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Chinatown Chap3

  1. 1. 3.1 CHAPTER 3. Zoning Committee to support community expand low- and moderate-income housing preservation choices. Collectively the concerns and issues RECOMMENDATIONS 5. Mitigate physical barriers within the raised repeatedly by residents suggest that community development of additional affordable housing As a result of analytical work completed by the 6. Streetscape and gateway improvements be designated the primary community devel- consultant team and input from the communi- 7. Community aesthetics and public opment goal of the Chinatown community. ty-visioning workshop, preliminary planning environment maintenance recommendations have been developed for 8. Community services delivery and Low- and moderate-income housing should the area. From these recommendations, a list coordination and crime prevention serve households with an income of less than of "early action items" for early implementation 60% of the median. This type of housing could has been established based upon further com- Recommended Community Planning Goals be provided in the form of mid-rise and even munity input and comments. Many of the rec- and Strategies: possibly higher rise apartment buildings that ommendations for the Chinatown community would generally not exceed six stories in focus on developing additional housing oppor- 1. Land bank and then develop affordable height. Although the development of higher tunities and enhanced community services, housing for low and moderate income rise affordable housing is contrary to the well- facilities, and amenities. households established affordable housing trends in the Planning recommendations are classified under United States, conversations with the commu- the following categories: As reflected in the opportunities and chal- nity indicated that this may be a housing type CHINATOWN lenges assessment, there is strong demand for and density that would be acceptable to new • Housing and Community a variety of housing types in Chinatown. While immigrants from urbanized communities in Development the market seems to be providing housing Asia. As the future land use plan indicates, • Open Space, Parks, and opportunities for higher income households in there appear to be housing development Recreation the form of condominium conversions of for- opportunities for new construction as well as • Economic Development mer industrial loft structures, more affordable adaptive reuse throughout Chinatown • Transportation housing alternatives appear to be increasingly • Early Action Projects limited. Gentrification in the form of loft con- versions and both residential and non-residen- HOUSING AND COMMUNITY tial land speculation are increasingly limiting DEVELOPMENT opportunities for affordable housing in Housing and Community Development plan- Chinatown. During the community visioning ning recommendations fall under the following process and additional meetings that were general categories: held with community leaders and stakeholders, special concerns were raised regarding the 1. Land bank and then develop affordable need for additional housing for low- and mod- housing for low and moderate income erate-income households, especially for new households immigrants, families and seniors and house- 2. Develop additional market rate housing for holds with very low incomes of between $800- the Asian-target market 1,000 per month. Concerns were also raised 3. Continue to develop market rate housing in regarding the poor condition and frequent the Callowhill Loft District over-crowding of existing housing for these 1006 Buttonwood: Potential new housing site in 4. Enhance the Chinatown Planning and groups, which further amplifies the need to Chinatown North / Callowhill Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  2. 2. 3.2 While the implementation plan shows devel- opment of these sites in the year after acquisi- tion, it is most important to simply acquire the listed parcels of land each year. Newer immi- grant housing options should also be explored for those who might be either ineligible for public housing or in need of temporary housing. A second key to expanding the number of low- and moderate-income housing units in Chinatown may be to expand the number of housing development partners, including pri- vate developers to work with local organiza- tions to build subsidized housing. To also 11th and Race Streets: Potential housing site in the ensure the supply of affordable housing over core of Chinatown the longer term and protect it from gentrifica- Sing Wah Yuen tion and market development pressures, pub- North/Callowhill, including sites along Ridge licly developed housing or housing developed CHINATOWN Avenue and 10th and 11th Streets. Some in partnership with public agencies could also opportunities also may exist in the core of incorporate restrictions that would permanent- Chinatown such as the parcel on Arch Street ly maintain the affordability of residential units. and on Race and 11th Street. In addition to buildings specifically developed for low- and The Philadelphia Chinatown Development moderate-income housing, it is also recom- Corporation (PCDC) has a strong track record of mended that market rate housing develop- developing affordable housing for families and ments include a percentage of units reserved seniors. This includes recent developments in Gim San Plaza: An example of mixed use development with for low- and moderate-income households. Chinatown North, such as Hing Wah Yuen (51 affordable housing in Chinatown townhouses for first-time home buyers) and There are at least two potentially key initiatives the adjacent Sing Wah Yuen. These new devel- that could be implemented to increase the opments north of the Expressway should be supply of affordable housing in Chinatown. extended and reinforced through additional The first of these is to work with the city and affordable housing developments that may the Philadelphia Housing Authority to directly include both townhouses and condominiums acquire land reserved for affordable housing. or apartments serving households with Actions of this kind would ensure that land incomes less than 80% of the median. It might would be preserved with the community for also be feasible to renovate the Trigen building the development of affordable housing and for unique affordable housing lofts. Obviously, protected from speculation or development. many of these sites represent longer-term The future land use plan identifies several prior- development opportunities. However in an ity acquisition parcels that are recommended effort to build on and extend immediate past to be acquired by the city or Philadelphia successes and continue to expand the supply Housing Authority for affordable housing. of affordable and mixed-income housing in Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  3. 3. 