The EFDC has Design Guidelines for Facades and Signs. Here are also some examples of the use of neon and iconic signs to set a design image for Business District
What makes a good Main Street work?
Last week I participated in a terrific conference called From Main Street to Eco-Districts: Greening Our Communities, hosted by a chapter of the American Institute for Architects in Corning, New York. Held a block off of Corning’s own, magnificent “Main Street” (actually named Market Street), and including many of the people who have helped make that street so successful, the conference started me thinking about the whole idea of Main Streets and what makes the best of them such delights to experience.
I have written at length about Main Streets before, most notably in an article in February 2013 addressing both the metaphorical and literal manifestations of the phenomenon, and lamenting that they seem to be a thing of the past in much of America; in that article I highlighted Sandy Sorlein’s evocative photos of principal shopping streets in small-town America, many of them mere ghosts of their past glory. (More recently, I wrote ofa notable adaptive reuse of an older, formerly vacant retail building on Rutland, Vermont’s Main Street.)
While some Main Streets seem well past their prime, others – like Corning’s – remain thriving to this day. Why? A lot of it has to do with the towns and cities in which they are located, of course; it’s hard to have a well-functioning Main Street in a down-and-out community. But there are also elements of design and context that matter. What are they? The answers matter to sustainability, because traditional Main Streets tend to have central locations and good walkability, both of which reduce carbon and other emissions associated with driving; over time, they also recycle land, buildings and infrastructure.
Here is an attempt to set forth some key elements that I believe can make Main Streets more likely to thrive:
1. A superior pedestrian experience. Main Streets are for walking, browsing, lingering; while they should also be efficient for those looking for a particular item at, for example, a particular pharmacy or hardware store, they have to be highly walkable to succeed. This leads to a lot of potential design features, including ample sidewalks; convenient, well-highlighted crosswalks; vehicle traffic at calm speeds; entertaining,transparent storefronts abutting or very close to the sidewalk; relatively short block lengths; in particularly hot climates, shading.
Motor vehicle traffic is very, very important: I think some of it is actually helpful to the experience, particularly if it draws customers to the street’s businesses and uses on-street parking, with the effect of buffering walkers from moving vehicles. Yet too much of it will kill the feel of the street for walkers. In particular, there should not be too many lanes of moving traffic so as to make street crossings inconveniently long; in most cases, two lanes of moving traffic, one in each direction, should be enough.
2. Density, but at human scale. A Main Street won’t be walkable without a significant minimum density. Yet it shouldn’t be overwhelming, leading to both vehicular and pedestrian congestion, diminishing the pleasure of a leisurely stroll and blocking light. Victor Dover and John Massengale, in their epic and highly recommended book Street Design, write eloquently about the best ratios of building height to street width. Personally, I like a mixture of building heights ranging from two to about eight or so stories. It’s all situational, of course: Fifth Avenue in New York City is a Main Street of sorts and can be terribly exciting for the pedestrian; but a two-story building would be way, way out of place there. That noted, Fifth Avenue is not the kind of smaller-scale, true “Main Street” I’m trying to describe today.
3. Viable local businesses. This one is tricky. So many macro- and micro-economic forces are stacked up against local businesses that I find it remarkable that some do, in fact, survive and thrive. Yet a “Main Street” with only chain stores and no locals (imagine the sort of “lifestyle centers,” outdoor shopping malls, really, that wereemerging in the last decade) won’t feel sufficiently authentic to provide a rewarding experience. Some chains are fine, I think; it’s not the 19th century anymore. But not too many.
And, while we’re on the subject of locality and authenticity, I must add that the best Main Streets I tend to encounter are found in places that have a bit of history to them (see my recent article on legacy architecture and continuity of place), and a local economy boosted at least in part by tourism. Corning’s Market Street feels that way: I patronized two restaurants and an art gallery on the street in my two days there, all local businesses; each time, the clientele seemed a mixture of locals and visitors.
I should add that, although a successful Main Street need not be historic, it does seem to help if it is. Dover and Massengale’s Street Designdevotes some 35 pages explicitly to Main Streets, with about as many photos; by my count, all but two (excluding illustrative drawings) are of historic streets. (The historic buildings are almost always repurposed, but the architectural fabric remains.) Yet one can find what I might call neo-Main Streets in newer developments, too. The highly successful suburban retrofit Bethesda Row includes a Main-Street-like environment that is exceptionally pleasant; so does the new (and beautiful) Atlanta infill neighborhood Glenwood Park, for which Dover’s firm served as master planners, though the shopping area there is not quite mature. But I think some degree of local businesses may be essential.
