The Franklin Institute Shimmers For Passersby


Photo: Tom Gralish, for The Inquirer

Photo: Tom Gralish, for The Inquirer

  • In compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act regulation, the Streets Department has completed the installation of handicapped accessible curb ramps in Society Hill, reports Plan Philly. Since creating an 8.33percent grade slope for the ramps often meant exposing fragile foundations to the elements, the Society Hill Civic Association (SHCA) felt compelled to ensure that the brownstones’ necessary “cheek walls” would not compromise the historic character of the neighborhood. “We fought—we really did—to have more brick and less concrete on the ramps,” says SHCA board member Martha Levine. “We won. It delayed everything, and everyone hated us.” Although the project’s costs ultimately reached $5.7 million, Darin Gatti, the Streets Department’s chief engineer, finds solace that at least they now have a standard by which to guide the (hopefully) easier installation of the ramps throughout the city.
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

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