Street Smarts

Our business corridor’s sharper these days, thanks to a tireless band of process wonks & local leaders who refused to give up on safety fixes & more curb parking at a busy stretch of Ridge. 

eastfallslocal-10-19-ridge-new-crosswalk-free-parking-text

What a gorgeous day for a ribbon cutting! We made time to meet up with Sharon Jaffe, chair of the board of EFDC and quite a Who’s Who of East Falls’ business and leadership. Maybe it was the weather, but this gathering seemed remarkably joyful for a civic formality.

Inn Yard Park was ablaze with Fall color so we took a bunch of pictures and even attempted an “Abbey Road” photo shoot on Ridge Avenue in rush hour. I guess folks get a little cocky when they feel they’ve achieved the impossible.

eastfallslocal-11-15-cross-walk-gina-jim-sharon-sign
Sharon (center) with Gina Snyder (l) and Carolyn Sutton (r)

“Well yeah, ” Carolyn Sutton told us, “We’ve all been working on this crosswalk for years! So many times it almost went ahead — almost! — but then got shot down at the last minute!”

“Since 2004,” Sharon Jaffe added, “It was frustrating. We faced opposition from some neighbors who had asked for the upgrades in the first place. Fortunately, as new families moved here & got involved, we were able to slowly but surely push improvements forward.”

Jim Williamson, Brian Beard, Marilyn Shaeffer
Jim Williamson, Brian Beard, Marilyn Shaffer

She’s hopeful for the new changes she sees coming to East Falls — to our business community, our schools, and for nature and the environment as well. “This crosswalk and curb cut-outs are small parts of big plans Philadelphia has for connecting East Falls better to our river and the Wissahickon.”

We asked Sharon for a run-down of EFDC’s 12-year effort to get us a crosswalk at Stanton & Ridge (and ten 2-hour parking spots along Inn Yard Park):

Thanks for coming out to EFDC’s “official'” gathering for the new Ridge Ave. set in parking & crosswalk.  As you heard from the business folks present, parking can make or break a small business in East Falls.

The crosswalk is an added plus for the safety of all of the residents, especially kids, who are now out and about in East Falls using the Inn Yard Park more than ever.

In fact, the crosswalk idea came about because of two little girls I used to see ride down Stanton on their way to Inn Yard. They’d wait for a clearing in the traffic on Ridge. Given the blindspot from parked cars, you can understand how nervous I was for them safely crossing such a busy road. 

eastfallslocal-11-15-cross-walk-around-the-sign-angle-sign-pm-again-zoom
Nazaarah Sabree (Dept. of Commerce), Gina Snyder, Sharon Jaffe, Hassan Ghahremani, Carolyn Sutton, Hassan’s colleague, Brian Beard’s colleague, Brian Beard (Allstate Insurance), Jim Williamson (Slices Pizza), Marilyn Shaffer, Josh Cohen (Councilman Jones’ office), Jasmine Fields (Trolley Car Cafe)

As for the parking cutouts, there are many people who were a part of getting it accomplished:

Curtis Jones, Jr. and Josh Cohen and the terrific team from the City of Philadelphia offices of Mayor Kenney,

Managing Director Michael DiBerardinis,

Commerce Dept. represented by Nazaarah Sabree

Public Property Commissioner Bridget Collins-Greenwald,  represented by Marcus Allen

Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell,

Streets Department Acting Commissioner Michael Carroll.

eastfallslocal-11-15-with-bill-and-mary-jane-zoom-resize
Marilynn, Carolyn, Marcus Allen (Dept. of Public Property), Gina, Jim, Doug Grom (Edward Jones), Sharon, Mary Jane Fullam (EFCC), Jasmine, Bill Epstein (EFCC), Brian

In addition, the Philadelphia Parking Authority, and Hunt Engineering and General Contractor Petrongolo.

Special thanks to Marcus Allen, Stephanie Craighead, Charles Mottershead, David Dlugosz, and John Hawkins who each contributed their unique talents to keep the process moving and make things happen.

And of course from the EFDC office Gina Snyder, who with unflagging optimism and courtesy coordinated efforts.

eastfallslocal-collage-attempting-abbey-road-at-rush-hour-fail-smile

This set-in parking & crosswalk at Ridge and Stanton has been a long time coming — I did a quick check in my files and found the Community Design Collaborative plan that had previously been accepted by the community was dated in 2004 (development of the plan probably took 12 – 18 months). 

The Community Design Collaborative had been invited into the community by the Friends of Inn Yard Park with all the major community stakeholders and organizations participating in a task force to develop an overall approach to the Inn Yard Park.  Stakeholders specifically included some of the folks not from East Falls who used the basketball courts.

— Sharon Jaffe

eastfallslocal-inn-yard-site-plan

Sharon also shared a fact worth noting: the parking spaces are clustered as far away from the nearby residences as possible. Many felt spreading them out more (as this earlier rendering shows) would’ve been ideal, but near neighbors refused to sign off on CDC’s plan until it moved any and all possible noise-making activity as far from the adjacent residences as possible.

Here’s to patient resolve in the face of opposition wherever the public good is concerned! Tip of the hat to all these East Falls leaders and organizers for enduring marathons of meetings for 12 years so we can all walk a little safer, park a little easier now.

eastfallslocal-collage-attempting-abbey-road-at-rush-hour-fail-txt

 

 

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.