The Friends of the Rail Park, known until recently as ViaductGreene, have released their plans for converting the underground section of the City Branch Railroad west of the Reading Viaduct into a "submerged park." The plan would cost about $29 million to execute, and call for the reconstruction of the Broad Street Bridge, and the demolition of the annex of the Rotogravure building, at 440 North Broad Street.
Though impressive renderings and comparisons to New York City's High Line park abound, The Rail Park does face significant obstacles. Chief among them is SEPTA's reluctance to let go of the City Branch. The Rail Park plans would mean that SEPTA could not return the City Branch to its original use as a transit hub. A SEPTA planner explained that the City Branch is "a huge asset," and that it would be difficult to replace. The City Planning Commission also advocates returning the City Branch to transit use.
The park would connect with the Community College of Philadelphia campus, and would abut the grounds of the proposed Provence Casino (Mr. Blatstein is one of the friends of the Rail Park.)
Tomorrow night, the Friends of the Rail Park will present their plans at 6pm at the Corzo Center: the presentation is free, and you can RSVP here.
· Plan for City Branch Rail Park Emerges [Hidden City]