Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Philadelphia's First Velodrome?

Okay, first of all, what's a velodrome? Well it's an arena for bicycle racing.

I have to say, from the Rocky Balboa Run to Yoga on the Steps to Paine's Skatepark, I think it's great that America's once unhealthiest and most obese cities is truly investing in exercise. 

Project 250 has proposed a velodrome for South Philadelphia's Stadium District. But unlike Lincoln Financial Field or Citizens Bank Park, the velodrome wouldn't just be a place to host competitions, it would be a place for cycling enthusiasts to learn and practice. 

Unfortunately its public accessibility has placed it in a realm governed by the city's authority over public spaces, landing it on four acres of Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park. 

Common sense puts any new South Philadelphia arena on one of the seemingly endless supply of surface lots surrounding the stadiums and the upcoming Live! Casino. 

If the $100M project happens, Project 250 will convert a four acre parking lot across from FDR Park into additional green space. It's a worthy concession but one that doesn't make a lot of sense. If Project 250's velodrome becomes the World Class venue it aims to become, it will require parking, parking that will likely be provided on its four acre parcel within FDR Park. 

Why not share parking at the asphalt prairies that surround the stadiums, and add one more world class gem to our collection of world class stadiums? The district is growing along with the city, and it's become apparent that we don't understand the difference between static and dynamic parking. 

In a neighborhood that should be thinking vertically, Project 250's velodrome needs to find a place inside the city, not across it. And there is plenty of room on the east side of Broad Street.

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