Two Delaware waterfront projects that welcome pedestrians

The tide turns on Delaware waterfront with two projects that welcome pedestrians

by Inga Saffron, Architecture Critic  @IngaSaffron

For decades, Philadelphia has dreamed of lining its two rivers with urbane apartment houses, only to end up with an unsightly jumble of garage-dominated towers, big-box stores, fast-food restaurants, and surface lots. Developers keep telling us the threat of flooding makes it impossible for them to build the kind of pedestrian-friendly projects that would help the waterfronts evolve into real neighborhoods. And so we end up with horrors like Dockside on the Delaware and PMC’s latest Schuylkill River apartment project, where the first thing visitors see is the soaring wall of a garage.

 Two recent proposals for the Delaware offer clever workarounds to this depressing situation. The architects for Piers 34-35 (immediately south of Dockside) and for the former Foxwoods site have come up with housing designs that prioritize pedestrians and public space while still managing to accommodate parking. If they can do it, so can other waterfront projects.