The Rail Park will be a major test for Philadelphia and its philanthropic community. With similar public space projects being increasingly scrutinized for fueling gentrification in surrounding neighborhoods, the real challenge is not just fundraising enough to build a crown jewel park for the city, but also one that serves the surrounding community without contributing to inequality.
Philadelphia’s Rail Park will bring together diverse communities and serve as a focal point for the city for decades to come.
Center City District is working with the City of Philadelphia and the Friends of the Rail Park to convert the defunct Reading Railroad Line into a linear park that will provide three miles of green space and link ten diverse neighborhoods. Construction of Phase 1 commenced in November 2016 and involves converting a portion of the rail line that was purchased by SEPTA in the 1980s as part of the once proposed Schuylkill Valley Metro Line. Construction on Phase 1 will be complete in January 2018. The project is already fostering new investment and major renovation in the Callowhill neighborhood, and will prompt the redevelopment of several major vacant parcels around the area. Later phases will stretch north on elevated tracks into the East Poplar neighborhood and potentially west below ground toward the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
|Opening||Phase 1: January 2018|
|Design Team||Studio Bryan Hanes, Urban Engineers|
Base landscape services provided by the City of Philadelphia, Department of Parks and Recreation; cleaning and public safety services provided by Center City District, which will extend its boundaries to include Phase 1 of the Rail Park; Friends of the Rail Park will provide some specialized maintenance services and will be responsible for programming and communications
Latest News / Rail Park
Despite a series of delays, the first section of Philadelphia’s highly-anticipated Rail Park will open to the public on June 14th. This phase stretches along a quarter mile of the former Reading Viaduct rail line, from Callowhill to North Broad and Noble Street.
Friends of the Rail Park’s Michael Garden confirmed that a quarter-mile stretch of Philly’s highly-anticipated elevated park will open to the public this spring, despite ongoing construction delays.