The Reading Viaduct, which carried trains into Center City for almost 100 years, is an elevated train track that transects north of the traditional boundary of Center City. When I visited the Reading Viaduct and heard that this place is going be changed to an elevated linear park, I was so excited and imagined the future view of beautifully changed park. The project is similar to the High Line in Manhattan that is also an elevated linear park renovated from the former elevated New York Central Railroad. Some people may opposed the idea because of the similarity, but the High Line is a successful example of reusing abandoned railroad and I think turning to the park is a best idea for the Reading Viaduct considering the place itself and its neighborhood. It may cost a lot but I assume that the park will become a landmark of the area and be used by many people both from the around neighbor and visitors.
One of expected results by reusing of the site as a park is redevelopment of the surrounding neighborhoods. The Reading Viaduct is located in the north of center city. Even though the district is just north of center city, it is far from center city by walk and it keeps people walking in the center city from visiting this area. And the feeling of the area is kind of dark and undeveloped. Many old and dusty buildings are existed and it was hard to find green spaces near the area. By reusing the Reading Viaduct as a park, the neighborhood will become bright, developed, and be filled with many visitors. The future park will solve the above problems and contribute to the redevelopment of the neighborhood district.
The other expected result is an economic benefit. Economic benefit of adaptive reuse of the site as a park compare to demolish it is approximately between $30.5 million and $46.1 million. The study, operated by the City of Philadelphia, analyzed the cost to demolish the Viaduct compared to the cost of reclaiming the Viaduct for use as a linear park. Conducted by Urban Engineers, the study concluded that the estimated cost to demolish the Viaduct was almost 10 times greater than the cost to address existing environmental concerns and redevelop the structure into a park. Development as a park and recreational pathway, including landscaping, benches, access ramps and staircases, was estimated to cost $5.1 million, whereas demolition of the structure was estimated to cost between $35.5 million and $51.2 million.
Though this place is little far from center city so that the accessibility may not that good, the project will succeed and it will make good results of developing the neighborhood area and economic benefit. But it needs to be considered to protect and use the natural resources on the site prior to the renovation.