There are 70 recommendations in the Central District Plan. The recommendations are organized into the three forward-looking themes: THRIVE, CONNECT, and RENEW. These themes reflect the goals and strategies of the Citywide Vision. 14 recommendations have been identified as “Priority Recommendations.”
A number of factors including previous master plans or feasibility studies, strong public support, and availability of resources determined which recommendations were prioritized. Priority recommendations are found on page 91 of the plan and cover a wide range of issues and areas.
Of the 70 recommendations, implementation is in progress for 34.
The Central District Plan includes 24 THRIVE recommendations. Eight of these are in progress, ongoing, or complete, including:
MUNICIPAL AND COMMUNITY SERVING FACILITIES
CTR 5: Expand facilities for the Free Library. IN PROGRESS The Free Library has launched the 21st Century Libraries Initiative which includes renovations at the Central Library, plus the renovation and expansion of five neighborhood branches in South Philadelphia, central North Philadelphia, Logan, Tacony, and Mount Airy.
The renovations will establish a new flow through the current beaux-arts building on the Parkway to eventually link it with an annex to be built to the North of the current building. For more information, see: http://www.21stcenturylibraries.org/
CTR 6: Consolidate city operations out of leased space in private buildings into city-owned properties like the Triplex and the future 4601 Market Street complex. IN PROGRESS The City of Philadelphia with the Department of Public Property, Philadelphia Police Department, and Philadelphia Department of Public Health is transforming 4601 Market Street into the Public Safety Services Campus. Critical city functions such as Police Administration, Public Health Laboratories, Medical Examiner’s Office and Morgue will be part of the campus adjacent to the new Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center. Click here to follow progress on this multi-year project.
CTR 8: Reinforce West Callowhill Street and Pennsylvania Avenue as complete commercial corridors by implementing CMX zoning on adjacent vacant parcels and underutilized sites. IN PROGRESS PCPC is working with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) on a comprehensive zoning remapping ordinance for the area between Broad Street, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and Spring Garden Street. Community meetings are expected to be held in the fall of 2015.
CTR 9 / 20: Strengthen South Broad Street as the Avenue of the Arts by conveying public land for development, diversifying programming, and revitalizing streetscape. / Increase residential population on the Avenue of the Arts (North and South) through new zoning and RFP guidelines for city-owned sites such as Broad and Lombard and Broad and Washington: IN PROGRESS South Broad Street was resurfaced by PennDOT in July 2015 as part of a $13.4 million, 24 mile resurfacing project of state routes running through Philadelphia.
Construction will begin in fall 2015 on the SLS LUX Philadelphia Hotel and Residences at 301 S. Broad Street. Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, SLS LUX Philadelphia will be the tallest residentially-focused building in Pennsylvania containing 150 hotel rooms and 125 luxury condominiums.
More redevelopment projects along South Broad Street, including Broad and Washington, are expected to be announced soon.
CTR 11: Focus Market East and West as locations for large-format retailers currently missing from Center City’s retail mix. IN PROGRESS In fall 2014, Century 21 opened a 100,000 square foot store at 8th and Market Streets – the first outside the New York metropolitan area.
The City of Philadelphia and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are investing $148.5 million and Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust and Macerich Co. are investing $325 million in the complete transformation of the Gallery at Market East into the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia. Construction is set to begin in fall 2015 and take two years to complete. Renderings of the project can be seen here.
The first Phase of the East Market redevelopment project is currently under construction on the 1100 block of Market Street, across from the Market Street entrance to the Pennsylvania Convention Center. East Market Phase I, which includes the 1100 Market Street and 34 S. 11th Street, is currently under construction. The Market Street project will comprise of a 596,000 square-foot, mixed-use project including retail, 322 rental apartments, and below grade parking and loading. The 34 S. 11th Street building will consist of approximately 160,000 square feet of modern, Class A warehouse office space and 25,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, of which 14,000 square feet has been leased to MOM’s Organic Market. Renderings of the project can be seen here.
CTR 12: Up-zone West Market Street to CMX-5 to encourage large-scale, mixed use development. IN PROGRESS PCPC is working with the Center City Residents Association (CCRA) on a comprehensive zoning remapping ordinance for the area bounded by Broad Street, Market Street, the Schuylkill River, and South Street. Development pressure on West Market Street may spur rezoning of this area ahead of the comprehensive zoning remapping.
CTR 17: Promote IRMX and ICMX at locations on historically industrial corridors to foster industrial uses that are compatible with surrounding commercial and residential areas. IN PROGRESS PCPC worked with the Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association (NLNA) and City Council to remap the Northern Liberties Neighborhood. Together, zoning Bills 130727, 140149, and 140444 rezoned 76 acres. ICMX and IRMX where mapped where appropriate.
