ARCHITECTURE: The Bad Poetry Of New South St. Bridge

No matter how many turrets and stainless-steel railings are pasted on this deeply flawed scheme, the current design remains a lost opportunity for Philadelphia. The engineerssouthstbridge.jpg have dutifully outfitted the proposed span with bike lanes and a ramp connection to Schuylkill Banks park, yet there isn’t an ounce of poetry in its steel bones. After a decade of tinkering with its design, the bridge promises to be little more than a chute for efficiently moving traffic onto the most frightening of the I-76 entry ramps.

If city leaders were seriously interested in branding Philadelphia as a vital modern metropolis, they would have long ago seized on the $50 million bridge project as a chance to make a statement, erect a dramatic gateway to Center City, and forge a gracious pedestrian link between two dynamic neighborhoods. Instead, traffic engineers have been allowed to run the show, with no meaningful direction from the mayor’s office or city planners. Now, the engineers tell us that the bridge’s condition is dire, and that they must start work on a replacement next year.

INGA SAFFRON: This Is Progress?

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