Either side of this path is hemmed in with large fencing.

A freeway that once hacked through downtown like a meat cleaver now holds 300 trees and a dog park. A future vision of Philadelphia, perhaps, but this already happened in a place hardly known for progressive urbanism: Dallas.

Earth to Planet PennDOT: We're actually trying to fix the waterfront

My Instagram feed tells me last night's opening party for the new Spruce Street Harbor Park pop-up was a great time, and I'm looking forward to checking it out this evening. This type of thing is exactly what people increasingly want out of Philadelphia's waterfront, and the Delaware Waterfront Corporation has been working incredibly hard to give it to them, with well-designed parks like the Race Street Pier, and the beautiful forthcoming Pier 68 redesign.

It's an important issue for Philadelphia's competitiveness. Our peer cities are moving aggressively to deliver these kinds of amenities to their current and prospective residents. A walkable, bikeable waterfront with lots of nice park amenities and shopping is fast becoming par for the course in modern cities. Millennials - who will be dominating the location market in the near future - expect a livable waterfront when considering their location choices. Spruce Street Harbor Parks are the future; industrial uses and highways are the past.

Unfortunately, the news has yet to reach Planet PennDOT, where there's still a ridiculous plan in the works to widen I-95 by 60 feet in the Central Delaware area near Spruce, Race, and Washington - right in the area where the city's been fighting an uphill battle to reconnect the waterfront to the urban street grid:


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