The Philadelphia City Planning Commission has released a draft plan for the River Wards, the area of the city stretching north along the Delaware River from Fishtown to Bridesburg and west across Kensington.
City planner Ashley Richards presented a draft of the plan, the latest in a series of district plans the Commission is preparing as part of the Nutter Administration’s Philadelphia2035 project, to Planning Commissioners on Tuesday. The staff will solicit public comments on the plan through August 7th and present a final draft to the Commission for approval on August 18th.
The plan, drafted after three public meetings and with input from online comments, focuses on a number of issues: investing in commercial corridors, preserving industrial land, and improving pedestrian safety. Preserving industrial land has been a major priority for Councilman Bobby Henon, who represents part of the area. A full third of land in the River Wards is currently used for industry and more than half is zoned for industrial use, according to the plan.
It also focuses on three specific areas: the Aramingo Shopping District, Port Richmond Village, and the Lehigh Avenue Corridor. The Commission identified those three areas as places where improvements could benefit the entire district.
The plan calls for making signage along Aramingo Avenue more uniform in character, increasing commercial density there, and improving safety by adding mid-block crossings and bike lanes between York and Cumberland. It calls for protected bike lanes along a stretch of Lehigh Avenue between Richmond Street and Kensington Avenue. It also recommends creating small public park spaces along the Lehigh Viaduct.
Planning Goals in Port Richmond include making improvements to SEPTA transportation infrastructure, drawing new industrial and commercial uses to Richmond Street, and reconstructing Monkiewicz Playground.
Zoning recommendations would preserve single-family housing stock and industrial land while increasing density and mixed-use zoning on commercial corridors. They would also encourage public access to the Frankford Creek and Delaware River.