There are 45 recommendations in the Lower North 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. 8 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 65 of the plan and cover a wide range of issues and areas.
Of the 45 recommendations, implementation is in progress for 13.
LNO 1 Invest City resources into viable commercial districts where private development is occurring. (a) replace curbs and sidewalks on Girard Avenue from 25th to 30th streets; (b) Create corridor management programs for Germantown and Lehigh, American Street, Broad and Cecil B Moore, Front and Kensington, and Ridge and Cecil B Moore; (c) Implement a corridor cleaning program and install new sidewalks, curbs and street lights at Germantown and Lehigh.- IN PROGRESS: Corridor managers are in place at Germantown Avenue and Lehigh Avenue and at Broad Street and Cecil B Moore Avenue. Streetscape improvements at Germantown and Lehigh began in June 2015. Streetscape improvements on West Girard Avenue are expected to begin in 2016.
LNO 2 Encourage business development in sections of Strawberry Mansion. (a) Rezone Ridge Avenue between Sedgley Avenue and York Street from RM-1 to CMX-2; (b) Rezone 29th Street between Dauphin and York streets from RM-1 to CMX-2. – COMPLETE: City Council passed a bills 140887, 140888 and 140889 in December 2014 rezoning Strawberry Mansion.
LNO 3 Maintain Industrial or Industrial Commercial Mix zoning on American Street and specific areas to the east and west, from Master Street to Lehigh Avenue. Rezone land that is currently used for activities other than industry, and allow vacant industrially-zoned parcels off of American Street to transition to other uses. (a) Explore a design overlay that would require buildings to address the public realm and may discourage specific uses that are incompatible with residential and industrial development. (b) Before creating an overlay, review current land uses and define existing activity in a way that is agreeable to City staff and neighborhood associations. – IN PROGRESS: The Philadelphia Streets Department will select an engineering firm in 2015 to begin working with City agencies and civic associations on the redesign of the public right-of-way. Construction on streetscape improvements is expected to begin in 2017. The City Planning Commission began discussions with civic associations, City Council and City agencies about a design overlay. In 2015, Planning Commission staff began working with civic associations in South Kensington/Olde Kensington on a neighborhood zoning remapping.
LNO 10 Evaluate the Police District facility at 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue to determine its feasibility for renovation or replacement.- IN PROGRESS: The Police Department has requested funding in the 2016 Capital Budget for a feasibility study for a new station.
LNO 11 Re-certify for blighted conditions and update portions of the North Philadelphia Redevelopment Area Plan . Include a proposed land use density of at least 20 dwelling units per acre. – COMPLETE: The Philadelphia City Planning Commission approved an update the North Philadelphia Redevelopment Area Plan in November 2014 to align it with Philadelphia 2035, the City’s Comprehensive Plan.
LNO 12 Redevelop the Blumberg Apartments into lower scale houses while reintroducing rights-of-way through the former superblock. Include green spaces as place-making elements. – ONGOING: The Philadelphia Housing Authority will begin demolition of the Blumberg towers in late 2015: the senior citizen’s tower will be renovated and reopened. The City transferred public land to the Authority in early 2015 to develop phase one of the replacement housing. The Authority received variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals to construct some of the houses in phase one.
LNO 15 Improve and expand Route 15 trolley service, in conjunction with fleet modernization, through the following enhancement projects : Evaluate the utility of the existing turnaround near Girard College to allow short-turning vehicles for more frequent service on the most-traveled section of the line; Eliminate left turn lanes where feasible to expand the route’s separated right-of-way; Pilot stop consolidations based on ridership and access and make successful pilots permanent; Study options for retaining service on the Frankford Avenue branch while restoring service to Port Richmond, including the procurement of more vehicles or modified scheduling. – IN PROGRESS: SEPTA and DVRPC creating a feasibility playbook for trolley modernization to be completed in 2016.
WATERSHED PARKS TRAILS AND WATERFRONTS
LNO 22 Improve the tree canopy by planting trees in Norris Square, South Kensington, West Kensington and Yorktown. – ONGOING: PCPC staff have discussed tree planting in Yorktown as part of Temple University’s upcoming master plan amendment and landscape plan.
LNO 23 Build a new Martin Luther King, Jr., Older Adult Center at 21st Street and Cecil B Moore Avenue. – IN PROGRESS: The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority completed land assembly for this project and the Stephen Klein Wellness Center in the 2100 block of Cecil B Moore Avenue in 2014. The Wellness Center opened in March 2015. The Department of Parks and Recreation has secured funding for the Senior Center and expects construction to begin in 2015.
LNO 24 Improve public recreation facilities by: (a) Repairing a leaky roof, removing mold, providing ventilation in bathrooms and reinforcing the ceiling in the basement weight room at the Cecil B Moore (a.k.a. Connie Mack) Recreation Center; (b) Installing entrance signs and gateway features at the Waterloo Playground, resurfacing basketball courts, replacing excess concrete with active play space, and condemning additional land adjacent to the center if needed. – IN PROGRESS: The Department of Parks and Recreation has made repairs to the Cecil B Moore Recreation Center. The Community Design Collaborative began a process mid-2015 to redesign Waterloo Playground.
LNO 25 Identify City-owned land on which to install green stormwater infrastructure. – ONGOING: City Planning Commission staff and Water Department staff have met several times to identify land that would be suitable for stormwater infrastructure. The Water Department’s engineers continue to evaluate land for suitability.
LNO 26 Sell surplus abandoned mini-parks when a viable neighborhood steward cannot be found.. – IN PROGRESS: As of May 2015 PhillyLandWorks lists: three unavailable for sale, three sales pending and two sold. 10 were found to be privately owned, while 18 remain in City’s inventory.
LNO 28 Pursue nomination of the following sites to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places: The Pyramid Club (1517 W Girard Avenue); the Legendary Blue Horizon (1314 N. Broad Street); the Church of the GESU (1700 block of Thompson Street); the Teatro Puerto Rico / Diamond Theater (2119 Germantown Avenue); the townhomes at 1416-32 W. Girard Avenue; Berean Presbyterian Church (2101 N Broad Street); F.A. Poth Brewery (31st and Jefferson streets).. – IN PROGRESS: City Planning Commission staff are researching information for nominations of the Teatro Puerto Rico and the F.A. Poth Brewery.