Spruce Street Harbor Park (SSHP) put Philadelphia on the map internationally this past summer with acolades rolling in regarding the reinvigoration of a waterfront too often forgotten and disconnected from our urban fabric. SSHP made waves not only because of the amount of people it brought in, but because of the quality and variety of programming (arcades, bocce, hammocks, food and drink) but because of the quality of the build outs.
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: