The Future of the Reading Viaduct: First Renderings Released

Aside from rehabbing the Divine Lorraine Hotel, the Reading Viaduct has to be one of the most anticipated overhauls in Philadelphia right now.

Over the past few years, a large number of bloggers, photographers and restoration advocates have snuck onto the abandoned railway to highlight its potential for a new public space, one that would undoubtedly be unlike any other park in Philadelphia.

The widespread interest has given way to a bit of a grassroots movement, with groups like The Reading Viaduct Project solely dedicated to turning the SEPTA-owned property into a “unique elevated linear park.”

Hidden City recently reported that the train rails were removed from the viaduct and now Center City District has just released renderings for a possible re-purposing of the property, which may point to an overhaul sometime in the near future. Executive Director of the Center City District, Paul Levy, told reporters that the first phase of the restoration would focus on a quarter-mile stretch of the viaduct in order to gauge the economic feasibility of extending the rehab further.

Sarah McEneaney, co-founder of the Reading Viaduct Project, claims that redeveloping the viaduct would be much less expensive than the estimated $50 million it would take to demolish the railway.

Though no official plans have been announced, this current proposal definitely seems in keeping with local advocates’ vision, as the elevated park would offer trees, landscaping, seating and outdoor classrooms for workshops or public events.

Check out more renderings below courtesy of Center City District:

You can download Center City District’s entire plan here (PDF).

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