4. Nature. In a shopping district, a little bit of nature can go a long way. Some urbanist designers I know are fond of pointing to historic districts internationally (Florence, for instance), that have almost no greenery downtown. Ah, but look closely and one will see window boxes; hanging baskets of flowers; trees here and there. Our innatebiophilic instinct is so strong that humans will find a way to add nature to even the most man-made of places. I maintain that cities need visible and functional nature, and Corning incorporates it beautifully in its street trees. Without them Market Street would not feel nearly so pleasant and alive. Corning also has a small square and park at the heart of the shopping strip.
5. Nearby residences. This is part of walkability, I suppose: I think it helps tremendously if there are residences right on a Main Street, ideally including apartments on the upper floors above the commercial storefronts. (I’m not sure if this is the case in Corning.) But the idea is to have enough residents living nearby to provide a steady clientele to the businesses. They can be supplemented, of course, by patrons who travel to the Main Street and walk once they are there, or by workers in nearby offices; but, if there are no residents at all living close enough to walk, I’m not sure you have a true Main Street. You have something akin to a quaintly designed shopping center.
So that’s what I came up with. I’m curious what others might add to or subtract from the list.
The National Main Street Center, interestingly, avoids a definition or list of preferred characteristics for successful Main Streets. Rather the Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, stresses such streets’ importance, and the organization’s program for revitalizing older commercial districts:
“We all know where our Main Streets are, but do we know what they are and why they matter? Whether they are named First Avenue or Water Street or Martin Luther King Boulevard, what they represent is universal. Main Street is the economic engine, the big stage, the core of the community. Our Main Streets tell us who we are and who we were, and how the past has shaped us. We do not go to bland suburbs or enclosed shopping malls to learn about our past, explore our culture, or discover our identity. Our Main Streets are the places of shared memory where people still come together to live, work, and play.
“So what is Main Street? The phrase has been used to describe everything from our nostalgic past to our current economic woes, but when we talk about Main Street®, we are thinking of real places doing real work to revitalize their economies and preserve their character. Specifically, Main Street® is three things: a proven strategy for revitalization, a powerful network of linked communities, and a national support program that leads the field.”
The most important process elements for a successful Main Street revitalization are elucidated, in part, by a set of ten “national accreditation standards of performance,” each fleshed out with narrative discussion on the Main Street Center’s website. Corning, incidentally, was one of the first communities to participate in the Main Street program when the National Trust began its work on the issue decades ago.
Many cities and towns have detailed Main Street design guidelines, and the state of Oregon offers a 105-page handbook on public infrastructure helpful to supporting good Main Streets. Dover and Massengale’s Street Design mostly teaches by detailing several examples of great Main Streets, but also includes a two-page set of design guidelines from retail expert Robert Gibbs on such matters as storefront design, signage, awnings (ten points on awnings alone!), sidewalks, street furniture, and lighting.
Dover and Massengale are at their best, however, when they sum up the essence of the Main Street experience in a single paragraph:
“While main streets vary, one thing is constant: a successful main street in a sustainable, walkable town or city is a place where people want to get out of their cars and explore. There are many factors that contribute to that, including things to do (like shopping or going to a concert), interesting sites to look at (including people – we like to people-watch), and a level of physical and psychic comfort. As we walk along, we like to feel safe and secure. Beauty is also important to making a place where we want to be.”
I can’t express it any better than that. Corning’s Market Street is a great example. One could do a lot worse than emulating it, with the above five concepts in mind.
All photos are of Corning, New York, ©2014 by F. Kaid Benfield.
Kaid Benfield is special counsel for urban solutions at the Natural Resources Defense Council. This blog also appeared on NRDC Switchboard. Kaid’s latest book is People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities.
We have a landing plan for East Falls. This river landing would be built upriver from the Falls Bridge. It has been engineered and is a great plan to get paddlers onto the River. Let's build it!
for more information on Soak It Up! click on above link
To Sign Up...
New Sign at Majors Market!
Zoning variance granted for 4207 Ridge Ave.
More Parking along Ridge Avenue coming!
Thanks to the support of Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr., more parking will be coming to the Riverfront Business District along Ridge Avenue. Ten new spaces are being planned for the 4200 block of Ridge Avenue at the Inn Yard Park.
