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Rail Park Promises New Neighborhood Connections

Philly's upcoming Rail Park has the potential to revitalize neighborhoods, drive economic development and increase residential values in its vicinity, just as the High Line has done in Manhattan.


That was a main takeaway at ULI Philadelphia's recent panel discussion at the Union League about Philly's new linear park, which is slated to break ground later this year. It's one of a number of such parks cropping up nationwide following the success of NYC’s High Line, which has doubled residential property values along some of its route. Snapped (with a cameo by Honest Abe): Temple University SVP for construction James Creedon, who moderated; Friends of the Rail Park board of directors member Michael Garden; Post Brothers Apartments president Matt Pestronk; Parkway Corp president Robert Zuritsky; and keynote speaker Patrick Cullina, a landscape designer who served as founding VP of horticulture and park operations for the High Line.


The three-mile linear park and recreation path—twice the width of the High Line—will serve as “the final stitch,” connecting neighborhoods and cultural institutions to Fairmount Park, according to the panelists. The new Rail Park, running along the historic elevated Reading Viaduct and City Branch of the old Philadelphia and Reading Railroad lines, will also promote recreation and cultural vitality from Fairmount Avenue to Vine Street, and weave together a dozen neighborhoods, North Broad Street and Center City.