An architecture critic writes about plans for a key intersection in North Philadelphia: "By all means, straighten out the street and make it safe, but keep the twists and turns that make this an authentic Philadelphia place."
Philadelphia Inquirer Architecture Critic Inga Saffron writes about the intersections of Erie Avenue and North Broad. "Like a real estuary, it is a place of churning energy and stunning diversity. Buildings in a half-dozen styles line the edges, holding the sprawling crossroads in check and giving it an almost piazza-like feel," writes Saffron, who admits that this intersection is a favorite in a city full of beautiful and vibrant intersections.
After describing the current state of neglect that mars the intersection, despite its beloved vitality and energy, Saffron reports that the city is preparing to remake the entire intersection, from the street to the surrounding buildings.
While it has taken far too long, the city is finally getting ready to give the community hub at Broad and Erie the attention it deserves. Last week, officials launched a multi-department initiative to reconfigure the complex intersection [pdf] and make it safer. The goal is to claw back excess asphalt for pedestrians and transit riders. Also on the city’s to-do list is helping property owners fix up their buildings as a first step in strengthening the Germantown Avenue shopping corridor. Ideally, Broad and Erie could end up feeling more like a town square and less like a highway interchange.
Saffron provides a ton of detail about the intersection and the design proposals that are on the table. The article also includes a lot of photo documentation to illustrate the current status of the area and its potential future.
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