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Philly's Difficult Relationship with its Arterials Continue

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In February, the five-year plan to replace the seven bridges over Vine Street Expressway will get under way, with the aim to rehabilitate the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in time for its 100 year anniversary in 2017. The plan includes realigning Winter Street to make the junction more pedestrian-friendly, adding park benches, green spaces, and actually making the bridges — which are literally falling apart — safe to use. But disappointingly, considering the city's history of not giving two hoots about how a huge highway may impact the neighborhoods surrounding it, there are no plans to cap Vine Street, even though the hole's already dug.

"It would be awesome if this could be covered over instead of being a chasm through the city," said Kyle McShane, creator of a Cap 676 page on Facebook. "You could put parks or cafés or bike trails or better storm-water management there." But, with the exception of the 5,625-square-foot wedge between 20th Street and Shakespeare Park in front of the library, which will be capped and landscaped, Vine Street will still muddy up our satellite view of Center City. Apparently, a cap was under consideration very early on in the project, but Charles H. Davies, the assistant district executive for design at PennDot's Southeastern Region, asserts that to actually pull it off would have been too disruptive and costly. And pretty.
· Plans beyond just replacing seven Vine Street bridges [Philly.com]
· I-676 Bridge Improvements [Curbed Philly]
· PennDOT v. the Waterfront [Curbed Philly]
- Megan Ritchie Jooste