On November 17 about 100 people gathered at Zakti Fitness for the public comment meeting for Bainbridge Green. We presented three design options from The Olin Studio and Stantech. We had lots of fun interactive activities for people to engage in.

Our goal is to come up with one plan that will decide the shape of the space — establishing where the curb lines will go — thereby affecting how much park space we gain.

They were a lot of animated discussions about the best use of public space. Much was said about how would traffic flow and parking be impacted if we were to make a larger park. There was discussion about what kind of programming should take place there, what kind of experience we want to create. As a friends group we have been wrestling with these ideas for over three years now. It was great to hear our friends and neighbors struggle with the same be questions. And they are big questions!

There are enormous ramifications to consider. Do we think long term and sacrifice a handful of parking spaces for a bigger and better park space? Do we consider ways to mitigate any parking loss with a comprehensive parking plan that takes into account needs of neighbors and businesses? Will our design choices help improve not only Bainbridge Green but also 4th Street and South Street? Can we create a “destination” with programming, outdoor cafes, and fun events?

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A reimagined Bainbridge Green will provide positive social and economic impact to the businesses of the area, while creating a public place that provides rich and varied experiences for the community. Our goal is to make Bainbridge Green “Philadelphia's next great public space”.

Active civic engagement is essential to effecting change. It is up to us to voice our demands for open space with community programming in mind.