It’s been a long journey for Philly’s first elevated Rail Park, but the end—or at least, the beginning of the end—is finally in sight.
A ribbon cutting ceremony is being held at 11 a.m. on June 14 for the first phase of the Rail Park. That phase stretches (for now) for a quarter mile, from Callowhill between 12th and 11th, to the intersection of North Broad and Noble Street. Visitors can attend the ceremony via the North Broad and Noble entrance, just beyond 401 North Broad.
This is a monumental event for the Center City District (CCD) and Friends of the Rail Park, who have been jointly working on the project for years. They broke ground on the first phase of the park in October, 2016, and hope to eventually see the park stretch up past the Parkway to Girard and 31st, following the trail of the abandoned Reading Viaduct rail line.
But along the way, they’ve run into some problems. Most notably—and most recently—was the structural integrity of the 130-year-old 13th Street bridge, which was going to serve as the main pedestrian entrance to the park. Construction crews found that the bridge was structurally deficient and the CCD had to push the opening of the park back from February to June. Last month, they announced that they planned to add some support beams to the structure, rather than tear it down and rebuild. It’s unclear whether that project has been finished yet.
In a statement published on the CCD’s website in early may, they announced that progress was being made on the park, saying they poured the new surface of the Noble Street section, and were planting trees along the pathway. They also said they’d installed benches and boardwalk platforms along the edge of the park.