The Reading Viaduct: Philly’s park in the sky
Imagine a green oasis just minutes from Center City Philadelphia — a place where you could go for a relaxing walk, eat a quiet lunch, or read a book while surrounded by nature and simultaneously enjoying fantastic views of the city. This vision can become a reality if we can convince Reading International, the company that owns most of the Reading Viaduct elevated railway and has let it sit abandoned for decades, to donate the Viaduct to the city to be transformed into a cutting-edge park.
We can transform blight into Philly’s next great park
The Reading Viaduct is a nearly mile-long stretch of elevated railroad tracks that run through the Callowhill and West Poplar neighborhoods of Philadelphia near Chinatown, Spring Garden, and North Broad Street. These long-abandoned railroad tracks currently illustrate the problem of urban blight — yet the tracks are ripe with potential.
By transforming the 30-foot wide train trestle into an elevated park, Philadelphia could add 300,000 square feet of green space to the city. This would be a historic urban greening project, improving the quality of life for everyone who lives in, works in, or visits Philadelphia.
There is already a proven model for the Reading Viaduct project. New York City recently transformed a similar section of elevated railroad tracks into the renowned High Line Park. The park received 2 million visitors in its first year alone, and is beloved by residents and tourists alike.
The Reading Viaduct Park is a smart investment
Not only would creating a park add much-needed urban green space, but it makes perfect economic sense as well. It would actually be cheaper to transform the Viaduct into a park than to demolish it. Furthermore, the High Line has added $2 billion to New York City’s economy and created 12,000 permanent jobs.
This is a great investment in Philadelphia’s future, and it’s right within our reach. We must take advantage of this unique and exciting opportunity to continue Philly’s legacy of outstanding parks.
With your activism and our advocacy, we can make the Reading Viaduct Park a reality
The city is already in the early planning stages to create a park on a small section of the Viaduct owned by SEPTA. But this SEPTA-owned portion only represents about 10% of the Viaduct’s total area. The rest is owned by Reading International, a California-based company that has let the Viaduct sit abandoned and decaying for decades. This blight slicing through the surrounding community has made it hard for neighborhoods to grow and improve.
In order to make the Viaduct Park a reality, the city needs to acquire the remaining 90% of the land from Reading International. That’s why we need to convince Reading International to donate the Viaduct to the city of Philadelphia.
Together, our activism and advocacy are a powerful combination. We need you to get involved if we’re going to make the Reading Viaduct Park a reality. If enough of us speak out, we can make this smart investment in Philadelphia’s future.
- The Reading Viaduct is almost a mile long and could add about 300,000 square feet of green space to a densely urban area just north of Center City Philadelphia.
- Transforming the entire Viaduct into an elevated park would cost about $37 million — but it would cost $50 million to demolish the Viaduct.
- The High Line, a park built on a similar stretch of abandoned elevated railroad tracks in New York City, brought $2 billion in private investments into the city and created 12,000 permanent jobs. It also attracted two million visitors in its first year alone.