PCPC is actively perusing zoning remapping that includes ICMX and IRMX in Callowhill / Chinatown North and along Washington Avenue, west of Broad Street.
In spring 2015, PCPC staff worked with City Council on Bill No. 150168 in order to amend the zoning code to strengthen controls in the IRMX Industrial Residential Mixed-Use district to encourage the inclusion of industrial spaces in new mixed-use developments. IRMX now has provisions which control building mass on narrow streets, reduce required parking, and mandate the inclusion of non-residential uses in new developments.
The Central District Plan includes 23 CONNECT recommendations. 14 of these are in progress, ongoing, or complete, including:
CTR 25: Create a Cultural Corridor transit service, such as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), that connects Center City to the Centennial District, utilizing the City Branch rail cut. IN PROGRESS The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission is authoring the “City Branch Transit Feasibility Study” for SEPTA and the City of Philadelphia to study future usage of the City Branch rail cut. This report is still in draft form and should be released in the fall of 2015.
CTR 26: Reorganize and expand bus routes within the Metropolitan Center to connect Center City residential growth areas, new Center City employment centers, and University City employment centers. IN PROGRESS The Route 23 bus will be split into two bus routes: a northern route (still known as Route 23) running from Chestnut Hill along Germantown Avenue and 12th Street into Center City, before turning around at Chestnut Street and heading back up along 11th; and a southern route (Route 45) travelling along 11th and 12th Streets from Oregon Avenue in South Philly and Noble Street, a small, underused street between Callowhill and Spring Garden. The 23 is SEPTA’s busiest bus, carrying 22,800 daily weekday passengers.
Waterfront access will also be improved, with changes to both the Route 12 and Route 40 buses. Route 12 will be extended over I-95 and Columbus Boulevard to drop passengers off right in front of Spruce Street Harbor Park and the Hyatt Hotel. Route 40 will be extended to Front Street, where riders would alight and then walk over the South Street Pedestrian Bridge to access the waterfront.
These changes will be implemented in fall 2015 or later. More information can be found here.
CTR 28 / 29: Upgrade physical appearance of 19th and 22nd Street trolley station entrances to attract riders / Install real-time and route information kiosks to improve user experience at transit stations and bus shelters. IN PROGRESS A pilot project at 19th & Market Street will provide real time information for trolleys going to University City and West Philadelphia. Installation is expected in the fall of 2015.
The upcoming roll out of SEPTA’s new payment system, SEPTA Key will enable the transit agency to more accurately provide real time transit info via its mobile app.
CTR 30: Rehabilitate City Hall / 15th Street Subway stations. IN PROGRESS Beginning in winter 2016, SEPTA will reconstruct the City Hall and 15th Street SEPTA Stations where the Broad Street and Market-Frankford El lines cross. Work includes complete station reconstruction and ADA accessibility improvements. Construction is expected to take four years and cost $122 million. Project information can be found here: http://septa.org/rebuilding/station/city-15th.html
CTR 32: Activate concourse areas: Expand wayfinding system for entire concourse network; determine feasibility and cost of running utilities to support concourse development; reopen concourse connections into buildings along South Broad Street; work with major property owners to create incentives to activate storefronts along concourse network; investigate extending a concourse connection to 19th Street trolley stop. IN PROGRESS
Wayfinding: Information about the concourse wayfinding system, by the Center City District, can be found here.
Concourse Improvements: A new 30-year agreement between SEPTA and the City went into effect on July 1 2014. This agreement places the entire concourse under SEPTA’s jurisdiction, regardless of previous ownership. SEPTA will complete $53.5 million in renovations to the concourses. SEPTA will replace two escalators at 15th Street and also take responsibility for cleaning the city-owned portions of the concourses, saving the city $1 million a year. More information can be found here.
CTR 33: Extend Center City District (CCD) lollipop signage program to entirety of district. ON GOING Center City District (CCD) maintains transit portal signage within their boundaries. The system was extended with the completion of the new Dilworth Park in 2015. Plans to extend the way finding system beyond their boundaries are ongoing. More information can be found here.
CTR 35: Implement a new transit line along Delaware Avenue. IN PROGRESS SEPTA and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) have proposed further study for this proposal in coordination with SEPTA’s proposed trolley modernization program.
CTR 36: Implement a bikeshare program. COMPLETE Launched in April 2015, Indego Bikeshare is a system of 600 bikes in 60 stations in and around Center City. Indego is expected to expand to 180 stations and 1,800 bikes in the coming years. The first major expansion of the system is planned for spring 2016. In the first two months of operation, Indego recorded over 100,000 rides. Information about pricing, memberships, and dock locations can be found at www.rideindego.com.