3.3 Chinatown, it is strongly recommended that PCDC move to secure development sites that directly adjoin their most recent developments. These sites include all or a portion of the Trigen site and the block bounded by Wood Street and Callowhill, between 9th and 10th Streets. 2. Develop Additional Market Rate Housing for the Asian-Target Market Both due to its proximity to Center City and for cultural reasons, there also appears to be strong demand in Chinatown for market rate housing serving middle- and upper-income Asian households. It is anticipated that this housing type would appeal to singles, young CHINATOWN 800 block of Race Street around the Chinatown Station Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  4. 4. 3.4 Looking north at the Town Center area. CHINATOWN Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  5. 5. 3.5 families, and possibly "empty nesters" that may have moved to the suburbs or other areas of the city and wish to return to Chinatown. A variety of housing types, such as loft condo- miniums, townhouses, and apartments, would also serve to help retain Chinatown's young professionals within the community, individuals who can provide important services to local residents as well as community leadership. The land use plan suggests a number of possi- ble locations for market rate housing for the Asian-target market. These include: residential development on the edges of the new park proposed as the focal point of the proposed Chinatown North/Callowhill town center; reno- vated historic loft buildings at 11th & Ridge; and, infill development or redevelopment in CHINATOWN the Chinatown core area where land costs are rising. Opportunities for infill development in the core of Chinatown exist at 9th and Race Street around the Chinatown Station. As indi- cated previously, a percentage of the units in any market rate development should be The new condominiums at Tenten provide market reserved for affordable income households. rate luxury living in the heart of Chinatown. 3. Continue to develop Market Rate Housing in the Callowhill Loft District It is strongly urged that new construction be • The Chinatown Planning and Zoning The Callowhill neighborhood is emerging as a complementary in scale and character to the Committee distinct, unique, and exciting new neighbor- existing loft buildings and include amenities hood within the study area. With many of the such as ground floor retail, convenience shop- A very strong sentiment voiced by both existing former industrial structures already ping, and restaurants to serve the burgeoning residents and stakeholders of Chinatown converted to residences, and other major con- population of the district. and the Callowhill Loft District is that local versions planned, it appears that the most sig- communities feel they have little inclusion nificant opportunity for additional housing in 4. Enhance the role of the Chinatown Planning and Zoning Committee to or influence over development activities the District is the redevelopment of surface occurring in their neighborhoods. The parking lots that exist throughout the district. Support Community Preservation extent to which residents of Chinatown Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  6. 6. 3.6 participate in the public planning process • Demolition Delay Overlay Ordinance posed demolition within Chinatown, would may be affected by language and cultural further assist the community in gaining factors. There is also a sense that the An example of Chinatown's lack of involve- greater control over its own destiny. neighborhood has limited political clout, ment and influence in development deci- and a distrust and fear of city government sion-making that was often cited in conver- • Design Guidelines engendered by past experience with rede- sations with the community, was the demo- velopment projects, such as the stadium lition of existing structures. Concerns were While Chinatown has many historic build- proposal. While the neighborhood already expressed that the community has little ings and some buildings with unique Asian has a dedicated Zoning Committee that prior knowledge of proposed demolitions architectural details, the community has reviews and comments on most develop- and, therefore, little time to react appropri- also had several historically and culturally ment proposals in the neighborhood, the ately. Community representatives repeated- insensitive façade renovations. To prevent committee should broaden its role by ly expressed concerns regarding the loss of further modifications and new develop- including more residents from Chinatown, historic structures and subsequent redevel- ments that do not accentuate Chinatown's providing multi-lingual meeting announce- opment of demolition sites with surface historic and cultural resources, Chinatown ments and meeting facilitation. The com- parking lots. In addition to petitioning the should develop and implement design mittee should be broadly representative city for its own local planning committee, a guidelines for new and existing develop- of all constituencies in the community; demolition delay overlay ordinance, which ment. These guidelines should be flexible and should function as the principal would automatically require a substantial to encourage a variety of architectural styles CHINATOWN liaison between the Chinatown comm- review and comment period for any pro but also encourage some traditional unity and the city on planning and Chinese or Asian style building adornments development issues. to emphasize Chinatown's neighborhood An historic building at Willow Street was character. demolished for parking. Traditional Chinatown architecture 5. Mitigate physical barriers within the community As highlighted in the Opportunities and Constraints section of this study, several physi- cal features in the study area create significant barriers to community inter-connectivity. These include the scale of the Vine Street Expressway trench, the expressway ramp character of Vine Street service roads, the deteriorated Reading viaduct, the PECO transformers on Callowhill Street, and the lack of good pedestrian connec- tions to Franklin Square and Independence National Park. Effectively mitigating all of these barriers will be a costly and long-term enter- prise requiring significant investments of resources on the part of the City and other governmental entities. Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  7. 7. 