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Philadelphia ready to start on its own High Line project?

reading viaduct philadelphia

A couple of years ago, when we were all a-flutter over the opening of Manhattan’s High Line park, we may have mentioned that other US cities were bouncing around similar plans (though I’m having trouble finding it!).  Even out here in flyover country, the concept of converting Old North St. Louis’ Ironhorse Trestle into an elevated green space is (slowly) taking shape. But Philadelphia may well be the next city to implement such a development: according to The Philadelphia Daily News, “The city is in talks with Reading International Co. to take control of the larger section of the [Reading Viaduct],” and plans are going forward on another section already owned by the city’s transit agency.

No doubt that’s welcome news to Sarah McEneaney and John Struble, who have been advocating for such repurposing of the century-old viaduct since 2003. Inspired by a presentation from Friends of the High Line, the two began their push for “preservation and adaptive reuse” (as opposed to one other option under consideration – demolition) almost immediately afterwards. While the idea of beautifying the historic structure no doubt motivated this painter and furniture maker, they also see multiple practical benefits that could arise from such an undertaking, such as spurring redevelopment and subsequent tax revenue around the new park in North Philadelphia. McEneaney and Struble also see the trestle as metaphorical bridge between “economically and culturally diverse communities.”

New York City definitely deserves the bragging rights of being the first to implement such a project in the United States, and has already moved on to phase two of the High Line project. This is a replicable concept, though, that could provide an exercise and relaxation space for numerous downtrodden city centers, as well as another draw for tourists. And it’s definitely more attractive than what currently exists in so many of these places (as the picture above shows). We’ll have to keep an eye on what develops in Philly.

Know more about the Reading Viaduct project, or other trestle conversions? Share it with us!

via Planetizen

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Image: The Reading Viaduct in Philadelphia’s Chinatown Credit: gsgeorge at Flickr under a Creative Commons license