Saturday, October 23, 2010

Will One Franklin Square Alter The Ben Franklin Bridge Walkway Experience?

In August PlanPhilly wrote a story covering the development plans for One Franklin Square (401 Race St) which is currently a mostly vacant building at the foot of the south walkway of the Ben Franklin Bridge

The site will become a hotel/restaurant facility and may feature a giant LED screen similar to the Crown Fountain in Chicago. Unlike the Crown, 401 Race will include commercial ads. The screen will be directed towards westbound traffic and the walkway of the Bridge.

Photos Zack Klein on Flickr

The project has been subject to neighborhood debate, the Old City Civic Association voted against the Ordinance approving the project. Meanwhile the Philadelphia Planning Commission has made recommendations for the development process to continue. You can read more about 401 Race Street in Brownstoner.

So besides the potential glare (or entertainment) of the jumbo screen there has been no discussion on how this development will affect access to and from the bridge walkway. The drawings show no change other than some tree plantings for the stony sidewalk on 5th Street. Of more concern to bicyclists is the fate of Florist Street, that Belgian block downhill to Fourth Street is the only quasi-legal bike route off the bridge. Florist may become a busy entrance to the 2nd floor parking garage, and any space that could be set aside for people on foot or bike access may be allocated for additional parking spaces.

One thing is certain, the new building will be subject to the bike parking ordinance.

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