Viaduct Talk

Photo: Peter Woodall

A pair of clues to the renewed push to turn the City Branch (owned by SEPTA) and the North Branch (owned by the Reading Co.) into a sky-park (and the underground section of the City Branch into a subterranean pleasure ground):

Paul Levy’s conversion. For years, students in Levy’s University of Pennsylvania course on urban redevelopment have been studying the potential adaptation of the Viaduct into a park. “They always positioned it as a connector, and I always responded, ‘a connector to what?’,” he explained to me. Levy never bought it, and therefore never really thought seriously about the project. After going to New York to walk the High Line, Levy’s position on the Viaduct being a connector didn’t change. Instead, the High Line enabled him to see the Viaduct’s potential as a neighborhood center, a park for the Callowhill warehouse district, and one that would help redefine the place.

Center City District’s strategy. “There are things we just can’t get done,” because they’re impossible to fund or there isn’t the market-basis or the political will, says Levy. The CCD stays away from those projects. “On the other hand, we pursue projects where we can see a distinct path to the end result.” It appears that the Viaduct now belongs in the latter category.

About the author

Nathaniel Popkin is co-founder of the Hidden City Daily and author of three books of non-fiction, including Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City (with Peter Woodall and Joseph E.B. Elliott) and two novels, Everything is Borrowed and Lion and Leopard. He is co-editor of Who Will Speak for America, an anthology forthcoming in June 2018, and the senior writer of the film documentary "Philadelphia: The Great Experiment."



1 Comment


  1. City Branch is Septa owned. The elevated 9th Street Branch (which does head in a North-South direction) is owned by Reading International, corporate decedent of the Reading Company.

    Visit http://www.viaductgreene.org for the connections!

    “The details are details. They make the product. The connections, the connections, the connections. It will in the end be these details that give the product its life.”- Charles Eames.

Trackbacks

  1. Viaduct Talk

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
As Philadelphia Celebrates Its Growth, A Call To Be More Inclusive

As Philadelphia Celebrates Its Growth, A Call To Be More Inclusive

April 19, 2019  |  News

Last week Pew Charitable Trusts released its 2019 State of the City report. The study shows a stark divide between Philadelphia's economic growth and disparity. Kimberly Haas has the details > more

Historic Designation Committee To Consider West Philly District, Institute For Colored Youth, And Churches

Historic Designation Committee To Consider West Philly District, Institute For Colored Youth, And Churches

April 16, 2019  |  News

Starr Herr-Cardillo has the details on local register nominations up for consideration at the April meeting of the Philadelphia Historical Commission's Designation Committee > more

For Callowhill Neighborhood, Whose BIDing Will Be Done?

For Callowhill Neighborhood, Whose BIDing Will Be Done?

April 12, 2019  |  News

Longtime Callowhill residents and real estate developers clash over the creation of a Business Improvement District as the neighborhood begins to transition. Kimberly Haas has the story > more

Public Space Rises From The Stacks At Parkway Central

Public Space Rises From The Stacks At Parkway Central

April 10, 2019  |  News

Michael Bixler has this preview of the three new public spaces opening on Friday at the Free Library of Philadelphia's Parkway Central branch > more

Photo Collection Project Takes A Walk In Ed Bacon's Shoes

Photo Collection Project Takes A Walk In Ed Bacon’s Shoes

April 5, 2019  |  News

Fisher Fine Arts Library at Penn is digitalizing a treasure trove of slides from the personal collection of Philly city planner extraordinaire Edmund Bacon and they need your help. Michael Bixler has the details > more

Riding The Rails With Philly's

Riding The Rails With Philly’s “Little Engine That Could”

April 3, 2019  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. takes us on a field trip to the Franklin Institute where a 181-year-old locomotive has captivated railroad history buffs since 1933 > more