Transforming East and West Park

by Michael Burch

This writer feels he could live in no better section of Philadelphia than right here in West Park. Fortunately, many other people in Philadelphia also think highly of and have faith in our area. Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, together with the Fairmount Park Conservancy and PennPraxis have begun a new project in East and West Parkside.

Supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation, PennPraxis will coordinate the study/project. Many resident stakeholders have already been asked to join an advisory committee to help facilitate the study.

English: Smith Memorial Arch, South Concourse ...
English: Smith Memorial Arch, South Concourse & Lansdowne Drive, West Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1898-1912), James H. Windrim, architect. Looking north through south archway. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clearly, some significant changes are needed in our park. Incredibly, we are 21st century residents living in a 19th century park! If changes are to be made, however, those of us who live here should have a say about what specific changes should take place.

The project is focused on improving transportation to and from the park, upgrading amenities within the park itself, updating basic infrastructure, and making key landscaping upgrades. Some of the key goals of the project are:

  1. A Long Term Vision Plan for Public Investment
  2. A Long Term Set of Planning Principles Informed by Public Engagement
  3. A Series of Immediate, Low Cost Early Actions
  4. A Strategic Plan for Implementation, Stewardship, and Coalition Building

This project will also take a much needed look at things like traffic flow, parking, and new walking and biking trails. There is so much to talk about! Public meetings for Parkside residents will be scheduled in the very near future. Please stay alert for future updates.

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