The next General Membership meeting is Wednesday, November 11th at 7pm. Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of every month unless otherwise noted. The meeting will be held via Zoom, a free online application available on your computer or smartphone. All neighbors are invited to hear, participate, and learn about neighborhood concerns and current issues.
News & Events
Representatives from the Coalition of Civics – a partnership of local civic associations including WICA, Wissahickon Neighbors Civic Association, Manayunk Neighborhood Council, Ridge Park Civic Association, Central Roxborough Civic Association, and Upper Roxborough Civic Association – have met with SEPTA to address questions and concerns raised at the July 1, 2020 Art Commission meeting. Mediated by Alan Greenberger, chair of the Art Commission, SEPTA has updated the overall design of the Wissahickon Transportation Center.
Design updates by SEPTA include:
• Pulling back the building and canopy structure on the front island to widen the sidewalk
• Addition of a vertical clock tower element to improve the scale of the intersection
• Adjustments to the layout of the front island, including moving the location of the supervisor’s booth to provide a clearer path and better sightlines across Ridge Avenue
• Alleviation of pedestrian pinch points on the side where Deke’s BBQ is currently located to create more comfortable entry points
• Addition of green space and edging to create screening by the storage facility and the existing WTC building
Inga Saffron, architecture critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer, recently published an article discussing the importance of the Wissahickon Transportation Center. “This is where the Schuylkill River meets the Wissahickon Creek, where the Kelly Drive bike path links up with the Wissahickon trails, where the hard, gridded streets of Philadelphia’s center relax into the greener, gentler neighborhoods of the Northwest,” she writes.
“SEPTA has now revised the station to the point that the design of the building is almost acceptable. Instead of a Jetsons-style space port, the main passenger area looks like a modern interpretation of a Frank Furness Main Line station, with a gently sloped hip roof and a brick-and-stone facade.”
The Coalition of Civics has still expressed concerns, including lack of public restrooms, lack of an enclosed waiting space, and treatment of the area where Deke’s BBQ is currently located with the proposed plans calling for rock removal and the construction of a retaining wall.
In Saffron’s article, she observed that “the project remains deeply flawed in ways that have nothing to do with architecture. SEPTA continues to hedge on whether it will provide basic amenities, such as public restrooms and an enclosed waiting area. The project still fails to make the most of its location where the region’s most heavily used bike paths meet. Even worse, the additional road infrastructure planned for the new transportation center could undermine the area’s park-like character.”
Since the City of Philadelphia will not be attributing funds towards the project, the next design phase will no longer be presented to the Art Commission as previously planned. However, SEPTA has agreed to hold another community meeting for public feedback at a date yet to be determined.
After the public meeting and vote held on January 15, 2020 – which resulted in a majority of 75% of the votes opposed to the proposal (27 in support, 85 against, and 1 abstention) – on behalf of the community, WICA members and Josh Cohen from Councilman Jones’ office attended the zoning board hearing on February 12, 2020. Despite the overwhelming opposition from our community of the proposed development for 147 Sumac, the zoning board approved the building of six new units on the property, in addition to the existing historical duplex, which will remain.
WICA appealed the ruling, and we’re now going to common pleas court in January 2021. We need your support to continue to challenge this development.
Why we’re challenging this development:
• The proposed driveway is too close to the intersection of Sumac and Righter and could be moved to a position that is both safer and that the neighborhood feels is more respectful of the existing historic building (147 Sumac).
• The proposed driveway encroaches on the side of the historically designated 147 Sumac, damaging its historic and architectural integrity.
• In addition to providing access to rear-loading garages, several surface parking spots have been proposed, adding to the overall paving of the site.
• The majority of the site’s open space will be paved, with the “green space” becoming green roofs and permeable paving.
• The required front and side yard setbacks fro RSA-1 Zoning are not being respected.
In order to maintain the unique features and character of the Wissahickon neighborhood and to honor the Neighborhood Conservation Overlay (NCO), we must act to protect green spaces and limit the number of units for this proposed development in accordance with the carefully completed 2016 residential zoning remapping.
WICA needs funding to exist, to be your voice, to say that’s not the way we want it. Whatever you can contribute to make us stronger will be greatly appreciated.
Your donation of $50, $20, or even $10, we will be able to fight this development in court.