CTR 37: Expand the bike network as laid out in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan: Install separate bikeways on West Market Street and JFK Blvd that connect with City Hall; Expand north/south bicycle connections. ON GOING An up to date map of all bike facilities can be found here.
CTR 39: Improve pedestrian and/or bicycle connections with wayfinding, pavement markings, streetscaping: ON GOING
CTR 40: Remove travel lanes to accommodate pedestrians and bicycles, prioritizing: Race Street between 5th and 8th Streets; Market Street between 15th Street and 20th Street; JFK Boulevard between 15th Street and the Schuylkill River; north and west sides of City Hall; Pennsylvania Avenue; North 5th Street above Callowhill Street. IN PROGRESS
Race Street between 5th and 8th Streets: The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) is authoring “Renewing Race Street: A Mobility Analysis” for the City of Philadelphia. The study will explore options for narrowing Race Street between 6th and 8th Streets. This report is still in draft form and should be released in the fall of 2015.
North and West Sides of City Hall: Curb bump outs were included in the redesign and reconstruction of Dilworth Park on the West side of City Hall.
CTR 42: Install pedestrian plazas and walkways highlighting the history of the public space: Southern block of Headhouse Square; Grays Ferry Avenue at South Street; Bainbridge Street between 3rd and 5th Streets; Christian Street at Moyamensing; Canal Street on the Central Delaware Waterfront. IN PROGRESS
Southern block of Headhouse Square: Concept plans for the renovation of the southern block of Headhouse Square can be seen here.
Grays Ferry Avenue at South Street: The triangle where Grays Ferry Avenue meets South Street has been transformed into a pedestrian plaza. More information can be found here.
Bainbridge Street between 3rd and 5th Streets: Information about the proposed Bainbridge Green can be found here.
STREETS AND HIGHWAYS
CTR 47: Remove on-street parking spaces at select corners to increase pedestrian space and accommodate bike corrals. IN PROGRESS Applications for on-street bike corrals can be found here.
Examples of on-street bike corrals can be found on the 200 block of South Sydenham Street and at the corner of 20th and Sansom Streets.
The Central District Plan includes 23 RENEW recommendations. 11 of these are in progress, ongoing, or complete, including:
WATERSHED PARKS AND TRAILS
CTR 48: Complete the Schuylkill River Trail from South Street to the Grays Ferry Crescent, and the Delaware River Trail from Penn Street to Washington Avenue. ON GOING The Schuylkill River Development Corporation (SRDC) manages construction and maintenance of Schuylkill Banks. Information about the trail and future expansions can be found here.
CTR 49: Construct well-designed connector streets between the neighborhoods and the Delaware River as a part of the I-95 reconstruction. IN PROGRESS
Spring Garden Street Connector: As one of the city’s primary connector streets and public transit hubs, Spring Garden Street will be undergoing a transformation from 2nd Street to the Waterfront. This includes new streetscaping, sidewalks, and perhaps most importantly, a beautifully lit underpass. Currently, the streetscape portion is underway, including new sidewalks, street trees, decorative pavers, and curb bump outs for pedestrian safety. The fabrication of the artistic metal lighted screens that will be installed underneath I-95 is happening simultaneously, so that it can be installed after the streetscape work is complete. The project is on track to be completed in the fall of 2015.
Spruce and Callowhill Street Improvements: Construction is underway to transform one-way streets into two-way streets on the waterfront to allow for easier access to Old City and Society Hill. Spruce Street will become two-way between Columbus Boulevard and Dock Street (also called 38th Parallel Place). Callowhill Street will become two-way between Columbus Boulevard and 2nd Street. Crews are currently working at both intersections to create left turn lanes from Columbus Boulevard onto both streets.
Information on all Waterfront construction can be found here.
NEIGHBORHOOD PARKS AND RECREATION
CTR 51: Upgrade distressed park and recreation facilities: Rehabilitate Cianfrani Park with new sidewalks, benches and storm water management infrastructure; Upgrade LOVE Park after rehabilitation of underground garage, including the renovation of the Visitor’s Center. IN PROGRESS
Cianfrani Park: Construction will begin on improvements to Cianfrani Park in October 2015.
LOVE Park: Construction will begin in spring 2016 on the new LOVE Park. Plans can be seen here.
