A vital chapter in the protracted saga of the South St. Bridge restoration came to a close last week with a presentation by Penn students of their development ideas for the Grays Ferry neighborhood at the eastern foot of the South. St. bridge.
The redesign project is a collaborative effort of several community groups including South of South St. Neighborhood Association (SOSNA), the Center City Residents Association and the South Street West Business Association students.
With the reopening of the bridge, that area will become a gateway into the city for people coming off of I-76, and residents want to put a fresh face on their community.
SOSNA member Jim Campbell told the gathered neighbors that the community’s engagement of individuals and groups to help plan for the area’s rebirth gives the neighborhood the opportunity to work proactively.
"Community involvement is a very critical part of the process. it is the responsibility of all of us to think about the neighborhood and what we would like to see and what we don’t want to see," Campbell said.
The City Planning students all thought a development of the area offered the opportunity to add retail space and create more green space. One site for both, they recommended is the triangle of land bounded by Grays Ferry Ave., South St., 24th St. and 23rd St. One student also suggested that as the site for a community pool.
They also suggested increasing both access to the neighborhood by bus, opportunities for bicyclists and pedestrians. Other transportation ideas included installing traffic calming elements to slow down traffic in order to increase retail and pedestrian activity and redirect traffic to make getting around the neighborhood easier.
One specific idea was go make the South Street triangle into a roundabout.