Neighborhood volunteers first began cultivating the idea of converting the ruins of the Reading Viaduct into Philadelphia’s own elevated park more than a decade ago.
After years of organizing, raising money, and drafting proposals, their efforts – and those of the politicians and professional planners who joined the cause – finally appear ready to bear fruit. Without fanfare, the city and the state have included millions of dollars in their latest budgets toward the first phase of the project: transforming the quarter-mile railroad “spur” that curves through the city’s burgeoning Loft District and dead-ends onto North Broad Street.
Turning that section into a park with stunning Center City views is just a small part of the overall vision to “green” abandoned railroad infrastructure, transforming foreboding eyesores into amenities.
A larger, 4/5-mile section of the viaduct stretches with fortresslike walls from Fairmount Avenue to Vine Street. Across Broad, the old railroad line drops below street level, running through a subterranean channel from the former Inquirer and Daily News building to Fairmount Park at Girard Avenue.