The parallel parking would be where the temporary trees are along the Inn Yard Park. At most, a sliver of the park would be used to so that there is enough sidewalk.
"Rivage" site - 4300 Ridge Avenue
The Redevelopment Authority has selected Onion Flats to develop this great site.
Here is a brief summary of the proposal. Ridge Flats, as the Onion Flats proposal is named, is led by Tim McDonald, President of Onion Flats. They are planning126 residential apartments over 8700 sq. ft of retail along Ridge Avenue. 138 parking spaces. The project is distinguished by its intention to become Philadelphia’s first Net-Zero-energy mixed use community and the country’s largest - this means net zero energy consumption and net zero carbon emissions annually, with all energy required for heating cooling, lighting and domestic hot water generated on site.
The East Falls Development Corporation put out a call to select artists requesting proposals for fish-themed eco-art to be installed in the East Falls Riverfront Business District. The EFDC partnered with Manayunk development Corporation and the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education as part of the 'Destination Schuylkill River' initiative seeking to bring awareness of the Schuylkill River through public eco-themed art. Each location developed its own unique approach to the initiative.
Residents have grown to recognize and love the fish-theme as an identifier for the neighborhood and we seek to strengthen this connection through this public art project. What makes the art eco? The EFDC requested that each piece be made of reused, recycled or natural materials or be otherwise environmentally sound. If lighting is incorporated, we requested the use of solar powered LED's,
Lynn Denton was the first of the six artists chosen to install eco-art throughout the East falls riverfront Business District. Her mosaic interpretation of the Five Fishes can be seen on the 4100 block of Ridge Ave., across from Franco's. Marguerita Hagan was the second artist to install fish-themed eco-art. She has installed three repurposed aluminum wire catfish that are swimming along a wall at the corner of Ridge Ave. and calumet street. As the sun moves throughout the day, the shadows cast give the illusion of movement. The third artist to install is Sandra Webberking. Sandra Has installed a fish-themed bike rack of repurposed metal along the Inn Yard Park at Stanton Street. The fourth installation is a pinwheel by Mike Smash and Juan Dimida, created from repurposed street signs. The cut-outs are of the five indigenous fish of our section of the Schuylkill River...American Shad, Common Carp, Smallmouth Bass, the Catfish and Yellow Perch.
Lynn Denton: Check out the 4100 block of Ridge Ave. across from Franco's
Marguerita Hagan: Check out the corner of Ridge Ave and Calumet Street
Take a look at and make use of Sandra Webberking's fish-themed bike rack at the Inn Yard Park!
Mike Smash and Juan Dimida have installed a pinwheel created from repurposed street signage at the RiteAid on Midvale.
Frank hyder has created a repurposed pvc pipe, solar-lit sculpture. This latest addition to eco-art within the East Falls Riverfront Business District is temporarily installed at the Mason's building (4200 Ridge Ave.) Check him out at night!!
Commemorative Eco-Art plaques have been installed at the site of the currently installed artwork. The plaques identify the artist, funding, permissions and let people know that the each installation is part of a larger group of installed work within the East Falls Riverfront Business District that are helping to bring attention to our river and what we can do to help.
An open design conversation about Midvale Avenue from Ridge to Warden Drive was on the agenda for the EFCC meeting on Monday, Aug. 10. It received positive support and agreement to proceed. You can see the presentation here - we want your input. To see the presentation, click here. To give your input, go to this website and contribute to the blog.
For more information on East Falls Goes Green!, see below.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan
Web Survey and Resources
The Planning Commission is doing a Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan. They have hired a consultant and work is going on. They want to hear from you. Take the Survey about walking and biking and give your input about dangerous intersections: it is on their home page www.philaplanning.org.
Also, check out maps of where the bike crashes and pedestrian accidents are happening. For people in East Falls, look at maps labeled "Germantown and Chestnut Hill" and a part of East Falls is also in the "Upper North Philadelphia" maps. Go to the plan's web-site to see them: http://www.tooledesign.com/philadelphia/maps.php
The mission of the East Falls Development Corporation focuses on community-based revitalization. This means supporting economic development and related improvement efforts that benefit the residents of our neighborhood. The projects and ideas come from the neighborhood for the benefit of neighbors. Right now, we are working on several projects that grew out of community input and that are continually brought before the neighborhood as they are refined, either through other organizations, special meetings, or through meetings of the East Falls Community Council (EFCC). I wanted to take an opportunity to highlight a few of our projects to show the way in which they develop. If you can wade through the alphabet soup, you will see how many organizations, government agencies, elected officials and staff members it takes to make this Village! We greatly appreciate their efforts to support this community.
