Last week the Philadelphia blogosphere erupted when news of a potential development at 17th and Chancellor was announced. Though the current site is an undermaintained parking garage with a façade of retail, loss of Little Pete's, a little gem with an interior from a bygone era, seemed to underscore a deeper sentiment that Philly is losing its character.
Recently, Nathaniel Popkin over at Hidden City published some beautiful old renderings of potential Philadelphia subway lines that were never built. Part of what makes city planning so engaging is the dreaming aspect of the profession... the what will be, not just the what is today.
Nathaniel proposed a question. What are your future subway lines? I hope Nathaniel will give me some dispensation in my response. Since some of our Philadelphia trolleys go subterranean for portions of their routes I figured staying on the rail theme would be OK. My lines are a dream of looped rails circling center city and connecting with existing rail. My Dream Loop would connect various plans made over the years to reconnect the city to the Delaware. It would also solve a problem as yet unsolved... making Center City the nexus for short distance rail, not just longer distance regional rail. It would also more effectively landmark our public transportation than an invisible bus line using existing landmarks.
Here in America Philadelphia has an enviable public transit foundation to build from with multiple systems to build from and a modern transit pass system online by next year. Can we connect it all together a little better?