The Delaware River has historically been the front door of Philadelphia and has played a significant role in the city’s development as a center of industry and commerce. However, following the industrial decline the riverfront has undergone dramatic changes in land use.
Prior to 2006, most of the development along the Central Delaware River occurred behind closed doors in an ad-hoc and uncoordinated manner.
On Oct. 12, 2006, Mayor Street signed an executive order that invited PennPraxis to lead a citizen-driven planning process for the Delaware Waterfront that would be open and transparent and produce a civic vision for development along the river from Allegheny Ave. to Oregon Ave.
PennPraxis’ effort was aided by the Central Delaware Riverfront Advisory Group (now CDAG).
The Central Delaware Riverfront Planning Process was established to advance a Civic Vision, for the waterfront from Allegheney Avenue to Oregon Avenue. The hallmark of the process was a year-long period of intense civic engagement and thinking about the future of the Delaware Riverfront
Building on the foundation supplied by the Civic Vision the goal of the Action Plan is to define actions needed to redevelop the river over the next ten years in agreement with the civic vision and calls for:
- Appoint an open, accountable, effective waterfront manager.
- Adopt clear zoning, a detailed master plan and a coordinated regulatory policy.
- Build a continuous, 7-mile trail along the central Delaware riverfront.
- Create new parks and improve two existing parks.
- Guarantee public access to the riverfront and make it easier for residents to walk and bike to the river.
- Extend transit to the river.
- Extend key streets to the river
- Manage traffic and parking in the central Delaware area.
- Create a 100-foot greenway along the water’s edge.
- Create a natural river’s edge and restore habitat.
The Master Plan for the Central Delaware Waterfront was a direct result of the Civic Vision and the Action Plan for the Central Delaware. The Master Plan identifies policy changes and investment strategies for economic development, community development, and open space along the waterfront and provides the tools necessary to once again make Philadelphia’s original waterfront a treasured public amenity.
And finally, the CDO_ Central Delaware Riverfront Overlay District is the zoning legislation that stemmed from the Master Plan to regulate development along the waterfront.