3.7 to the 10th Street crossing that would immediately enhance community connec- tivity, while not precluding later, more extensive improvements along the corridor. It is therefore recommended that these improvements be pursued as a first phase of a longer-term plan to transform the Vine Street Expressway from a chasm that divides Chinatown to a critical linkage that binds the north and south sides of the com- munity together. To determine the best course of action, a fiscal impact analysis and an engineering feasibility study should be commissioned by the city in partnership with the Chinatown community and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation CHINATOWN to determine the following: • What would the costs of a "big lid" proj- Three alternatives for Vine Street: Green Blocks, Green Bridges, Green Parkway (Vine Street: Reconnecting ect be that would involve covering all of Communities Plan) the expressway versus just portions of the Expressway and what funding • "The Big Lid" - Covering the Vine Street tion would be a continuous cover, whether sources would be available to support Expressway as a "green parkway" as envisioned by the such an undertaking? Project for Public Spaces or, alternatively, A number of alternatives were suggested through development of the air rights over • What are the real economic, community for mitigating the barrier effect caused by the expressway in the form of a "big lid" development, and social benefits of cov- the depressed portion of the expressway. project (see Economic Development ering all or portions of the expressway? In the "Vine Street: Reconnecting Commun- below). ities" study (see ) • Is development of the air rights of the conducted by the Project for Public Spaces, All of these solutions would be costly and expressway feasible from an economic these solutions ranged from replicating the most likely take years to implement. It and engineering perspective? current treatment of the 10th Street cross- would seem advisable, therefore, to imple- ing by cantilevering park spaces over the ment short-range improvements that • What would the 3+ acres of new devel- expressway at the other bridge crossings, to would provide immediate benefits while opment parcels over the expressway be completely covering strategic blocks such functioning as the first phase of a longer- worth and what would be the economic as the block between 10th and 11th , to term effort to develop a permanent benefit to existing areas that would now creating a continuous cover over the solution. The recommendations of the adjoin a covered (and developed) expressway for its entire length to Logan Vine Street Reconnecting Communities expressway? circle. Obviously, the most desirable mitiga- project included short-range modifications Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  8. 8. 3.8 Covering the Vine Street Expressway would be • Calm traffic on Vine Street local Columbus, OH I-670 Bridge a transformative event for Center City with service roads tremendous impacts on the Chinatown com- munity. It is therefore essential that any feasibil- Due to their highway-inspired design, the ity study include a comprehensive public local access streets that parallel the express- involvement process. It should also be recog- way are also a significant barrier to commu- nized that this effort would be a very long-term nity connectivity, exacerbating the effects of undertaking and that other improvements, the barrier created by the Expressway such as traffic calming along the Vine Street trench. As recommended in the "Vine surface routes as suggested below could be Street: Reconnecting Communities" study, more easily and immediately implemented and an extensive traffic calming program should result in significant short-term benefits. be implemented along the Vine Street local Nevertheless, thinking about the future of the service roads north and south of the Expressway should begin to be incorporated expressway. This program should include: into Chinatown's community planning, there- fore, a study of the feasibility of development • Reduction in the number of lanes on of the Vine Street air rights is recommended. the north side of the expressway CHINATOWN Typical block example of streetscaping and traffic calming along Vine Street. (Vine Street: Reconnecting Communities Plan) When Columbus, OH needed to widen a downtown bridge over their sunken expressway (I-670) a local developer recom- mended building retail on it. He claimed the bridge would become another city block seamlessly connecting and expanding down- town to adjacent neighborhoods. 12,000sf and 14,000sf of retail on each side of the street Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  9. 9. 3.9 • Reduction in lane widths on both sides Promenade Plantee, Paris, France of the expressway • Widening of sidewalks • Installation of intensive streetscape enhancements • Installation of curb extensions at all intersections with on-street parking • Installation of highly visible crosswalks These improvements, combined with The brick and stone Promenade Plantee in The City of Paris worked with an arts and Paris, France stretches 2.5 miles between crafts association to transform and revitalize pedestrian-oriented development along Place de la Bastille and Bois de Vicennes. the viaduct and surrounding neighborhood. both sides of the expressway, could trans- form the arterial highway character of Vine Street local service streets into a more attractive urban boulevard. The possibilities of achieving this dramatic re-visioning of the corridor are further increased if the expressway air rights are also developed CHINATOWN and new apartment buildings, condomini- It was abandoned in 1969 and purchased by The viaduct becomes an elevated pedestrian um towers, and office complexes - all with the city in 1987. In the 1990s it was an eyesore walkway with garden spaces and access to first floor pedestrian-oriented land uses and in a declining neighborhood. the street at almost every block. adjoining public open space - rise to fill the gap created by the expressway. It is recom- mended that traffic calming along Vine with the ability to spur additional redevel- Street local service roads be designated an opment based on its novelty and potential early action item. as a neighborhood green space. However, the land under the viaduct could also pro- • Incorporate the Reading railroad viaduct vide large tracts of potentially publicly into community development strategies owned real estate, which could be redevel- It has artisans and craft stores in the arches oped for a number of uses, including of the structure. An artifact from the city's history as a affordable housing. The reality is that national railroad hub and the subject of while perhaps not as costly an undertaking mixed feelings is the abandoned Reading as covering the expressway, the environ- Railroad viaduct. This massive structure is mental mitigation and removal of the viewed simultaneously as both an obstacle viaduct is likely to also be a very expensive to redevelopment in Chinatown North and proposition. as a potential elevated "rails to trails" linear park space akin to the West Side High Line Initial thinking on the future disposition of Today the Promenade Plantee is an asset to in New York City and the Promenade the viaduct has traditionally focused on an an up and coming neighborhood. Planteé in Paris. It is also viewed as a defin- "either/or" scenario: complete removal or ing feature of Chinatown North/Callowhill complete preservation. An alternative Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  10. 