City planners share vision for Lower Northeast

Pic­ture the Frank­ford Creek be­ing used for re­cre­ation. That’s just one of the changes city plan­ners have out­lined for the Lower North­east.

In­cluded in the plan­ners’ vis­ion are sol­ar pan­els on the Frank­ford Trans­port­a­tion Cen­ter and its park­ing gar­age as well as im­prove­ments, more park­ing and in­vest­ments to the Frank­ford Av­en­ue and Castor Av­en­ue busi­ness cor­ridors.

Plan­ners have pitched these ideas, which they hope will de­vel­op in the next 20 years or so, in three pub­lic meet­ings over the past sev­er­al months. The last of those ses­sions was con­duc­ted last week at the Globe Dye Works on Worth Street in Frank­ford.

Dur­ing that Aug. 7 meet­ing, 14 staffers from the City Plan­ning Com­mis­sion ex­plained the long-range plans for the Lower North­east — Frank­ford, North­wood, Sum­mer­dale, Ox­ford Circle, Castor Gar­dens and Lawndale/Cres­centville.

Sev­enty-six people turned out for the ses­sion, said com­munity plan­ner Ian Litwin.

“We haven’t re­viewed all of the feed­back yet,” Litwin stated in an e-mail to the North­east Times on Aug. 8, “but it seems that the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of the feed­back was pos­it­ive.”

Among the ideas for Frank­ford:

• Ex­tend Wom­rath Park, which sits at the in­ter­sec­tion of Frank­ford and Kens­ing­ton av­en­ues, to the Frank­ford Creek by join­ing ad­ja­cent un­der­used prop­erty. Right now, a wa­ter garden is be­ing con­struc­ted in Wom­rath Park. Mur­als are planned for sev­er­al sites in the im­me­di­ate area.

• Trans­form Church Street in­to a ped­es­tri­an cor­ridor by mak­ing streets­cape im­prove­ments, cre­at­ing corner pock­et parks and pro­mot­ing re­devel­op­ment.

• Im­prove the Frank­ford Av­en­ue streets­cape and re­duce bus cir­cu­la­tion in front of the Frank­ford Trans­port­a­tion Cen­ter.

For Castor Av­en­ue:

• More com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment, helped by sig­nage stand­ards, street trees and bet­ter light­ing to height­en aware­ness of ex­ist­ing in­ter­na­tion­al res­taur­ants.

• More mixed-use hous­ing.

Throughout the Lower North­east:

• Rezone por­tions of Ox­ford Circle and Lawndale/Cres­centville to re­duce con­ver­sions to mul­ti­fam­ily hous­ing.

• More en­force­ment of rent­al li­cense vi­ol­a­tions and more check­ing on il­leg­al con­ver­sions of single-fam­ily prop­er­ties to mul­ti­fam­ily dwell­ings.

• Con­sider in­creas­ing trans­it op­tions along the Roosevelt Boulevard.

• Re­align the in­ter­sec­tion of Ox­ford and Frank­ford av­en­ues to sim­pli­fy ped­es­tri­an and vehicle cir­cu­la­tion. Right now, it’s not leg­al to make a left onto Ox­ford from north­bound Frank­ford Av­en­ue.

• Cre­ate a gre­en­way along both sides of the Frank­ford Creek from Castor Av­en­ue to Tor­res­dale Av­en­ue that in­cludes a re­cre­ation­al trail.

Litwin said the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion will fi­nal­ize its Phil­adelphia 2035 plan for the Lower North­east this month. City le­gis­la­tion will be needed to im­ple­ment parts of the plan, and that would re­quire bills be­ing in­tro­duced by City Coun­cil mem­bers. The Lower North­east has pieces of six of the city’s 10 coun­cil­man­ic dis­tricts, he said. ••

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