Concepts for an expanded park were presented at EPX Civic’s virtual monthly meeting. Check out the renderings!
By Sequoia Medley for the Passyunk Post
Bryan Fenstermaker, Executive Director of the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation (PARC), discussed the results of last fall’s Singing Fountain community survey at the Monday, March 1st general membership meeting of the East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association (EPX). He also shared conceptual renderings of an expanded and redesigned space for public feedback.
With the singing fountain in need of structural repair, PARC surveyed area residents to see how the public space is currently used, and what neighbors might like to see in terms of improvement for the space as a whole. The short and open-ended survey was open October 5th through December 10th, 2020 and was designed to solicit as many ideas from as many residents as possible.
In the survey report, available on the PARC website, responses are grouped into themes to better explore what the neighborhood would like to see in our “town square.”
The majority of respondents were local residents who reside in the surrounding 19147 and 19148 ZIP code area.
Most respondents viewed the Singing Fountain’s function as a community gathering space and desired changes that provided more seating, accessibility, and safety.
The most popular “dream” for the Singing Fountain was the extension of the plaza (20.6%). Many people suggested absorbing parking lanes or driving lanes. Some envisioned extending the plaza to the sidewalks of adjoining surrounding businesses and allowing restaurants to utilize the plaza for seating.
PARC is dedicated to providing the most inviting and comfortable space for the neighborhood as possible and is committed to responding to neighborhood outreach as they consider the space.
Based on the survey feedback, PARC commissioned Bryan Hanes to create a concept design utilizing additional space surrounding the fountain.
In the proposed design, the fountain remains as the focal point of the parklet while allowing more people to utilize this communal space.
Features of the redesign:
- Traffic/speed tables (raised crosswalks) to slow traffic and allow safer access to the space.
- A larger plaza that can be more easily enclosed for street festivals.
- Modular tables and chairs.
- ADA accessible corners.
- Large planters that will host shade-providing trees and double as additional seating.
As with most community meetings, the issue of parking was raised. Fenstermaker was prepared with information showing there are currently only five legal spaces surrounding the park. He also provided photographic evidence showing the same vehicles repeatedly utilizing these spots for days at a time, negating their benefit to surrounding businesses. PARC does not have the authority to change the time limit of the spaces as they are currently zoned.
In addition to the parking concerns, community members had questions about pedestrian safety, retention of the existing trees, and the materials of the roadway. Although encouraged by the community response, Fenstermaker stressed that these renderings are just the beginning of a process that will take years to realize. There is currently no funding for this project and no work approvals have been granted.
Fenstermaker was scheduled to present the report the following day to the Passyunk Square Civic Association.