WICA is a 501(c)(3), and your donation is tax deductible.
The next General Membership meeting is Wednesday, October 14th at 7pm. Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of every month unless otherwise noted. The meeting will be held via Zoom, a free online application available on your computer or smartphone. All neighbors are invited to hear, participate, and learn about neighborhood concerns and current issues.
The next General Membership meeting is Wednesday, September 9th at 7pm. The meeting will be held via Zoom, a free online application available on your computer or smartphone. All neighbors are invited to hear, participate, and learn about neighborhood concerns and current issues.
Agenda items include:
• Power Corps at 100 Steps
• Directors & Officers Insurance Policy
• Wissahickon Transportation Center Expansion
21 neighbors attended the Public Zoom Meeting hosted by WICA on Tuesday, August 18th. The application is for a banquet hall for under fifty (50) people. The voting results are below.
|SUPPORT WITH PROVISOS||5|
The proviso stipulates that the owner must obtain an agreement with a local private business or church for the use of their off-street parking.
A summary of these results will be sent to the Zoning Board of Adjustments (ZBA) in the form of a letter. The ZBA Hearing is scheduled for September 22, 2020 at 9:30am. More information ››
The application is for a banquet hall for under fifty (50) people. No live entertainment or dancing (assembly and entertainment) (no activities as defined in 14-603 (13) of Philadelphia Zoning Code) and proposed retail sale of prepackaged food and non-alcoholic beverages (retail sale of food, beverages, and groceries) (same tenant) on entire 1st floor with existing 14 family dwelling above as previously approved in an existing structure.
WICA, as the coordinating RCO, has scheduled a Public Zoom Meeting on August 18th at 7pm in advance of the public hearing to discuss the project. All neighbors are invited to attend. An official vote will be taken and a summary of the results sent to the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) in the form of a letter.
The WICA Online Yard Sale is live! Dozens of items are available for you to bid on. Donated by your neighbors, items include:
• Handcrafted wooden bowls
• Vintage light fixtures and lamps
• 100 steps prints
• House plants, and more!
The WICA Online Yard Sale is hosted through Bid Beacon. Participants must create an account to place bids on items. The auction ends on Thursday, August 20th.
All proceeds for the yard sale will go directly to the WICA legal action fund.
The next General Membership meeting is Wednesday, August 12th at 7pm. The meeting will be held via Zoom, a free online application available on your computer or smartphone. All neighbors are invited to hear, participate, and learn about neighborhood concerns and current issues.
Agenda items include:
• Northern Children’s Services Garden Project
• Directors & Officers Insurance Policy
• 5261 Ridge Ave
As of November 2020, there have been updates made to the design of the Wissahickon Transportation Center. See changes ››
On July 1, 2020, Sowinski Sullivan and McCormick Taylor presented the latest Wissahickon Transportation Center designs on behalf of SEPTA. The full PDF presentation can be found here. This submission is considered 30% completion of conceptual design. SEPTA plans to start construction in the middle or end of 2021 with the project taking 18-24 months to complete.
Highlights of the questions and concerns raised at the meeting include:
• Pedestrian and cyclist circulation and safety
• Proposed bike path access and security
• Architectural characteristics and design features reflective of the lower Northwest neighborhoods
• No enclosed waiting area to protect riders in inclement weather
• No designated drop-off/pick-up area for passengers (referred to as “Kiss and Ride”)
• Connection and ADA accessibility of the transportation center to the train station
• Location of the site in the 100-year floodplain and stormwater management
• No public restrooms
The Art Commission decided not to approve the conceptual design as presented. The Commission requested that SEPTA work to improve the design with guidance from an Art Commission subcommittee and consideration of community feedback. SEPTA will present design updates at the September 2 Art Commission meeting.
To watch the full presentation of the July 1 Art Commission meeting, click here. The Wissahickon Transportation Center presentation begins at 00:12. Feedback from Representative DeLissio (01:20), John Hunter representing the Northwest Coalition of Civics (01:08), and Wendy Green-Harvey representing SEPTA (01:42), were all provided. Comments included written feedback (56:00), phone-in inquiries, and comments via Zoom.
Once the community concerns are addressed, WICA supports the update and redesign to the Wissahickon Transportation Center and believes it will be a major improvement and asset to the area.