says Salkowitz. "The area gets a lot of foot traffic and you can see the storefront when you round the corner from 3rd street onto Bainbridge. We all wanted to stay in South Philly, and Queen Village is a great area." 

The team signed the lease in late September, and managed to open Nostalgia in three weeks. The store's design complements the inventory: the shelving, clothing racks and furniture are all repurposed, including a large showcase made from an antique gun display Rosado found on Craigslist.

Nostalgia, 704 S. 5th St., Philadelphia

Writer: Nicole Woods
Source: Arielle Salkowitz, Nostalgia

Breaking ground at the soon-to-be-spectacular Washington Avenue Green

Every week brings news of another exciting development along the Delaware River. In May, Flying Kite reported that the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DWRC) had plans to create a park at Pier 53 called Washington Avenue Green, which would have similar uses to the Race Street Pier, but with a more "ecological twist."

At the end of October, DRWC hosted an official groundbreaking ceremony for Washington Avenue Green. Mayor Michael Nutter attended, and DRWC President Tom Corcoran officially opened the site for construction.

DWRC's Lizzie Woods said the park will help grow the local economy, especially the adjacent Washington Avenue corridor.

"The underlying philosophy of all DRWC public works projects is that investing in a quality public realm provides incentives to and increases the value of private development," says Woods. "A successful park at Pier 53 will help spur development at sites along Washington Avenue, especially the Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall and the site of the former Foxwoods Casino."

When Flying Kite last reported on Pier 53, three elements of the park's design were unfunded: an elevated boardwalk allowing visitors to pass over the wetland habitat below; a "welcome spire" at the entrance; and public art by artist Jody Pinto titled "Land Buoy," a 55-foot spire that responds to the wind and sun. Fortunately, DWRC has since raised the necessary funds and the park will feature all of the desired design elements. 

Other features will include panoramic views of the Delaware River and Center City; a path allowing visitors to reach the tip of the pier and touch the water; interpretive signage relating the site's history as the nation's first navy yard and an immigration station. Construction is expected to be completed in summer 2014.

Writer: Nicole Woods
Source: Lizzie Woods, DWRC

The Planning Commission preps new Washington Avenue roadway configuration

Washington Avenue, long a snarl of trucks, pedestrians, vendors and cars heading to I-95, is getting a makeover. The Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) is halfway through a study of the bustling corridor and plan to reveal a new roadway configuration after the new year. 

In late October, PCPC held their first public meeting to discuss the plan. 

"We had great turnout at the meeting," says PCPC South Philadelphia and transportation planner Jeannette Brugger. "People are very passionate about what happens on Washington Avenue -- it's a very complicated project because there's so much going on on the avenue."

People reserved their strongest input for the section around the Italian Market. It's a stretch of Washington with high foot traffic, and also an area where the bike lane briefly stops (before reappearing at 7th Street). One bicyclist or pedestrian is injured every three weeks due to a crash. Making the bike lane continuous is definitely going to happen, but there are multiple options for how to integrate loading, parking and traffic (you can view all the possibilities here).

"You can't fit everything in," explains Brugger. "If you fit a buffered bike lane in, you might not be able to fit the parking and loading that's needed for the success of the businesses. And that's something we definitely want to promote as well. Another thing I was surprised about, in a good way, was that a lot of folks said the street should be made safer for pedestrians, and that the road should narrowed. Safety is one of our goals in the study."

With all the exciting developments on the waterfront -- including Washington Avenue Green (formerly Pier 53) -- the eastern stretch of Washington should see more foot and bike traffic in the coming years. Though PCPC has to work within the current curb lines, there are still options for making the streetscape more inviting for those visitors. Following a second public meeting, the plans should move forward quickly.

"The goal is to put together striping plans for the Streets Department in the next year-or-two," says Brugger. "Enforcement is what's going to make this new roadway configuration actually work. That's up to Licenses & Inspections, the Parking Authority, the Police Department, the council offices. We can put new alignments down, but if business happens as usual, it won't be as successful as it should be."

Writer: Lee Stabert
Source: Jeannette Brugger, Philadelphia City Planning Commission

Big grants will transform the Delaware waterfront in Pennsport

The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation has received yet another in a series of grants with tremendous potential to transform the southeast section of the city. Thanks to $5 million from the William Penn Foundation, they can continue their work to connect the adjacent neighborhoods -- Queen Village and Pennsport -- with the waterfront, mitigating the decades-old barrier created by I-95 and Columbus Boulevard.

One of the most exciting projects involves the development of Pier 86 at Tasker Street, paired with a streetscape redesign that will improve connection to the water. This development will serve as a companion piece to the ambitious renovation of Pier 53 at Washington Avenue.

According to Pennsporter, there are already preliminary plans for the project. 

"Pier 68...has been deemed structurally solid out to about 350 feet -- meaning more access to the river," explains Pennsporter's James Jennings in a blog post. "Much like Washington Avenue Green, the hope is to design Pier 68 with the ecosystem and wetlands in mind. So, no, it won't be Race St. Pier 2.0. Instead, there have been ideas to use it the way it is currently (albeit illegally) being used -- as a partial fishing station and tug boat dock."

While finalizing its plans over the coming months, DRWC will hold a series of meetings with community and advocacy groups. The work on the southern section of the Delaware should be a terrific compliment to ongoing work at Penn's Landing (where a park is being built over I-95) and the Spring Garden connector project. All these efforts aim to connect Philadelphia's residents with one of the area's most underused and underappreciated assets.

LEE STABERT is managing editor of Flying Kite.
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