The Twin Bridges Public Art project. The need for this project became more obvious as plans to build the parking lot under the Twin Bridges developed. It was apparent upon closer examination that the Sports Murals had become aged and were deteriorating. Coincidentally, the Mural Arts Program (MAP), which originally had commissioned the Sports Murals, had become concerned about the condition of the murals and sought to improve the look of them. When we presented this notion at a meeting of the EFCC, community members supported pursuing a public arts project there. The EFCC’s Zoning and Land Use Committee then endorsed the EFDC’s structure of having a committee to review specific design ideas. This committee was open to volunteers. We worked with the MAP to solicit artists. The artists’ work was then displayed for the public to get input. The committee took that input and selected the artists. They are now working with the artists as the design is refined. Because of timing and weather, we have been informed by MAP that the project is scheduled for Spring ’09 installation.
The Bathey House. The Bathey House is the small building between Ridge Avenue and Kelly Drive, across from the parking lot at the Rte. 1 ramps. It is on Fairmount Park land and is controlled by the Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust. The building has been vacant for decades and was identified by the East Falls Riverfront Master Plan for renovation. The EFDC obtained an agreement from the FPHPT to work with us to obtain a developer who would renovate the building for the benefit of the neighborhood. The EFDC organized a committee that includes representatives from the East Falls Historical Society and the East Falls Business Association (EFBA), to review possible uses of the building. The committee created criteria for public amenities that include restrooms and information about the Schuylkill River Trail and the Riverfront Business District. The EFDC is currently working with a developer to renovate the building and has raised thousands of dollars in grants from the William Penn Foundation through the Schuylkill Project; the Department of Community and Economic Development, the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) through the Schuylkill River Greenway Association (SRGA), and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s Take Me to the River Grant program. We hope that the building will be renovated next year.
Gateway Pedestrian Island and Street Lights. This project will bring a pedestrian island with an “East Falls” sign on Midvale Avenue at Kelly Drive. Not only will it welcome visitors and create a landmark, but it will make it much easier and safer for bicycles, pedestrians and strollers to cross Midvale Avenue and Kelly Drive. This project also includes adding street lights on East River Road and changing the direction of that street behind the Fire Station to make it safer at the intersections. It will also be easier to get to. This project is the first phase of East Falls Reconnects to the River, the urban design for the Riverfront Business District. The design ideas came from a community charette and the plan was approved by the EFCC. The consultants for the plan were funded by the State DCNR through the SRGA which was an outgrowth of the Riverfront Master Plan. Funding for this project was secured from DVRPC’s Federal Transportation Enhancement Funds which come from PennDOT and through former Fourth District Councilwoman Carol Ann Campbell and the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative. This project is in the control of the Streets Department and is to be bid out this Fall/Winter.
The work of the EFDC would not be possible without the generous donation of time and other voluntary support from Board Members. These hard working board members include local residents as well as people who are appointed from their organizations that hold Representative Seats on the EFDC Board: Carolyn Sutton, President of Board; Sharon Jaffe, Vice President of the Board, EFCC Representative Seat; Gil Rowe, Board Treasurer; Vanessa Williams, Board Secretary, Resources for Human Development (RHD) Representative Seat; Lloyd Russow, Philadelphia University Representative Seat; Steven Ohm, The Pep Boys Representative Seat; Bill Ballou , Ridge Allegheny Hunting Park Representative Seat; Jim Williamson, EFBA Representative Seat; Daniel Bernstein, Nancy Karahuta, Edward DeLisle; Jeffrey Friedman, Esq.,; John Grady, Heidi Grunwald, Lorina Marshall-Blake, Matthew McClure Esq., Gregory O'Loughlin; Sandra Radich, and John Hawkins.
The East Falls Development Corporation is leading a project to build a Gateway Pedestrian Island with a sign in East Falls. This project brings together a number of community goals and plans, including creating an identity, a new wayfinding system, and pedestrian safety. See the design of the Gateway Island
This project is part of Phase I of the “East Falls Reconnects to the River,” plan. This Gateway Pedestrian Island and Sign will be located on Midvale Avenue where Midvale meets Kelly Drive. The funding for the island has been secured by the EFDC from federal transportation funds specifically designated for pedestrian improvements and from the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative. The Streets Department designed the pedestrian island, ensuring that it works with the flow of traffic and pedestrians.
