5.17.2018

Letter to the editor RE Fairmount Park Billboard

By George L. Claflen, Jr. and David Brownlee

To the Editor:

 

Should we change the zoning of a part of Fairmount Park to industrial status, so we can install a large double-faced digital billboard that drivers on the Schuylkill Expressway will be unable to ignore? Strange as it sounds, this is exactly what Councilman Curtis Jones has proposed in a bill that will be heard on May 23. The Planning Commission reviewed and unanimously rejected this proposal on the 15 th , but Council can ignore that advice.

 

While we are fortunate that it is unlikely that this idea will pass muster with PennDOT, which controls signage on state highways, the city itself should be first to show respect for our unique park system. And this is the wrong way to take advantage of Philadelphia’s hard-won status as a dynamic city.

 

Fairmount Park is one of the largest urban oases in the world, and, remarkably, it shares its tranquility with harried commuters who traverse the two and half miles of commercial-free green space that lie between Route 1 and Girard Avenue. It should remain this way.

 

The Design Advocacy Group (DAG) recommends that this graceless proposal be given no further consideration.

 

Sincerely yours,

George L. Claflen, Jr

Practicing architect and a vice-chair of DAG

 

Dr. David B. Brownlee

Professor of the History of Art and Architecture and a vice-chair of DAG