Context - Fall 2016 - 27


PHOTO: MONTGOMERY COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION

9th Street Station in Lansdale

Temple and University City) often require more than simply replacing
the previous iteration of infrastructure in kind.  For example, new SEPTA
vehicles could enable faster loading on high-level platforms than the
current vehicles by having wider doors. 
Vine Street Bridges.  Though several of the bridges over the Vine
Street expressway are currently being rebuilt, there is very little incremental improvement in the project. When done, they will function
much as they had over the past 50 years, except they will no longer be
in danger of falling down.  This replacement in kind approach assumes
that the current design and configuration is acceptable.  They are not.
Vine Street serves as a barrier between Center City and areas north.
Capping the expressway and improving the parallel surface roads would
significantly improve the urban experience and make the land along the
road more valuable.  Increased property values would contribute, albeit
indirectly, to paying for the work via increased property tax revenue.
Trails.  The regional trail system for biking and walking is a prime
example of economic development infrastructure.  The trail system is
primarily useful for recreation and enjoyment, which is justification
enough for building civic infrastructure.  However, the trails are also
economic development because they are the type of amenity valued by
much of the workforce, and attracting and keeping a capable workforce
is essential for modern economies.  Though the current trail system is

funded in bits and pieces by grants and local capital awards, it would
make sense to create a region-wide funding authority to sell bonds
and build the system in an orderly manner. Since the entire economy
benefits, even if not everyone uses it, it is reasonable to fund out of
general revenues or economic development funds.
Ports.  In contrast to trails, ports are a narrowly focused type of
infrastructure.  A good port allows transshipment of goods and enables
industries that thrive on transfer points, such as storage and logistics,
which helps drive employment in those industries.  However, ports
bring few ancillary benefits in the sense of making the region a more
enjoyable place to live.  There is also the question of whether ports are
the highest and best use of potentially valuable waterfront property.
Accordingly, port funding is more appropriately narrow in focus and
should fall more directly on the beneficiaries of the infrastructure. 
Maintenance, efficiency, and pricing all matter when it comes to infrastructure investment. Investment can improve the lives of the region's
residents, especially if they are thought through appropriately. As we
invest, we should think carefully about how we want the future to look,
and choose investments that make that idea a reality. ■
Dr. Peter Angelides is a principal at Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI) and a member
of the teaching faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.

AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2016 27



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Context - Fall 2016

Editors’ Letter
Community
Up Close
Expression
Design Profiles
Marketplace
Index to Advertisers
Mayor Kenney’s Infrastructure Policy
Green Infrastructure in Philadelphia: The Reading Viaduct Rail Park
Streets: They’re Not Just for Cars Any More
Context - Fall 2016 - ebelly1
Context - Fall 2016 - ebelly2
Context - Fall 2016 - cover1
Context - Fall 2016 - cover2
Context - Fall 2016 - 3
Context - Fall 2016 - 4
Context - Fall 2016 - Editors’ Letter
Context - Fall 2016 - Community
Context - Fall 2016 - 7
Context - Fall 2016 - 8
Context - Fall 2016 - 9
Context - Fall 2016 - Up Close
Context - Fall 2016 - 11
Context - Fall 2016 - Mayor Kenney’s Infrastructure Policy
Context - Fall 2016 - 13
Context - Fall 2016 - 14
Context - Fall 2016 - 15
Context - Fall 2016 - Green Infrastructure in Philadelphia: The Reading Viaduct Rail Park
Context - Fall 2016 - 17
Context - Fall 2016 - 18
Context - Fall 2016 - 19
Context - Fall 2016 - Streets: They’re Not Just for Cars Any More
Context - Fall 2016 - 21
Context - Fall 2016 - 22
Context - Fall 2016 - 23
Context - Fall 2016 - 24
Context - Fall 2016 - 25
Context - Fall 2016 - 26
Context - Fall 2016 - 27
Context - Fall 2016 - Expression
Context - Fall 2016 - 29
Context - Fall 2016 - Design Profiles
Context - Fall 2016 - 31
Context - Fall 2016 - 32
Context - Fall 2016 - 33
Context - Fall 2016 - 34
Context - Fall 2016 - 35
Context - Fall 2016 - 36
Context - Fall 2016 - Marketplace
Context - Fall 2016 - Index to Advertisers
Context - Fall 2016 - cover3
Context - Fall 2016 - cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/AIPQ/AIPQ0416
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/AIPQ/AIPQ0316
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/AIPQ/AIPQ0216
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/AIPQ/AIPQ0116
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/AIPQ/AIPQ0415
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/AIPQ/AIPQ0315
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com