The idea of the pedestrian island is simple – to provide a protected area where the pedestrian can safely cross a wide expanse of roadway. The pedestrian island will divide Midvale Avenue between the uphill and the downhill lanes. The island will be a very long narrow triangle, over 100 feet long and about 16 feet wide at its widest, at Kelly Drive. It will not change the number of traffic lanes. It will, however, calm traffic. The Sunoco Station will be reduced to have a single entrance/exit off of Midvale.As part of the project, the direction of East River Road will be changed in the block behind the fire Station.
Design professionals Tod Corlet and Mark Havens have taken the new East Falls logo and created a beautiful sign. The sign was desired to be moderately sized, to fit in with the island and surroundings. The sign will have a natural stone column in the center and curved metal that has the design cut out of it. It is designed to be weather resistant and vandal proof. The materials of metal and stone reflect our industrial heritage but pick up on the elegant design of the bridge railings from the logo. Behind the sign, placed in a long planted section, will be a series of curved metal elements that will reflect the railing design. The low rails and the plantings are designed to further pedestrian safety, diverting pedestrians from cutting across in midblock. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society will be designing the plantings so that they are harmonized with the sign.
The stone column of the sign will be illuminated at night, so the letters will visible, but the sign will not have internally-illuminated glowing faces or letters. Lighting will be the minimum brightness necessary to function and to compete with surrounding glare. The flat version of the sign does not reflect its true beauty.
Along with the pedestrian island, other changes are in the works. There will be pedestrian scale street lights on East River Road, the unlit road behind the post office and fire department. We have also secured pedestrian “count-down” signals in addition to new “hand and man” signals at the pedestrian island. This will create a strong sense that the pedestrian is welcome and alert vehicles to take caution for pedestrians. The section of East River Road behind the fire station will be changed in direction to lessen traffic confusion and calm the intersection as well.
Photos from the Nov., 4th 2011 East Falls Pedestrian Island Groundbreaking!!
We can do something to help our River
East Falls Goes GREEN!
The Schuylkill River rises quickly after it rains, bringing us high water and sometimes a flood. This is because upriver there has been so much pavement and building that rain water can't soak into the ground. Instead, it is funneled into pipes and sent to the River. The water is not filtered through the earth, and carries trash and car fluids that pollute our river. There are actions that can be taken that help with the water quality of the river and the fish and turtles who live in it.
East Falls was the subject of a special study to understand what we can do to improve the look of the community while trying to keep water from rushing to the River after a rain storm. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Philadelphia Water Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, Philadelphia University's Program in Landscape Architecture, and the East Falls Development Corporation teamed up to work with the community on design ideas. We have published a report, East Falls Model Stormwater Project. Take a look and see how you can do your part to help our beautiful Hidden River. A rain barrel, a new tree, or even some planters in the back yard are a great start.
The EFDC will be working with its partners to see what we can do for our public spaces and roads to make things better. This project was generously sponsored by the William Penn Foundation.
East Falls Goes GREEN!, an opportunity for community residents to take action that will help our river, is moving forward and conducting a series of workshops. This project is focusing on row home blocks in East Falls with the greatest area of impervious surface. Neighbors who want to take action can beautify their homes and blocks, raise their property value and, along the way, help the environment. ADD GREEN, ADD VALUE!
Alyssa Roho conducted the first workshop in the series. She is a dedicated and knowledgeable Philadelphia real estate professional with seven years experience in the area. She is an eco-broker and specializes in Feng Shui. She has posted a blog with lots of helpful information relating to our project and resources to make changes easier and more effective. www.alyssaroho.com
The second workshop was conducted by Dan Benarcik, a horticulturist specializing in "couture" container gardens with minimum maintenance. Dan Benarcik's work can be seen at Chanticleer in Wayne, PA.
Dan gave a wonderfully entertaining and knowledgeable presentation on the topic of Container Gardens!
Container gardens are window boxes, trellises, large containers or a grouping of smaller pots to create attractive Green space.
Two container gardens were given as door prizes to two lucky workshop participants! Dan demonstrated his talent and expertise in creating a container garden that through use of plant material (succulents) and soil would need less watering and a second with the use of marginal plants and compost that would hold water for a longer period of time. To learn more about the workshop click here
We have held four more workshops, on rain barrels (scroll down for rain barrel info.), Native Plants, Composting and Green Spacecare and Sarah Wu from the Mayor's Office of Sustainability talked to us about Greenworks Philadelphia.
