Friday, March 13, 2015

Cap Philadelphia's I-676 Vine Street Expressway

Cap  676 is  a vision for a connected Philadelphia. The project is a crowd sourced effort to plan and progress the development over Interstate 676 in Philadelphia into a strip of green parks and amenities running across the  city.

The building of Interstate 676 cut a boundary through the center of Philadelphia, dissecting north Philadelphia from Center City.  Although Interstate 676 has caused many issues for Philadelphia and its citizens, the way  it was built was actually a blessing. This project will not cost tens of billions of dollars like the  Big  Dig project in Boston. No tunnel will need to be dug. Interstate 676 is already below ground level, and  putting a cap over this highway is a much more feasible undertaking than other projects that have remedied the auto-centric development of past decades.

Imagine  the benefits of a capped  676. Similar projects across the country and world have increased the quality of life for citizens, increased surrounding property values, spurred development, and increased tax revenues for municipalities.

Cap 676 seeks to gather the opinions, needs, and  wants of the community of Philadelphia in order to crowd source the ideal vision for a capped Vine Street Expressway. The goal is to put together our minds, talents, and resources in order to turn this vision into a reality. Let’s put a green belt on the waist of Philadelphia!




 A new direct freeway connection to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge

The first phase of capping Interstate 676 has been funded and  approved, but many people believe that this phase should go further. As part of a $120 million PennDOT project to revamp the western section of Interstate 676, a small section of the highway will be capped. Although  this sounds great, and it is definitely better than nothing, it is definitely a missed opportunity. The project is focused on improving the auto bridges that run over the Vine Street Expressway. The section that is being capped is on the northwest corner of Logan Square, a public space that was dramatically impacted by the building of the highway. The top quarter of the park was turned into a highway canyon because of the auto-centric thinking of city planners decades ago.

 Steve Anderson's Vine Street Expressway Overview

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