Community Forum
Feb. 24, 2004

Preliminary Principles

More than 50 members of the University City community - residents, merchants, students and other stakeholders - gathered at the Rotunda on February 24, 2004. They broke into 3 groups, each working with professional moderators, to talk about 40th Street and its potential. By the end of the evening each group had developed preliminary planning principles for 40th Street - draft principles that will be consolidated with the work of other groups that evening and with the work of groups from subsequent forums. The questions they addressed were:

1. Who are the current users of 40th street?
2. What uses of 40th street - past, present and future - do you find most interesting or exciting?
3. What factors make some or all of those uses easier? What factors make those uses more difficult?
4. As you think of all of the above, what principles do you think ought to guide the development of 40th street?

Group A
Notes from the Group Discussion

Community Meetings Practice-Establish an on going practice for occasions like this one with more attention to getting the unorganized and other groups involved, holding the occasions in their "neck of the woods." Specifically, to reach across divides-age, economic, race, and all potential business owners.

Communicating Network-Develop a network and means for quick communication to everyone about the work of these meetings and future ones

Transportation-Bring people in to area, develop attractions such as a trolley loop with an old Philly trolley car. Some tension in this one with regard to whether we want a lot of people in the area

Pedestrian Scale-Encourage and design for a pedestrian scale "tissue" that connects
the people in the community to the street-scape -40TH and Locust is particularly problematic

Support Locally Owned Businesses-Long term commitment to locally owned businesses with a stable building plan-Rent and conditions reviewed as important consideration

Space Utilization-Utilize all space, not just street level floors-plan and seek out 2nd floor and above occupancy

24/7 Plan-Understand that there are different needs for different segments of the day and maintain or build a productive use for each time segment of day

Kid Friendly-Develop spaces, activities, and stores

Night-life-Develop this area, there was one in the past

Group B
Notes from the Group Discussion

- maintain or enhance the diversity (people)
- do keep it unique, special with its own flavor; producing its own homegrown culture
- walkable, pedestrian-scale
- aesthetics: row-house style, not big blocks; fundamentally West Philadelphia
- encourage vendor activity
- sidewalk/street activity
- enhance communications, using stable contacts
- cross cultural, cross pollination - example: St Mary's
- enhance transportation/parking opportunities

Group C
Notes from the Group Discussion

1) Mixed Commercial and residential spaces (possibly combine), balance these uses. Provide meeting places (Rotunda cited as valuable space).

2) No displacement of established businesses and residences.(A resident policewoman made this point to me on a one on one after the meeting).

3) Market Driven use of space.

4) Unite different customer bases from N. and S. ends of the corridor (above and below Chestnut.) Examples of Fresh Grocer and Movie as pulling neighborhood together. (Many examples of differences of N and S end of corridor. Different needs in each area).

5) Reflect 40th Street history
• Stores everyone uses
• Who lives here and uses the stores
• Stores can do a better job of serving residents (then other alternative uses. Although value of Free Library, some open spaces, etc. recognized).

6) Technical assistance programs for businesses who need such help

7) Equity between uses and N & S ends of the street

8) Visual upgrade for 40th St.

9) Create a "Sense of Place" both inside and outside of the buildings active street life.
• Students and citizens should all feel there is something there for them.
• Create a "plaza" effect informal and formal uses. Places to "Hang out".
• Bring community together.
• Diverse clientele and streetscape. (this was a long and important discussion)

10) Reinvent the urban fabric of 40th St.

11) Create vision for next 15 20 years to grow corridor.

12) Businesses have large stake in corridor need to be supported.
• Make aware of assistance such as UCD and tax increment financing (TIF)
• Create a strong business association (Rittenhouse Square cited as a successful
• Marketing facelift "curb appeal".

© 2004, 40th Street Community Forum and Serendip