10. 3.10 adjoin the viaduct are an opportunity for interesting new construction similar to the historically interesting 19th century industri- al buildings along Ridge Avenue mentioned in prior and later sections of this report. Thinking about the future of the viaduct should also take into consideration the potential for air rights development of the expressway. While the actual feasibility of this development opportunity cannot now be quantified, it is possible that if a sizeable new development parcel became available within the alignment of the expressway, pressure for northward expansion in the near term and the immediate need to reclaim the development potential of the lands beneath the viaduct may be some- CHINATOWN Existing Reading Viaduct in Chinatown North / Callowhill what diminished Based on the extent of current develop- scenario is the possibility of selective demo- interpreted historically to tell the story of ment activity in Chinatown North it appears lition and the retention of certain segments the city's mighty industrial heritage or even that the question of retaining or demolish- of the viaduct. The "Broad Street" spur, for serve as individual urban overlooks. ing the viaduct does not have to be example, does not appear to pose much of answered immediately. However, the direc- an impediment to redevelopment and its Considering the costs associated with even tion of future development as recommend- gradual rise from street grade makes it an partial removal of the viaduct, it would ed by this plan and evidenced in the com- ideal access point for prospective uses atop seem prudent to explore all options, includ- munity indicates that the future of the the viaduct. These uses would benefit from ing reorganizing the pattern of redevelop- viaduct must be fully integrated into the the sweeping vistas of center city and the ment in Chinatown North/Callowhill around overall community development strategy of promise of a dramatic downtown overlook a framework provided by the viaduct. New Chinatown. Design studies developed by or "sky park" - especially if connected to air and rehabilitated existing buildings directly students from the University of rights development over the expressway. accessing the viaduct would benefit greatly Pennsylvania and Drexel University have Retaining the portion of the northern spur from a new elevated linear park. This strate- suggested some imaginative and innovative between Vine Street and the new town gy, however, has not been favored by some reuse concepts for the viaduct, which have center proposed for Chinatown North (see due to the feeling that the building sites served to initiate broader interest in the Economic Development below) also offers and parcels that would result from the future of the structure. Further planning for interesting opportunities. Another option demolition of the viaduct represent a signif- the Viaduct, however, should include exten- may be retaining only the masonry compo- icant new redevelopment opportunity in sive public input from local residents and nents or earthen embankments of the Chinatown North/Callowhill. Alternatively, stakeholders most affected by the viaduct Viaduct as "urban artifacts" that could be existing triangular-shaped parcels that and be based on a comprehensive analysis Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  11. 11. 3.11 of impacts to Chinatown and Callowhill as Drexel University Department of University of Pennsylvania Design well as a balanced understanding of what is Architecture sixth year Urban Design Charrette led by Harris Steinberg of Studio led by Brian Phillips. best for local residents and business owners Penn Praxis. as well as the city as a whole. In the near-term, while the ultimate fate of the viaduct remains unknown, attempts should be made to improve the mainte- nance and overall appearance of the struc- ture, including undertaking a number of simple improvements, such as: Brian McGarry explored the north end of Team 4 the viaduct as a new public park where the viaduct splinters as it sweeps to the ground. • Cutting grass and weeds on the viaduct deck and embankments • Colorful painting of the bridges (possibly through a student art competition man- aged by the City's Percent for the Arts Program or the Mural Arts Program) CHINATOWN • Decoration of bridges as gateways to Chinatown Josh Janisak investigated a new type of • Ornamental lighting design for bridge Team 6 industrial activity which used the viaduct as a structures primary element. • Up-lighting of masonry walls (similar to Fairmont Prison) • Pedestrian lighting beneath bridges and overpasses • Management of drainage and runoff into streets beneath the viaduct • Ornamental landscape improvements • Remediation and demolition cost Chen Yo explored a new Chinatown Community analysis Team 8 Center bridging the ground plane with the viaduct level over top of I-676. These improvements would contribute sig- nificantly to enhancing the appearance of Chinatown North/Callowhill and may ulti- mately change perceptions of the value of the viaduct. Ultimately, the full costs of envi- ronmental remediation and demolition must be determined and compared to the development potential that would be creat- Kelly Anderson explored a pre-fab affordable Team 9 artist studio scheme. ed by its removal. Therefore, it is recom- Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  12. 12. 3.12 mended that a preliminary environmental an attractive brick or masonry screening investigation and economic impact analysis walls, or a structural screening material simi- be commissioned by the city to gauge the lar to the system used recently at the new relative costs and benefits of the range of chiller plant at the University of actions proposed here. The City of Pennsylvania. Considering the general lack Philadelphia commissioned an environmen- of landscaping in Chinatown North/ tal study of the viaduct in the summer of Callowhill, the former option would seem 2004. Results are forthcoming shortly. preferable; therefore, it is recommended Furthermore, it may be cost effective to that the Philadelphia Chinatown incorporate this evaluation into the express- way air-rights feasibility study suggested above. • Screen the PECO substation The large, industrial-scale PECO transform- ers that occupy the site where the two spurs of the viaduct diverge south of CHINATOWN Hamilton Street significantly diminish the appearance of the local area and detract from the redevelopment potential of neigh- boring sites. It is essential that this substa- tion facility be effectively screened. A num- ber of options are available, ranging from a plant material screen similar to the 26th Street gateway developed by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), or PECO substation along Noble Street Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  13. 13. 