CTR 53: Rehabilitate the elevated portion of the Reading Viaduct into a neighborhood park. IN PROGRESS Mayor Nutter signed Property Bill No. 150415 into law on June 4, 2015, authorizing the City to acquire a 0.8 acre portion of the elevated rail line known as the Reading Viaduct. The Center City District (CCD) will manage construction and is raising money to complete the planned improvements for the first phase of the project. Construction is expected to start this fall. After the improvements are completed, the city will take over ownership of the park.
Renderings of the park, designed by Studio Bryan Hanes, can be seen here.
TREE COVER AND STORMWATER MANAGEMENT
CTR 54: Improve school yards at McCall, Bache-Martin, Nebinger, and Laura Waring Schools with greening and programming to create recreation and storm water management amenities. IN PROGRESS
The Community Design Collaborative’s conceptual plan for Bache-Martin is here.
The Community Design Collaborative’s conceptual plan for McCall is here.
The Nebinger School storm water management project is complete. Details here.
CTR 57: Beautify streets that cross I-676 and I-95. IN PROGRESS
I-676: PennDOT is replacing and improving 7 bridges over the Vine Street Expressway. Construction is underway and will take approximately 4 years. Complete project information can be found at www.bridgesover676.com.
I-95: IPennDOT is working on a long-term, multi-phase initiative to rebuild and improve I-95 in Pennsylvania. Five major projects to reconstruct the interstate between the Interstate 676 and Cottman Avenue interchanges in Philadelphia are now in various stages of design or construction, including active construction projects at the Girard Avenue and Cottman Avenue interchanges. Complete project information can be found at www.95revive.com.
CTR 58: Create stormwater management parks and open space in the former Callowhill Industrial District to help manage the area’s stormwater and incentivize development. IN PROGRESS The area between Old City and Northern Liberties is dominated by underutilized, low rise buildings and surface parking lots on long, pedestrian hostile blocks with no public green space. The current I-2 Medium Industrial zoning for this area is obsolete and is not consistent with current or anticipated future land uses. In 2013, PCPC adopted the Callowhill Chinatown North Strategic Plan and the Philadelphia2035 Central District Plan which envisioned continuous, pedestrian-scaled mixed-use urban development on smaller blocks with a series of open spaces along Willow Street designed to manage stormwater runoff.
In order to encourage redevelopment that fits this vision, PCPC is proposing legislation to rezone the area between Spring Garden Street, Callowhill Street, 2nd Street, and 6th Street to allow for mixed-use development by-right and guide physical development through a new zoning overlay. The zoning overlay provisions of the East Callowhill Overlay (/ECO) utilize a system of bonuses in exchange for increased building heights. In addition to bonuses for green buildings, mixed-income housing, public art, public space, and retail space, two new bonus categories are created specifically for the East Callowhill area: stormwater open space and through block connections. Through block connections along the former Noble Street right-of-way will break down long blocks to make redevelopment easier and walking more comfortable. Stormwater open spaces along Willow Street will provide publicly accessible open space that also manages storm water. In addition, provisions of /ECO discourage single-use, auto-oriented development, limit curb cuts, and encourage structured parking. PCPC staff is already working with private developers to design thoughtful redevelopment projects that fulfill this vision.
CULTURAL, HISTORICAL, AND ARCHITECTURAL RESOURCES
CTR 59: Invest in and rehabilitate City Hall to a level that is commensurate with its National Historic Landmark status. IN PROGRESS
Portal Gates: New, historically accurate portal gates will be installed in the fall of 2015.
North Apron: Construction is in progress to upgrade the north apron of City Hall. Work should be complete in the fall of 2015.
Dilworth Park: The complete redesign and reconstruction of Dilworth Park was completed in 2015.
CTR 61: Identify and designate historic resources in key areas to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. ON GOING An up to date listing of all properties on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places can be found here.
DEVELOPMENT PATTERNS AND URBAN DESIGN
CTR 69: Extend existing streets to reinstate grid connections. IN PROGRESS In the Central Delaware, developers can get density bonuses for reinstating street grid connections. In addition, PCPC is proposing legislation to rezone the area between Spring Garden Street, Callowhill Street, 2nd Street, and 6th Street to allow for mixed-use development by-right and guide physical development through a new zoning overlay. The zoning overlay provisions of the East Callowhill Overlay (/ECO) utilize a system of bonuses in exchange for increased building heights. Bonuses will be given for ‘through block connections’ along the former Noble Street right-of-way will break down long blocks to make redevelopment easier and walking more comfortable
CTR 70: Improve pedestrian connectivity around Franklin Square. IN PROGRESS The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) is authoring “Renewing Race Street: A Mobility Analysis” for the City of Philadelphia. The study will explore options for narrowing Race Street between 6th and 8th Streets. This report is still in draft form and should be released in the fall of 2015.