For more than 100 years, the Reading Viaduct was an active elevated rail line that carried passengers and mail to the Reading Terminal until it was decommissioned in 1984. This important remnant of industrial and civic history of the city has since become inhabited by verdant life—pioneer grasses, trees and shrubs have taken root in the nooks and crannies of retaining walls and in the rock ballast between the steel rails and wooden ties. OLIN’s work in conjunction with stakeholder groups and Friends of the Rail Park, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the reuse of the abandoned rail, re-envisions the City Branch portion of the viaduct as an accessible public green space in a part of Philadelphia that is lacking such civic areas. The design’s green infrastructure strategies include increasing the urban forest and pervious surfaces to help divert stormwater from the city’s aged combined sewer system and mitigate runoff pollution while increasing amenity and habitat within the city. This new public amenity offers the unique opportunity to integrate rejuvenating and wild nature into the civic domain.
Friends of the Rail Park
Concept design completed 2013