Removing Highways And Stitching Squares

At TEDxPhilly last month, Next American City editor Diana Lind began advocating for the removal of 3 miles of I-95 through Center City. “My rationale for tearing down three miles of I-95 between the Ben Franklin and Walt Whitman bridges,” she writes, “is not just that it’s keeping Philadelphians from the waterfront, but that those 175 acres under the highway are drastically underutilized by the city. I would like to see that land used for economic development–new industry, housing, parks, public transportation, schools, etc.–that contribute to the tax base.”

Lind sees the highway as obsolete infrastructure and one that anyway in need of constant upgrade and investment (as Philadelphia deputy mayor for transportation Rina Cutler revealed in an interview with the Hidden City Daily, I-95 is slated for a $10 billion investment). Read the coverage of Lind’s initiative–and her plan to bring in representatives from San Francisco and other cities where highways have been successfully removed–on her blog HERE.

It may not be removal, but in the coming months PennDOT, which has to tear out and replace all the bridges over the Vine Street Expressway, will begin enclosing the small street-level opening over the expressway, at 20th and Vine, in front of the Central Branch of the Free Library. The Free Library hopes to then assemble enough funding to enclose the larger opening to the south, thereby enlarging the temporarily upgraded Shakespeare Park, and continuing the process of stitching Logan Circle into Logan Square.

Photo: Peter Woodall

About the author

Nathaniel Popkin is co-editor of the Hidden City Daily and author of three books of non-fiction, including the forthcoming Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City (Temple Press) and a novel, Lion and Leopard (The Head and the Hand Press). He is the senior writer of the film documentary "Philadelphia: The Great Experiment."



Leave a Reply

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

Recent Posts
The Vanishing Of Northeast Village

The Vanishing Of Northeast Village

January 16, 2018  |  Vantage

David Coyne traverses bramble and broken blacktop along Roosevelt Boulevard to reveal a military housing community that was evacuated and demolished in the 1960s > more

A Field Guide To Demolition

A Field Guide To Demolition

January 12, 2018  |  Vantage

Peter Woodall spotlights specific building types facing the most development pressure in four high-profile neighborhoods > more

From Prints To Trivets, Art Imitates Life Of Manhole Covers

From Prints To Trivets, Art Imitates Life Of Manhole Covers

January 11, 2018  |  Vantage

Contributor Jonathan Schmalzbach talks with a designer and a printmaker about their obsession with manhole covers and public utility as creative muse > more

Little Corner at 10th & Market Reveals Big Legacy

Little Corner at 10th & Market Reveals Big Legacy

January 8, 2018  |  The Shadow Knows

Reading Terminal, Philadelphia Mint, Drexel Institute--all prominent landmarks built by contractor Charles McCaul. The Shadow uncovers the little-known legacy of the big time builder at a nail salon on 10th Street > more

For The Love Of Carpenter Lane

For The Love Of Carpenter Lane

December 28, 2017  |  Vantage

Tony Aiello takes a stroll down Carpenter Lane in Mt. Airy where an historical timeline can be traced in architecture > more

As Inquirer Building Awaits Police HQ, A Peek Inside

As Inquirer Building Awaits Police HQ, A Peek Inside

December 26, 2017  |  Last Light

Photographer Chandra Lampreich takes a look inside the empty halls of the "Tower of Truth" > more