TTF staff recently attended a public meeting of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) to hear what community members would like to see more of in Philadelphia’s Lower Northeast District. Current revitalization efforts in Northeast Philadelphia are aligned with TTF’s focus on improving Tacony Creek Park.
Ian Litwin, a member of TTF’s board of directors, introduced the project to a group of almost 50 community members, discussing the three main areas the new Lower Northeast District Plan will include: Thrive (housing), Connect (transportation) and Renew (greening and recreation).
The community members split into five small groups and discussed three scenarios, one for each focus area.
In Thrive, the group had to decide whether to focus funds on encouraging existing small businesses in strip malls or on building new “big box” developments. After a discussion, the group decided that the best option was to have a mix of both, with a little more encouragement to small businesses for walkability and a strengthened feeling of community.
In Connect, the focus was on Roosevelt Boulevard. One option was to add a rail line to the Boulevard to expand transit options. The other option was to improve the roadway itself. Group members suggested high-occupancy vehicle lines and rapid bus lanes and were strongly conflicted over the transit line. In the end, the group chose a mix of both options with a lean towards more roadway improvements.
The scenario in Renew was whether to invest in a new Frankford Greenway or to improve existing recreation centers. The PCPC facilitators encouraged members to talk about whether or not they had used rec centers as children and to identify the most important roles for each option. Group members identified rec centers as hubs of culture and community and the Frankford Greenway as an escape right in the city and a regional draw. As with the other scenarios, the group decided a mix of both options would be best.
The drafted plan will be revealed and discussed on August 21 at 1:00 p.m. at 1515 Arch Street, 18th Floor.