The first community meeting of the Philadelphia2035 Lower Northeast planning and zoning process was held on April 4th at Friends Hospital. The Lower Northeast district encompasses parts of Frankford, Northwood, Summerdale, Oxford Circle-Castor Gardens and Lawncrest. Representatives from those neighborhoods serve on a steering committee and have already been meeting. The meeting we attended is to get community input from residents into the planning process. From the Philadelphia2035 web site are the key issues they have identified for the Lower Northeast:
Roosevelt Boulevard and Oxford Circle are defining features of the Lower Northeast. The 12-lane Boulevard generates important issues: traffic congestion, pedestrian safety and future transit options. Auto-oriented commercial uses can be made into pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use nodes. Some neighborhoods are changing due to rapid property turnover and an influx of new families; this reflects the affordability and desirability of the housing stock. The Frankford community needs commercial corridor management, redevelopment, adaptive reuse of vacant industrial buildings, infill development and greater focus on management of recovery and group homes. Conversion of single-family homeowner properties to multi-family rental properties is an issue. Like the Pennypack and Wissahickon Creeks, Tacony/Frankford Creek should have a greenway along its entire length.
There was a good sized crowd as you can see from the slide show below. The crowd was divided up into separate tables but were asked to do the same thing on a large map: identify present and future issues. The result was a map colored with various codes that will go back with the planners who will analyze what we thought. At our table the Margaret-Orthodox el stop was identified as having potential for a major redo along the lines of the Transit Oriented Development plan. The commercial corridor and industrial use areas are clearly in need of a new vision.There were numerous other items and those results may be displayed on the Philadelphia2035 web site at some time in the future.
The next community meeting is tentatively scheduled for sometime in June when we will get an update on the process.