The Move to Remake Maplewood Mall, See Plans at September 9 Public Meeting

After two years of planning, the City of Philadelphia is moving forward with efforts to revitalize Maplewood Mall in Germantown. A public meeting and presentation of draft alternatives for the reconstruction project will be held on Tuesday, September 9 from 7pm to 8:30pm at First Presbyterian Church at 35 West Chelten Avenue.

Attendees will have the opportunity to provide comment and help steer the design of Mall, which is located just off of Armat Street, between Germantown Avenue and Greene Street.

There has been much excitement about this latest opportunity to revitalize the street. Just how much excitement? Here’s six seconds from the first Re-imagining Maplewood Mall block party which was held on June 22, 2013.

The failed urban Mall was conceived in the 1970s as a mixed-use pedestrian street. That didn’t quite work out as planned, for a number of reasons. The flow of cars and pedestrians is but one problem. General maintenance and crumbling infrastructure is another chronic issue. Bradley Maule at Hidden City Philadelphia offers an overview of all that went wrong.

Weeds and more weeds pop through the brick sidewalk. Photo by Emaleigh Doley. July 25, 2014.

Weeds and more weeds pop through the brick sidewalk. Photo by Emaleigh Doley. July 25, 2014.

Neighbors in Germantown plotting what they'd like to see improve in Maplewood Mall. Photo by Emaleigh Doley. June 22,2013.

Neighbors in Germantown plotting what they’d like to see improve in Maplewood Mall. Photo by Emaleigh Doley. June 22,2013.

Photo by Emaleigh Doley. April 10, 2014.

Photo by Emaleigh Doley. April 10, 2014.

In May 2014, it was announced that Whitman, Requardt & Associates (WRA) will serve as the design and engineering team, alongside LRSLA Studio who was selected as the landscape architects for the project. WRA “most recently led the design and engineering for the conversion of the Manayunk Bridge from an abandoned rail bridge to the City’s first pedestrian/bicycle-only crossing of the Schuylkill River” (currently under construction). LRSLA Studio’s work will also be familiar to many. Recent public space projects include The Porch at 30th Street Station and Hawthorne Park in South Philadelphia.

press release issued by Matt Wysong and the Philadelphia City Planning Commission noted that:
“The City seeks to go beyond just a bricks and mortar reconstruction of the street and engage in a “placemaking” project. Through review of community visioning, consideration of previous studies, and the injection of professional expertise, the consultant team will provide a design that will create a framework for the reinvention of the Mall into a vibrant and successful urban space.
This project is unique in its inter-agency collaboration. The City’s project team includes 8th District Councilwoman Cindy Bass, Department of Commerce, Parks & Recreation, City Planning Commission, Capital Projects Office, and Department of Streets. The project will be paid for using Department of Commerce neighborhood commercial corridor capital funding.
The scope of professional services shall include: preliminary, final design and construction documents for bidding. The Consultant Team will consider various alternatives for realigning and reconfiguring the roadway and plazas, traffic restrictions on the Mall, the functionality of spaces for events and pedestrian use, sustainable design practices, the provision of parking, maintaining access for loading and drop off, the incorporation of site specific public art, the possibility of new development parcels, and the use of construction materials and methods that allow for easy maintenance and repair in the future… Design and engineering are anticipated for completion in May of 2015. Construction will commence following an additional bid process.”
Contact: Matt Wysong, Philadelphia City Planning Commission, 215.683.4650

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