City officials released plans for two redevelopment districts this week, outlining plans for neighborhoods in South and West Philadelphia.
“These first two district plans exemplify my vision for the rebirth of planning in Philadelphia and engagement with neighborhood residents,” said Mayor Michael Nutter, who along with several other officials, unveiled plans for lower South Philadelphia and the area of West Philadelphia that adjoins west Fairmount Park.
They have been dubbed the Lower South District and the West Park District.
Plans include recommendations for future land use, and an analysis of municipal facilities. Development scenarios for sites in each district are illustrated in urban design plans and renderings.
The Lower South district includes the Navy Yard, stadium complex, Sunoco refinery and neighborhoods south of Packer Avenue. The draft plan calls for improved highway and transit access, housing for seniors and families, and more accessible parks and access to the riverfronts. The port will add roads and shipping facilities to support job creation and retention.
The West Park District includes West Fairmount Park and the neighborhoods that adjoin it along City Avenue. Recommendations included in the draft plan call for new mixed-use developments on 52nd Street, Lancaster Avenue and Parkside Avenue. Planning officials said that would allow Fairmount Park and nearby communities grow in a coordinated and well-planned manner. Neighborhood playgrounds will be upgraded at locations most accessible to local residents, while City Avenue will develop into a more urban and pedestrian-friendly corridor at the city’s edge.
“The district plans have a key role … in guiding future investment in our neighborhoods and business districts,” said Alan Greenberger, deputy mayor for economic development. “Amazing things can happen as a result of good planning supported by citizens who truly care about the future of the city.”
Both draft plans are posted online, and the city will accept comment on them until March 1. Final adoption of the plans is expected on March 20.
Draft plans have been drawn up with community input, Nutter said, noting that three community meetings were held in each district.
“Community leaders in West Park and Lower South should feel empowered by the way they were involved and listened to during the preparation of these plans,” he said.
Ultimately, officials plan to eventually break the city into 18 districts.
The new development districts are part of a larger vision for the city called Philadelphia 2035, summed up in city literature as a “blueprint for a 21st-century city that thrives with new growth and opportunities, connects to the region and the world, and renews its valued resources for future generations.”
Development of the comprehensive plan is part of an even larger development plan that includes adoption of a new zoning code, which was approved by City Council in December and the creation of the Citizens Planning Institute, which is intended to help Philadelphians better understand city planning and have a greater voice in development.