PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Jim Kenney joined Council President Darrell Clarke, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell, AIR Communities, and residents to celebrate the opening of Maja Park, a brand new 3.5 acre park located at North 22nd Street and The Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The highlight of the Parkway’s newest green space is the recently restored Gerhard Marcks’ Maja sculpture (pronounced Maya), which was installed by the Association for Public Art (aPA) and will remain under its care.
“Philadelphia is home to one of America’s most beautiful and iconic rights of way,” said Council President Darrell Clarke. “The Parkway’s majesty and appeal is made stronger by each new green space and cultural attraction. Maja Park offers both, while providing residents and visitors a more welcoming and vibrant Parkway experience.”
Maja Park is the most recent Capital improvement project completed on the Parkway. Other recent projects include: LOVE Park; Parkway streetscape improvements; Sister Cities Park; Shakespeare Park, Von Colln Park; Winter Street Park and Playscape, which is currently under construction.
“Designing Maja Park with the sculpture as the focal point follows a long tradition of incorporating public art into good civic design,” said Penny Balkin Bach, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Association for Public Art. “Sculptures can become landmarks and identifiers that create unique, recognizable and shared images and experiences that shape public spaces. Being able to work with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, AIR Communities, Ground Reconsidered, as well as Adam Jenkins Conservation and Atelier Fine Art Services to bring Maja back into public view highlights the importance of partnership and collaboration. We’re grateful to the City for deciding to name the park after Gerhard Marcks’ Maja”.
Reimagining the Ben Franklin Parkway
About the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
New green spaces
- Created the Winter Street Greenway, currently in progress, which includes a new playscape, play equipment, dog run, and site amenities;
- Constructed Maja Park to create additional opportunities for passive recreation through new walkways, seating areas, performance plaza and installation of the iconic Maja sculpture by artist Gerhard Marcks to enliven the previously underutilized Southern side of the Parkway in front of Park Towne Place Residences in partnership with The Association for Public Art (aPA) and AIR Communities;
- Upgraded the playground with a new sprayground and improved the fields and perimeter of Von Colln Field.
New traffic calming measures
- Added soft rumbles, which are raised rumble strips that discourage speeding.
- Improved pavement markings to create more buffered areas that people should not drive, ride, or walk within;
- Added more directional indications like arrows and messaging painted directly onto the road surface;
- Added more conflict pavement markings indicating where one can expect cars and bikes crossing paths;
- Increased the number of pedestrian crosswalks indicating the best locations for pedestrians to navigate around and over the Oval and Circle; and
- Installed flexible delineator posts at key locations which help keep users in their lanes and help to slow excessive speeding and erratic lane changes;
New programs and activations
- Oval+ Pop Up Activations: Six week summer activations at the Eakins Oval attracted over 700,000 visitors in the first seven years (2013 – 2019);
- The 2019 season at The Oval+ featured expanded public amenities and programming along the Parkway’s outer lanes via themed blocks informed by resident feedback and inspired by adjacent cultural institutions. More than 40% of visitors to the seasonal pop up said they wanted to see more family related activities at The Oval and along the Parkway;
- Early 2021, with support from the William Penn Foundation, The Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia, PPR, and OTIS posted a request for proposals seeking qualified professional firms specializing in urban park design and/or landscape architecture and engineering to develop a world class public realm plan to realize permanent improvements to the Parkway.
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of her people through intentional and sustained stewardship of nearly 10,200 acres of public land and waterways as well as through hundreds of safe, stimulating recreation, environmental and cultural centers. PPR promotes the well-being and growth of the city’s residents by connecting them to the natural world around them, to each other and to fun, physical and social opportunities. PPR is responsible for the upkeep of historically significant Philadelphia events and specialty venues, and works collaboratively with communities and organizations in leading capital projects and the introduction of inventive programming. To learn more about Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, visit us at www.phila.gov/parksandrec, and follow @philaparkandrec on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram
AIR Communities is a real estate investment trust focused on the ownership and management of quality apartment communities located in the largest markets in the United States. AIR is one of the country’s largest owners and operators of apartments, with 95 communities in 12 states and the District of Columbia. AIR common shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol AIRC and are included in the S&P 400. For more information about AIR, please visit our website at www.aircommunities.com.
The Association for Public Art (aPA, formerly Fairmount Park Art Association) commissions, preserves, interprets, and promotes public art in Philadelphia. The aPA is the nation’s first private nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a “Museum Without Walls” that informs, engages, and inspires audiences. Established in 1872, aPA integrates public art and urban design through exemplary programs and advocacy efforts that connect people with outdoor sculpture. www.associationforpublicart.org Connect with us @assocpublicart on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.