Much like the High Line was in Manhattan, the Reading Viaduct in Philadelphia is an abandoned elevated railroad line that runs through parts of Philadelphia. The idea of taking in urban views from an elevated garden style park is catching on in Philly.
This concept was a huge success in Manhattan and even got celebrities like Diane von Fürstenberg and Edward Norton involved in the project.
After eight years, two Philadelphians succeeded in lobbying city council to take control of the viaduct from the Reading International Company. The city is presently in contact with Reading International to take control of the larger section of the viaduct. The Center City District is working with SEPTA to create a park on the shorter section of the viaduct, which is owned by SEPTA.
The Reading Viaduct is much wider than the High Line in Manhattan and will make the space more versatile. People are envisioning a renaissance in the area that will bring in food, entertainment, outdoor activities of all sorts, artists and housing. The park would stimulate growth for Chinatown, eliminate blight and attract new residents. The High Line has had a tremendous economic impact on the area of Manhattan it is located in. Philadelphia could expect similar results.
We applaud Philadelphia’s leadership for getting on the “rails to trails” bandwagon and doing something innovative that will enhance the quality of life for city residents!