The leaders of a nonprofit planning group are seeking the public's ideas to improve Spring Garden Street for pedestrians, motorists, cyclists, residents, and businesses.
"We want to make Spring Garden Street the best street in Philadelphia," said Patrick Starr, executive vice president of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. "We're trying to push the envelope here to do something beyond the norm."
The Pennsylvania Environmental Council is a statewide nonprofit group dedicated to protecting and restoring "natural and built environments through innovation, collaboration, education, and advocacy," officials said.
"We're inviting people to come to a public meeting to share their concerns, the problems they have . . . with the way the street currently functions and to share their dreams, hopes, and ideas," Starr said.
Spring Garden Street was chosen for the greenway project after a feasibility study examined how to best connect Philadelphia's two riverfronts. About a 2.5-mile stretch of Spring Garden Street runs from the Schuylkill to the Delaware.
Starr said the "greenway" would include sustainable initiatives to make the street more environmentally friendly.
The public is encouraged to bring ideas to the Pennsylvania Environmental Council's next project meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the German Society of Pennsylvania, 611 Spring Garden St.
"We are constantly looking at how to make our streets work better for travelers and the adjacent communities," Mayor Nutter said in a statement.
"The development of the Spring Garden Street Greenway is a tremendous opportunity for the street to work better for all travelers and a great link between our two rivers," Nutter said.
Starr said that his group hoped to have preliminary ideas by January and that the planning process would run into the summer.
"We're going to be looking at . . . the configuration of the crosswalks, the intersections, the traffic signalization," Starr said. "We're also going to be looking at amenities like lighting, greening, and tree planting."
Starr said that among the possible ideas would be widening the median and possibly moving bike lanes to the median.
He said that there is no funding for any changes to the street. Starr said that when ideas are developed, the group will seek money from various local, state, and federal agencies.
"Once you have a good idea what the costs are, you try to put together the funds to make it a reality," Starr said.
He described Spring Garden Street as "more of a breaking point between Center City and the neighborhoods to the north."
"What we really want is for Spring Garden to become a hub of activity that combines transportation, recreation, and economic development so that you have a much more vibrant street, a place where people want to go and be."