3.13 unfriendly to pedestrians. The arterial highway- oriented design is reflective of its former role as a prin- cipal access route to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge prior to the construction of Vine Street Expressway. The long-vacant Metropolitan Hospital (now Franklin Square’s historic fountain being redeveloped as con- The wide expanse of Race Street at 7th Street dominiums or apartments), with its suburban-style deep Development Corporation, in cooperation setbacks from Race Street and lack of street- with the Callowhill Neighborhood edge pedestrian activity, also represents a Broad-Ridge Spur runs, further exaggerates Association, approach both PECO and PHS significant visual and psychological barrier the sense of distance between Franklin to request assistance in planning and between Chinatown and Franklin Square. Square and Chinatown. Existing buildings implementing an effective landscape screen The largely vacant block west of the on the south side of Race Street also pres- CHINATOWN of the transformer site. Metropolitan Hospital, beneath which the ent an unfriendly face to Race, including the • Improve connections to Franklin Square Located on the eastern edge of Chinatown, Franklin Square should function as an impressive and inviting gateway and a meaningful public space resource for the Chinatown community. For a variety of rea- sons, unfortunately, this sadly neglected park - one of the original five squares in William Penn's plan for the city - is more often populated by the homeless than resi- dents of Chinatown (although practitioners of T'ai Chi are often observed in the square in the mornings). It is generally perceived to be isolated from the community. Conceptual design The reasons for this perception are easy to plan with destination appreciate. Race Street, which provides uses and traffic access to the square from Chinatown, has a calming. (Vine very wide cross section and character Street: Reconnecting Communities Plan) Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  14. 14. 3.14 long-closed main entrance of the bunker- like Police Headquarters and the new park- ing garage addition to the College of Physicians building. Finally, the lack of active land uses on the edges of the square and the existing condition and design of the park itself significantly limit its active use. There are reasons for hope, however. The adaptive re-use of Metropolitan Hospital will at long last bring residents close to the square's western edge. Perhaps more importantly, the opening of the National Constitution Center - with its principal entrance facing directly on the square - will bring Philadelphia's "invisible square" into the view of a projected one million annual visitors. The Vine Street Reconnecting CHINATOWN Communities study focused significant Gateway and streetscape improvements at 10th and Vine Streets. (Vine Street: Reconnecting Communities Plan) attention on methods to revitalize Franklin Square - all of which merit serious consider- ation. The goal of reconnecting Franklin Square to Chinatown and incorporating the • Race Street should be narrowed, curb 6. Streetscape and Gateway park within the boundaries of the neighbor- extensions installed at all intersections, Improvements hood, as perceived by both residents and visitors could be advanced in three principal and other traffic calming and intensive streetscape improvements provided to The poor condition of the pedestrian environ- ways: enhance the pedestrian environment. ment, especially in Chinatown North/Callowhill, This would provide a highly desirable is an issue that was raised frequently in conver- • Erect a significant new gateway to walking environment between sations with community residents and stake- Chinatown - similar to the Friendship Chinatown and Franklin Square. holders. Of special concern are the poor pedes- Gate at 10th & Arch - across Race Street trian connections across the Vine Street corri- at 6th Street. This bold visual statement • As part of the recommended dor. A related concern that was raised was the would accomplish several objectives, "Chinatown Greening" program (see need to establish gateways to reinforce com- including establishing a much-needed Open Space, Parks, and Recreation munity identify, establish linkages to neighbor- link between Chinatown and the cultur- below) the Chinatown community ing potential markets such as Independence al tourism occurring in the should consider formally adopting National Historic Park and the Pennsylvania Independence National Historic Park, Franklin Square and providing leader- Convention Center, and to express and define and incorporating Franklin Square into ship for its revitalization. areas of community expansion, such as the psychological domain of Chinatown. Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  15. 15. 3.15 Chinatown North/Callowhill. The Vine Street primarily on enhancing community con- projects are proposed, and it is recom- Reconnecting Communities study presents nectivity across the 10th Street crossing of mended that these projects be designated some conceptual streetscape ideas that are an the expressway. Some implementation priority projects: excellent starting point for developing a com- funding is presently available that could be munity-wide streetscape improvements pro- used to leverage additional funding. • 10th Street and Ridge Avenue above gram for Chinatown. However, more work is Therefore, it is recommended that the 10th Callowhill. As illustrated on the pro- needed to develop final streetscape plans and Street improvements be designated an posed land use plan and described in designs that are sensitive to local culture and early action item. more detail in the Economic traditions and respect special characteristics of Development recommendations, it is Chinatown neighborhoods, such as open air • Strategically focus initial streetscape suggested that 10th Street northward sidewalk markets and places of community improvements to Callowhill and then Ridge Avenue gathering and orientation. from Callowhill to Spring Garden be Taking into consideration the likely limita- developed as the principal north-south Following is a proposed approach to initiat- tions of the city capital improvements spine unifying Chinatown, Chinatown ing a comprehensive streetscape improve- budget, it is recommended that a focused North, and Callowhill. Intensive ment plan for the Chinatown study area. strategic streetscape improvement program streetscaping, based on conceptual be developed. The program should serve designs developed in the Vine Street • Implement initial recommendations of the not only to enhance the pedestrian envi- Reconnecting Communities study, CHINATOWN Vine Street Reconnecting Communities ronment, but also achieve other goals such would significantly improve the public Study as enhancing community connectivity, link- environment in Chinatown North/ ing Chinatown to adjacent tourist areas, and Callowhill, and also express the concept The Vine Street Reconnecting Communities reinforcing neighborhood identity and the that this corridor is intended as an area study suggested a number of initial future direction of community develop- of future community development and streetscape improvements, focused ment. Five initial streetscape improvement investment. Streetscaping should be 13th Street looking south from Hamilton - streetscape Vine Street local has fast moving traffic, excess lanes, and narrow sidewalks. needs improvement. Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  16. 16. 3.16 improved all along the 10th - Ridge the perceived boundaries of the com- street connections to Market Street. Spine from the Friendship Gate at Arch munity and establish a much-needed Streetscaping and an additional to Spring Garden. linkage between Chinatown and the Chinatown gateway along this street tourist activity of Independence would serve to reinforce Chinatown as • 13th Street from Vine to Spring Garden. National Historic Park. Streetscaping neighboring destination and beautify Paralleling the 10th Street-Ridge Avenue would also serve to beautify Race Street, a heavily traveled corridor. Spine, 13th Street appears to function as which is an important eastbound route a "main street" in the Callowhill in Center City subject to heavy traffic. • Spring Garden Street from Broad Street neighborhood. Intensive streetscaping to 9th Street. Traveling on Spring along this corridor would begin to pro- • Arch Street to the Pennsylvania Garden Street west of Broad Street, there vide missing pedestrian amenities in Convention Center/Reading Terminal. is landscaping in the medians and Callowhill. Although 10th Street is just one-and- attractive street trees. Upon crossing one-half blocks from the main entrance Broad Street, Spring Garden has similarly • Race Street from the Pennsylvania of the Convention Center, Chinatown attractive buildings with storefronts and Convention Center to 6th Street. As pre- does not have a particularly strong pres- residences; the streetscape, however, viously mentioned, streetscaping and ence in this area. This is partly due to the deteriorates into a treeless and poorly traffic calming along Race Street and a massive and overwhelming scale of the lit area. In an attempt to revitalize the new Chinatown gateway at 6th Street Convention Center itself, the attraction many existing businesses along Spring CHINATOWN would help to bring Franklin Square into of Reading Terminal, and the convenient Continue streetscape improvements on Arch Street past 10th Street to connect Independence National Park with Chinatown and improve the aesthetics in Chinatown. Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  17. 17. 3.17 Examples of Gateways from other cities Beijing, China The Friendship Gate at 10th and Arch Street. CHINATOWN Toronto, ON, Canada Garden Street through the study area, streetscape improvements should be made that include way finding signage, street trees, pedestrian lighting, land- scaping, and improved sidewalks. • Gateways Los Angeles, CA, USA Ornamental gateways perform a number of important roles, including expressing com- munity identify and reinforcing neighbor- hood boundaries. Gateways can also per- form an important way finding and infor- mational function, attracting and welcom- ing visitors and encouraging exploration. For Chinatown, this last function is extreme- ly important. Although located between two major tourist destinations, the Pennsylvania Convention Center and Independence National Historic Park, Singapore, Singapore Chinatown's visibility is somewhat limited Seatle, WA, USA Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  18. 18. 3.18 and its visual connection to these tourist economically connect the two areas. of the development of a new open areas is not well defined. Strategically space and town center for Chinatown placed gateways could help to increase • Race Street at 6th Street. By claiming North/Callowhill, suggests that a gate- Chinatown's visibility as well as symbolically Franklin Square as a new portal, way improvement may also be warrant- express the future direction of community Chinatown's connection to Independ- ed. A gateway at this location could development and investment in Chinatown ence Mall will be made apparent to liter- serve to announce the formal entry North. ally hundreds of thousands of regional, point to the new Chinatown North/ national, and international visitors. Callowhill neighborhood and reinforce The impressive Friendship Gate at 10th & the boundaries of this emerging area of Arch Streets is an outstanding model for • 11th and Arch. With so many competing community expansion, matching the distinctive gateway design. While exactly activities and attractions, Chinatown gateway proposed at Spring Garden replicating this gateway at other locations must establish a clear and welcoming and Ridge throughout Chinatown would probably not presence to conventioneers as they be possible, or even desirable, creating a enter and emerge from the Pennsylvania 7. Community Aesthetics and Public related "family" of gateways inspired by the Convention Center. Environment Maintenance design of the Friendship Gate , but at a smaller scale, may be an appropriate and • Arch and 6th Street. As the location of A common refrain heard in conversations with more cost efficient approach. Alternatively, the Gateway Visitor Center, which pro- community residents was that trash is not well managed in Chinatown, and that this condition CHINATOWN an entirely new design may be explored. vides the principal orientation experi- Regardless of the actual design that is ence for visitors to the region, a is having a deleterious effect on the quality of adopted, the gateways should be distinc- Chinatown gateway at this intersection life for residents. Many reasons for this condi- tive and highly visible. A number of possible would be highly desirable. tion were cited, including small and overcrowd- locations for gateways have been identified: ed dwelling units that cannot accommodate • Spring Garden and Ridge. While a gate- • 10th Street over the Vine Street way at this location may seem prema- Expressway. Decorating the bridge para- ture at this time, it would enable Trash is a big problem in Chinatown pet with an ornamental gateway would Chinatown to express its community inform drivers that they are not driving development vision even if it takes past Chinatown but "through" a dynam- many years to backfill opportunity with ic and expanding community that now actual development. spans both sides of the expressway. The gateway could also take the form of • 7th & Callowhill. As proposed in the pedestrian scale retail development sim- Open Space, Parks and Recreation rec- ilar to the new bridge over I-670 in ommendations, it has been suggested Columbus, OH. This bridge could pro- that the truck parking lot currently exist- vide a model for physically and aestheti- ing at this location be redeveloped as cally connecting the area north of Vine much-needed recreational resources for with the core of Chinatown. This type of Chinatown. This would make an ideal development could provide a very visi- location for a local gateway to the ble gateway for Chinatown while also community. providing continuous development to • 10th & Callowhill/Ridge. The prospect Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  19. 