U.S. DOT “Every Place Counts” Report features Philadelphia’s Vine Street Expressway
(Philadelphia, December 20, 2016) – Philadelphia’s efforts to improve the Vine Street Expressway – and the neighborhoods that surround it – are highlighted in a report issued today by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx released the “Ladders of Opportunity Every Place Counts Design Challenge” summary report. The report highlights the findings of two-day design sessions in held earlier this year in Philadelphia, as well as Spokane, WA; Ramsey County/Hennepin County, MN, and Nashville, TN.
According to Foxx, the purpose of the challenge was to “raise awareness about existing transportation infrastructure barriers and identify innovative solutions to reconnect communities to jobs, healthcare, education, and other essential services.”
Philadelphia’s involvement in the effort began in the spring of this year, when the Managing Director’s Office of Transportation & Infrastructure (oTIS) and the Streets Department submitted an application to “Reimagine Vine Street.” In July, a team of U.S. DOT representatives and technical experts convened City officials, urban planners, designers, and local stakeholders for two days of discussion. Participants reviewed design concepts and policy recommendations that could help knit divided communities back together across the expressway.
The talks led to a plan to re-imagine the Vine Street corridor in a way that will improve neighborhood connections, create equitable mixed-use develop opportunities, and inclusive mobility options. One priority is roadway treatments and policy strategies that would enhance safe connections and mobility for all. The City and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission have committed to jointly study how travel lanes on Vine Street local, east of Broad Street, can be reconfigured to calm traffic and allow for safer pedestrian crossings.
“I’m excited by the vision the community created by this effort,” said Mayor Kenney. “I’m confident the energy I saw in that room can help turn the recommendations of this report into reality. This is a huge start to an important initiative, and we thank Secretary Foxx for his support.”
The report also identified two other priority areas, such as incorporating green infrastructure, open space, and landscape, and supporting community growth and new investment for equitable and inclusive opportunities. A key local stakeholder, the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC), is interested in exploring these priorities as part of a new neighborhood planning effort.
Executive Director John Chin supports the effort, “PCDC is encouraged that Philadelphia was one of four cities across the country to lead a conversation about reconnecting communities separated by highways, and we appreciate regional efforts to support this goal. Since the charrette, PCDC has started the process of a new neighborhood plan, with Vine Street identified as a major focus.”
The Design Challenge also ignited an important dialogue between the City and partner agencies. “We look forward to working with the City of Philadelphia, DVPRC, and the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation on recommendations from the “Every Place Counts”design session that will make the neighborhoods near the Vine Street corridor better for its residents,” said PennDOT Assistant District Executive for Design, Chuck Davies.
The full Summary Report can be found here.