The third workshop in the East Falls Goes GREEN! Series covered Native Plants. Native Plants
have evolved and adapted to local conditions over thousands of years. They are vigorous and hardy, so can survive winter cold and summer heat. Once established, they require no irrigation or fertilization and are resistant to most pests and diseases. Therefore, Native Plants suit people’s interest in "low-maintenance" gardening and landscaping, as well as provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies and other desirable wildlife. Many Native Plants help to enrich the soil. Their root systems help rainfall get into the soil, reducing erosion and runoff. This improves water quality.
The workshop was April 21st from 7pm-8:30pm and was conducted by our Neighbor, Charlotte Kidd and Tony Federici of the Audubon Pennsylvania's Audubon At Home program.
Native plants are available for sale through falls flowers. Door prizes came from falls flowers, as well!
Our neighbor, Ginny Smith, is the garden writer at the Philadelphia Inquirer and she was at the East Falls Goes GREEN! Native Plant workshop. She has blogged about our event...click here!
*We held a rain barrel installation workday on Saturday July 10th that enabled interested residents to continue the effort to help our river. Let us know if you have a rain barrel that has not been installed. You will need to provide all of the hardware and have a diverter, if needed. Check out the information (scroll down) on rain barrels and make sure you have everything you need for installation.
*Transform you outdoor living space! Model garden designs by Kim Douglas of Studio Gaea and Philadelphia University's Landscape Architecture Program. Kim Douglas has designed sustainable green space for three lucky East Falls neighbors. Dina Cohen, Blythe Davenport and Jennifer Schelter are the three recipients of these model green spaces.
Charlotte Kidd returned to present an informative 5th workshop on Composting and Greenspace Care
to very receptive and informed neighbors. The discussion was lively, educational and fun. It turns out that a lot of people already compost and are looking for ways to do it better and more efficiently. Composting options are posted on the EFDC website and Facebook page, look for photos of the workshop on our Facebook page, as well. We will plan a composting workday for the Spring.
Here is some of what we learned. Save those leaves; they are food for trees and plantings. If you are going to leave them on the ground, break them up with a mower so that they decompose and become more useful quickly. Benefits to fall planning and planting; planting in the Fall gives plantings time to establish healthy root systems, Autumn plantings need less water to establish, all of that good organic matter from your garden and perennial patch clean-up, as well as the Fall leaves is great wintering over for worm composting or a great addition to your existing compost.
Sarah Wu of the Mayor's Office of Sustainability presented our 6th workshop.
This was scheduled as a Saturday (Jan 22nd) workshop by suggestion at the last East Falls Goes Green planning meeting, in an effort to make it possible for more people to attend.
Residents were informed about the Mayor’s Sustainability Plan and how their efforts through East Falls Goes Green are directly and positively influencing the City’s goal to be the Greenest city in the US. Sarah Wu shared information (available at the EFDC office and website) and answered questions residents had about resources available for projects, volunteer efforts and further involvement.
Check out an article written for WHYY newsworks about our workshop
The 7th East falls Goes Green Workshop on Saturday, March 12th on the importance of increasing our neighborhood’s tree canopy featured Phil Forsyth of the Philadelphia Orchard Project and East Falls Tree Tenders. It covered some maintenance tips for native fruit trees and a pruning demonstration on a couple of the cherry trees right outside the EFDC office.
- always have a plan for pruning, know your tree or plant
- prioritize, look for limbs that are crossed, competeing or crowding (3 C's), also downward, diseased or disoriented (3 D's)
- Winter is a good time to prune because there are no leaves and the tree is in dormancy
- Good native trees to grow are June Berry or Service Berry, Medlar, Fig, Persimmon, Cherry, Asian Pear and Paw Paw, among others.
Phil Forsyth demonstrating a 3-cut pruning technique
The 8th East Falls Goes GREEN workshop, "Bike Savvy" was presented by Breen Goodwin of the Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition. Breen reviewed basic safety, current issues and good practice for cyclists on the road. Jessica Singerman a neighbor, yoga instructor and avid cyclist gave a fix-a-flat demonstration, which is pretty empowering if you are out there commuting or just riding recreationally. Thank you to Breen and Jessica for your enthusiasm and good cycling tips!!
