Contextualizing 60th Street


Police investigate a fatal shooting at 53rd and Market streets in February 2014." | Photo: Joseph Kaczmarek, for the Daily News

Police investigate a fatal shooting at 53rd and Market streets in February 2014.” | Photo: Joseph Kaczmarek, Daily News

  • David Gambacorta of the Daily News sketches “60th Street’s Struggle,” just one week after attempted cop killer Edward Archer focused the world’s gaze—if only for a second or two—on the once thriving commercial corridor’s intersection with Spruce Street. The resulting focus on the the assailant’s alleged religious motivation underscores our collective concern for global terrorism, but not the entrenched urban poverty and crime in West Philadelphia. Yet, as residents and developers can attest, things are getting better. Just this past spring, West Philadelphia Real Estate delivered 21 new commercial properties and 60 affordable residential properties to the corridor, from Market to Catharine Streets.
  • Inga Saffron spotlights Roxborough’s two Neighborhood Conservation Overlays as possible options in the struggle against the “suburbanizing tide” of stucco and front-loaded garages that are besmirching neighborhoods across the city, particularly blocks in Roxborough with singular charms that have provided much the reason for their reanimation in the first place. “We can’t fight density,” explains Sandy Sorlien, who helped in drafting the overlays’ language. “We can’t dictate design standards. But we realized that we can manage the form of these houses so they fit into the neighborhood better.”
  • Alan Jaffe recounts one recent case of reasonable NIMBYism in the Northwest: the zoning board’s rejection late last month of the variances needed to develop 3811 Main Street (at which now remains the stone carriage house of the Richard Hey Mansion) into 65 apartments, whose five-story section would more than double the height limit permissible under its current industrial/commercial zoning. “We don’t have any problem with them doing something there,” says Wissahickon Neighbors Civic Association president Dave Wilby. But with that degree of shortsighted density and height, “we have felt that the aesthetic of the neighborhood would be changed, and we fear our property values would go down.”
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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