The Redevelopment Plan for the Central Delaware River Waterfront commissioned and administered by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) and adopted by the City of Philadelphia in 2012, identified key ‘connector’ streets that provide access to the river, recommended to be ‘improved’ with new sidewalks and public art to encourage the public to walk down to the River and experience and participate in its renaissance. Spring Garden Street was identified as a key connector linking the burgeoning Northern Liberties neighborhood to the river. The obstacle to overcome was the dreary and foreboding 190 foot long pedestrian passageway under I95 where it crossed over Spring Garden Street. The project employs architectural lighting and streetscape improvements to transform the historically ‘scary’ space underneath I-95, which is also an important inter-modal transportation connection point between the SEPTA commuter rail Spring Garden stop, three municipal bus lines that pick-up/drop-off passengers along the sidewalks under the highway, and one of the City’s busiest bike-share stations. Despite the presence of the transit station, the dark 190 foot long underpass has for years discouraged pedestrians from venturing on foot from upland neighborhoods to the fast redeveloping waterfront just three short blocks away, which today boasts new residences, restaurants, parks and trails. This project overcomes the stigma attached to this otherwise repellant place by improving the experiential quality of the space, particularly in low-light conditions.


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