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.

Preservation Updates

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PennEnvironment released a new report today revealing that pristine areas in the Allegheny National Forest could be at risk of logging and gas-drilling if bills moving through the U.S. Congress are signed into law. The new report, "Trashing our Treasures: Congressional Assault on the Best of America," exposes a startling trend of legislative attacks on our nation’s treasured places, like the Allegheny National Forest.

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Report | PennEnvironment

Trashing Our Treasures: Congressional Assault on the Best of America

National parks, forests and public lands are essential for maintaining healthy ecosystems, safeguarding our waterways, cleaning up the air we breathe, protecting wildlife habitat, and providing opportunities for Americans to connect with the outdoors. This report showcases treasured places across the country at risk of resource exploitation and development if attacks on our public lands are signed into law.

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Pennsylvania Budget a Mixed Bag on the Environment

As the dust settled on a sprint-like finish to state budget passage, citizen-based environmental group PennEnvironment judged the outcome as a mixed bag for the Commonwealth’s environment.

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Editorial: Administration right to protect one of nature's wonders

American treasures such as the canyon touch at our identity. To tear at them, however gently, is to tear at our national soul.

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