Information is available at the EFDC office 3728A Midvale Ave. next to Golden Crust Pizza.
The EFDC welcomes your feedback and suggestions.
Jim and Sue Park recently completed a "watershed friendly" improvement project and replaced damaged sidewalk with permeable pavers.
Sue explained, "We had to replace our 20 year old sidewalk due to lifting by tree roots. I researched pervious surfaces for a few years and we went with EP Henry Eco Pavers. There was no run off from our sidewalk in the heavy rain last week, the pavers allowed all the rain water to percolate into the ground. We also made the tree pit in the front of our house twice as big." Here are some photos of their Go Green improvement project...
On October 1st, 2011, Sarah Gabriel of the Home Grown Institute gave a brief
presentation and held a brainstorming discussion about the upcoming Sustainability
Conference "Springing Good Intentions into Action" happening in late March. East Falls
Goes Green is interested in being an affiliate, this way neighbors who affiliate
with East Falls Goes Green will be able to attend at a discounted rate. We would
meet once before the conference and once after. We may be able to get a
group around creating a community garden and compost site, though it does
not have to be that specific. This is a way to build community around greening
projects and offer support, if needed or wanted. Let us know what you think!
Want a Free Rain Barrel or Backyard Composter?
EFGG is proud to be a Community Partner with The Home Grown Institute - a local sustainable-skills event that will be held in Chestnut Hill March 24-25. The Home Grown Institute will be filled with hands-on activities such as beekeeping, backyard chickens, and organic gardening techniques (beginner and advanced). Workshops such as How to Make Healthy Food Habits Stick, Designing a Rain Garden and Food Preservation will also be offered. There will even be nature meditations for a little peace and quiet.
Please take 5 minutes to help us make sure The Home Grown Institute has something for you! Click on the link to help fine-tune the program and to find out how easy it is to get a free rain barrel or backyard composter when you register.
The Home Grown Institute March 24-25, 2012
Late fees apply after february 24th. Registration closes March 19th.
You may have recently received this "pat on the back" from Philadelphia University and East Falls Development Corp. acknowledging the effort you are making to create green space within your neighborhood! I got one and it sure made me feel good!!
Thank you to Tim, Vanessa and Jordan for completing the baseline data for the East Falls Model Stormwater Project and creating this special "thank you"! Also thanks to Philadelphia University for being a great partner.
Security cameras have been installed at the R6 SEPTA station due to repeated vandalism to the signage and rain barrels.
We are lifting the suspension of the 'friends' volunteer effort! Cameras are installed at the SEPTA station and now overlook the rain barrel system, as well as the platform and tunnel.
As you are aware, the rain barrels and signage have been repeatedly vandalized. The cameras at the back of the ticket trailer will hopefully bring an end to this. We have had great success with the cameras that Town Watch installed to decrease vandalism on the platform and in the tunnel.
Further, George Grigonis and Mark Hansen of Delaware Valley Rainwater Catchment Systems have not only repaired but re-engineered the rain barrel system and it is once again collecting stormwater from the ticket trailer roof. George has also rehung the informational signage created by students in Philadelphia University's Landscape Architecture program.
George Grigonis volunteered his time and effort to till and mulch a manageable portion of the meadow at the SEPTA station for planting more information and another EFGG newsworks article here.
Thank you to Benjamin French for volunteering his time and expertise at the East Falls SEPTA station! The previously mulched area was weeded and remulched and the plant donations from PHS were planted. Ben also properly pruned many of the trees at the station. The planters were cleared of trash and weeded. If you would like to volunteer for occasional maintenance of the meadow and/or seasonal watering of the planters at the station, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Contractors for small Green jobs----
We are providing a list of small jobs contractors that are available for small Green jobs related to helping our river such as, tree pits and planting, taking up sidewalk or concrete and creating Green space, container gardens, permeable paving, rain gardens, grassy swales, vegetated filter strips, installing rain barrels...