19. 3.19 indoor refuse storage, cultural feelings relating er procedures and rules related to the appropri- to indoor trash storage, the dense concentra- ate storage and encouraging after-dusk dispos- tion of restaurants, and trash dumping by non- al. In addition to flyers, the program could set residents. In Chinatown North/Callowhill, the up meetings with the community and city main problems are illegal dumping and the agencies to address cleaning and safety. storage and pickup of the trash of commercial Furthermore, youth, underemployed and/or businesses, primarily wholesale food sellers. the Center City District could be hired to do Regardless of the actual cause or causes of the semi-regular cleanings that include Chinatown problem, feelings around this issue are very North. A physical response may be to require strong. Satisfactorily addressing this issue will appropriately designed centralized refuse stor- require advocacy along with programmatic, age areas for new residential and nonresiden- educational, and physical solutions. In an effort tial developments in Chinatown, especially to enhance city refuse collection the communi- for mixed-use developments that include ty should first work with the Streets restaurants. Department and advocate for increased servic- es, emphasizing the impacts of dumping and In conjunction with the streetscape improve- Trash is a big problem in Chinatown tourism on the cleanliness of residential neigh- ments, gateway planning, and programs such borhoods of Chinatown. Leadership for this as "Keep Chinatown Clean", a banner design CHINATOWN advocacy could be provided by a community contest that encourages community youth and services coordinating organization, which is local artists to participate would be a good way recommended below. to promote civic pride. The banners could be a part of the streetscape improvements and Programmatic approaches may include estab- should stretch into Chinatown North. lishing a Neighborhood Service District that would provide supplemental trash collection 8. Community Services Delivery and and street cleaning for the community. Coordination Organized as a fairly low-cost operation using part-time staff and providing perhaps just one • Prepare a Chinatown Social Services Plan additional trash pick-up a week, the service could be run by Philadelphia Chinatown A major issue expressed by community resi- Development Corporation or contracted from dents and stakeholders related to the severe the Center City District. The service district lack of community services and facilities within would be funded through contributions from the Chinatown community. Furthermore, cul- businesses and multi-family housing landlords. tural and language barriers may be limiting An additional programmatic approach may be access to these services and facilities when A Neighborhood Service District run through to develop and implement an extensive com- they are located outside of Chinatown. While PCDC or Center City District could provide regular munity education program, such as "Keep certain programs are provided in the commu- cleaning of the street and organize additional Chinatown Clean", that would seek to establish nity already, it is important to realize the need trash pickup. and reinforce acceptable domestic and com- and demand for additional programs and serv- mercial trash management practices through ices. One of the goals of the Community putting out flyers and information about prop- Center that PCDC is planning is to provide arts, Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  20. 20. 3.20 from the state Department of Education to study the feasibility of a Charter School. The School Reform Commission is about to begin preparing a master plan for the School District's capital program. It is antici- pated that the master plan will evaluate school locations in relation to changing population trends within the city. This may be an opportune time for the Chinatown community to also advocate with the District for a public school. Chinatown is a demographically diverse community. As a result, there are a number of constituencies within the community, each expressing their own goals and aspira- tions. It is conceivable that each group could pursue its own community service CHINATOWN agenda; however, this suggests the possibil- ity of dilution of community resources, inef- ficient duplication of facilities, and lack of coordination and even competition between overlapping service providers. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that Holy Redeemer Church and School at 10th and Vine Street. a coordinated social services plan be devel- oped for Chinatown identifying all of the culture, youth, adult, after school, computer, - Branch library On Lok House provides senior housing and services, language, martial arts, job placement, training, - Health and human services however there is a long waiting list. and legal assistance programs. As may have - Immigrant support services been expected, different groups felt that differ- - Senior and youth services ent types of services and facilities were needed. - Recreation and social services However, there seemed to be general agree- ment that special emphasis should be given to During meetings with the community, a providing support services for new immigrants. number of residents mentioned the need Among the types of community facilities and for a public school in Chinatown, indicating services requested were: that elementary school children from the neighborhood must travel a significant dis- - Multi-purpose community center tance to McCall Elementary School located - K-8 Chinatown charter school several blocks south of Market Street. Asian - Job & ESL training Americans United has won a planning grant Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  21. 21. 