The Chinatown Stitch: Reconnecting Philadelphia to Vine Street is a concept study to identify a design for improving community connections across the Vine Street Expressway. The study is a partnership between the City of Philadelphia Office of Transportation Infrastructure and Sustainability (OTIS) and the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC).
The study will determine the ability to cap the Vine Street Expressway. A “cap” is a bridge, platform or structure built over a limited access highway. Capping creates the potential for uses such as parks, open space, or even commercial and residential development on top of the capped area. The Chinatown Stitch focuses on a study area from Broad Street to 8th Street and Callowhill Street to Race Street.
The concept study will include two distinct phases:
- Phase 1: Seek public input to develop a project vision and establish project goals based on what the community wants to see, identifying preferred locations and types of capping, and prioritizing uses of the capped area.
- Phase 2: Use input from the first phase to develop a series of potential designs for capping locations. The project team will work with the community to identify a preferred design approach that is consistent with the vision and goals established in Phase 1.
Chinatown and the Vine St Expressway
The Vine Street Expressway crosses central Philadelphia just north of Center City, cutting through the Chinatown neighborhood. The freeway carries thousands of cars per day and effectively divides Philadelphia’s Chinatown in two, while the local lanes of Vine Street carry thousands of vehicles at dangerous speeds through the community. Since its proposal in the 1960s, the expressway was greeted with significant community opposition. Upon completion of construction in 1991, its negative impacts continue to intensify the social and economic disconnect between the Chinatown and Chinatown North neighborhoods. The Chinatown Stitch seeks to repair historic harms caused by the highway construction, which resulted in heightened risk of crashes, lack of pedestrian safety, and traffic congestion along Vine Street as well as increased air and noise pollution from the sunken expressway.
The project team is comprised of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability (OTIS), the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) and consultant staff.
In partnership with PCDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the City submitted a grant application to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) Program. As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the RCP program focuses on addressing transportation infrastructure that physically divides communities and act as barriers to social and economic growth. In late February, the City received notice of a $1.8 million grant award to carry the project forward. The City, PennDOT and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, along with other local private funding, will contribute to $2.2 million in matching funds.
In April, the project team will host a public visioning workshop to hear from the community about potential uses and locations for the capped area(s). Additional pop-up events are planned throughout the spring and summer. A schedule will be available on the project website’s calendar of events.
How to get involved?
Complete the survey! The project team is committed to hearing from the public and the community. This feedback will directly influence the proposed designs developed in the concept study.
The survey is also available in:
To learn more about the Chinatown Stitch visit the project page where you can access a calendar of events and fill out a survey to provide your input. If you have questions, please leave us a comment or sign up for email updates here. If you represent a civic organization and would like to request a presentation from the project team at your next meeting, please email us at OTIS@Phila.gov.