Waitkus Design; Dana Collins, Landscape Architecture & Construction 215-504-0382
Awbury Gardens and Landscaping; Sally Anderson 215-849-2855 ext#26
Liberty tree and Landscape Design; Mike Duffy 215-886-6111
Caplan Landscape Design; Pam Caplan 215-843-3058
KJK Associates; Ken Kolodziej 215-843-3058
Haye Landscaping; John Haye 610-348-9330
T&J Landscaping; Thomas Lee 267-294-6737
Budget Landscaping; Frank Feliciano 215-989-0076
Other community resources for Green improvement----
Delaware Valley Rainwater Catchment Systems (DVRCS); George Grigonis
& Mark Hansen
3549 Sunnyside Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19129
Verden Interior Design Studio, LLC; Glynis Tart "Going Green is Gorgeous"
Urban jungle...makes it easy to keep it GREEN. Curt Alexander 610-220-6794
U.S. GREEN HOME; Hap Haven has been a national leader in the field of energy education for more than 25 years. Hap is actively involved in the community, including being the founder and past head of the Friends of Cloverly Park which was named Philadelphia City Park of the Year in 2006. Hap is intensely interested in issues of social and environmental justice.
Plants for containers and other new GREEN space ----
Marilyn Shaffer, LHAR Consulting 3541 Indian Queen lane 215-848-5587
Secret Garden, 7631 Ridge Ave Philadelphia, PA 19128 215-483-5009
Peicha Chang, falls flowers LLC in The Marketplace at East Falls email@example.com
Native Plants ----
Charlotte Kidd, M.Ed. In the Garden Design firstname.lastname@example.org 267-255-5284
Kimberlee Douglas, MLA, RLA Studio Gaea email@example.com 610-220-2815
Tony Federici, Audobon at Home Program
Peicha Chang, falls flowers LLC in The Marketplace at East Falls firstname.lastname@example.org
EcoBrokers, Real Estate Professionals ----
Green Roof Specialization ----
K Group; Alex Hallowell, e-mail 215-849-2001 "Environmentally mindful building, remodeling and development"
Roofscapes, Inc. ; Melissa Muroff 215-917-4419, e-mail
Green Lawns ----
Rain Barrels ----
Philadelphia Water department Office of Watersheds Rain Barrel Training installation instructions
Philadelphia Water department Office of Watersheds Rain Barrel Training
more rain barrel resources...
8-rain barrel system at the R6 SEPTA station is up and running. This is a demonstration project to show how rain barrels work and the amount of water that a roof the size of the stations trailer can help to collect. The collected water is used to water the SEPTA station planters and the planting bed (through the use of soaker hoses). Look for informational signage, soon...
The Riverfront Master Plan
Good community-based development begins with good planning. The East Falls Development Corporation has engaged the neighborhood in a series of plans that build on each other.
To begin, in 1998, the EFDC engaged Norman Day and Associates to create the Riverfront Master Plan. This plan focused on overall development of the riverfront, and developed base-line data on traffic, parking and land use. You can see this plan at the EFDC. The Master plan called for a phased implementation of a number of projects, including more detailed design and planning work.
We then built on this plan by developing “East Falls Reconnects to the River,” the public improvement plan for the area. This plan provides the basis for streetscape improvements as well as details on how to calm traffic and make the area more pedestrian and bicycle friendly. It proposes ways to bring people to the Riverfront by making the river more accessible and attractive. The Plan included input from the neighborhood and City agencies, such as the Planning Commission, the Streets Department, and the Fairmount Park Commission. This plan was overwhelminly approved by the East FallsCommunity Council in October, 2003.
River Access Plan
The projects goals are to create a river access facility that will strengthen the integration of the Schuylkill River into
the community identity at East Falls. The plan will allow river related recreation, educational opportunities and activities to move further up the river to East Falls and beyond. River Access Plan
“East Falls Reconnects” also calls for wayfinding system. This is important because there is no signage in East Falls that designates the neighborhood or shows you how to get from place to place. The EFDC retained a consultant to develop a wayfinding sign system. Their plan calls for a gateway sign at the pedestrian island and signage throughout the area to guide people in cars and on the trail. East Falls Way finding Plan
The EFDC ran a design competition last year to develop the logo for the neighborhood. The design, drawn by a student from Temple University. Jack (Shi) Pu draws from the railing design of the Falls Bridge. The EFDC had a logo selection committee, with members Rashida Ng (an architect and Professor at Temple University), Karen Minyard (formerly with PNC Advisors), Gary Crowell (formerly, Dean, College of Architecture, Philadelphia University), Claudia Phillips (Director, School of Landscape Architecture, Philadelphia University), Sharon Jaffe (design professional), and Sean Carton (formerly, Dean, School of Graphic Design, Philadelphia University). The winning logo used the design from the railing of the Falls Bridge. The new East Falls banners use the new logo.