3.21 existing and anticipated community and Given the new types of community services social service needs of the community. The recommended in the previous section and plan should be prepared in consultation the expressed need for additional commu- with an oversight or steering committee nity space and services by community representing all constituent groups in the stakeholders and residents, a new community. Community Center with ample space should be a high priority for Chinatown. In addition to identifying service needs, the PCDC recently conducted a feasibility study social services plan should involve an for a Community Center in Chinatown assessment of the capacity of existing serv- located between Vine, 10th, 11th, and Pearl ice groups, identifying where capacity building is needed and matching existing PCDC preliminary plan for the organizational strengths to appropriate Chinatown Community Center. tasks and initiatives. In cases where capacity Chinatown Community Center location weaknesses are identified by the plan, local groups should work with organizations such as the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations CHINATOWN ( to identify potential capacity building resources. Another impor- tant purpose of the plan would be to iden- tify opportunities for joint programming, service and facilities development between existing organizations and groups. Combining and sharing resources, informa- tion, and ideas in this way will enable Chinatown to maximize the tremendous potential of its extraordinary cultural and social capital. Healthy and vital communities are typified by the number of volunteer organizations and associations they possess - of which Chinatown has many - and the degree to which the work and activities of these groups is coordinated and comple- mentary. It is absolutely necessary that the Community Services Plan include transla- tion and community outreach services. PCDC already provides a newsletter, a com- munity liaison, and homeowner counseling programs. Outreach should also be geared to landlords and business owners. • Chinatown Community Center Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  22. 22. 3.22 Streets. As shown in the proposed land use outreach programs, town watch-type pro- plan, this central location is still appropriate grams, a block captain plan, and suggest for a Community Center developed in con- special events and programming. junction with an Asian oriented retail and residential complex. • Crime Prevention • Consider community and social services As Chinatown grows to the north, it is "embedded" in new development important to provide adequate safety patrols to ensure the security of new An additional option in increasing access to residents. Safety patrols around Chinatown community and social services, especially to North, especially near the churches and the elderly and disabled, may be to build on new developments should be emphasized. the model of On Lok house, which includes Crime prevention and cooperation with the a social services center component. By Sixth District Police Station should be embedding some level of community and encouraged. social services within new residential (even mixed-use) developments, service delivery OPEN SPACE, PARKS AND could be more geographically diverse and RECREATION Callowhill Neighborhood garden CHINATOWN even possibly tailored to the needs of the residents of the development. For example, The Open Space, Parks and Recreation housing for new immigrants could contain Planning recommendations fall under services such as ESL training and elderly the following general categories: housing could offer direct access to health services. 1. Initiate a Chinatown "greening" program 2. Organize the development of Chinatown • Develop Chinatown-wide community coor- North/Callowhill around a new central dination and outreach programs public open space 3. Incorporate park space in the covering An important issue relating to the delivery of Vine Street of community services was the need to 4. "Green" and open up the outdoor spaces enhance community coordination, commu- of Holy Redeemer Church and School nication and outreach especially among 5. Complete an economic study and master newer immigrants. The proposed social plan for the Reading Railroad Viaduct services plan could be an ideal vehicle for 6. Transform the parking lot at 7th & exploring the potential of local organiza- Callowhill into Chinatown play tions to sponsor and provide leadership for fields/gateway these activities. Evaluating all of 7. Formally incorporate Franklin Square Chinatown's community service providers, as a major open space within Chinatown the plan could recommend volunteer 8. Expand Recreational Programming Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  23. 23. 3.23 Recommended Planning Goals and Strategies 1. Initiate a Chinatown "greening" program As a densely developed community, Chinatown lacks any significant green spaces and open space. There are no formal public parks or recreation facilities within the core of Chinatown. And due to a number of related factors, Franklin Square does not function as an important community focal point or public space, despite its proximity to the community. North of the Vine Street Expressway, Chinatown North and Callowhill would best be described as post industrial and lacking any meaningful public environment. With the exception of a small community garden at 11th & Ridge, these areas have a bleak environment of surface CHINATOWN parking lots, overgrown vacant lots, and deteri- orated buildings. An aggressive "greening" of Chinatown and Callowhill should be undertak- en, and include the following major compo- nents: • Intensive shade street tree planting, especially along residential streets • Landscaping and green spaces in both new development and redevelopment projects • Landscaping and green spaces in new public and community facilities • Development of new community Clarion Street resident greening activity. gardens and maintenance of existing ones • Landscaping and edge treatments for surface parking lots Representatives of the community should • Adopt Franklin Square and provide work with the Pennsylvania Horticultural community leadership for its Society Philadelphia Green Program staff to revitalization plan and implement the greening program. Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans
  24. 24. 3.24 Town Square Before Town Square After CHINATOWN
  25. 25. 3.25 <#> 2. Organize the development of Chinatown 3. Incorporate park space on the North around a new public open space cover of the Vine Street Expressway As included in the Economic Development redevelopment zone. This space is env- Evaluating the development potential and recommendations, the development of a sioned as a classic town square designed to feasibility of the air rights over the expressway new town center ("Downtown Chinatown support community gathering, socialization, is a major recommendation of this plan. It is North") is suggested for Chinatown and passive recreation. Surrounded by pub- further recommended that extensive landscap- North/Callowhill in the area between lic streets and aligned directly on the 10th ing and public green spaces be incorporated Callowhill, Hamilton, 10th and 11th Streets. Street-Ridge Avenue Spine, this park is into the design of any expressway air rights A substantial new public open space on the intended to be a highly visible and development, including amenities such as future land use plan is proposed as the accessible community focal point. public plazas, park space, and rooftop gardens. principal organizing feature of this CHINATOWN Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans