Paths, Places, and Portals: Charrette Team 6

The Master Plan for Drexel University from 2012 to the Sesquicentennial in 2041, Drexel@150, will focus not only on sites within the existing real estate portfolio to further its master planning goals, but also take advantage of the intellectual capactity and creativity of its students and faculty.  The recently concluded design charrette, Paths, Places, and Portals, yielded a treasure trove of concepts to be incorporated into the 2012 Master Plan.  A series of posts will present the work of the teams.
 
Team 6 examined the Lancaster Avenue corridor, the primary commercial seam between the campus and its adjacent neighborhoods, a corridor which already has attracted a number of comments in this and other blogs:

Team 6 is comprised of members Katherine Sitter, Hannah Olin, Michael Fierle, Johnathan Manza, and Sharadan Chick.

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8 thoughts on “Paths, Places, and Portals: Charrette Team 6”

  1. Lots of things I really like …

    – The building concept for the Firestone Site is awesome and the kind of gateway presence that Drexel needs to establish on Market Street.

    – The idea of turning the Armory into a food market/hall is great, a combination farmers market/food court, with fresh local foods and vendors.

    – Moving the food trucks is an absolute MUST … how about alongside the food hall on Cuthbert Street? Take down the fencing around Buckley field and have the trucks become part of the gathering spot until late in the night.

    – Deal with the poor and dangerous crossings. Speed bumps and bumpouts … definitely something that prevents people parking and impeding drivers view of pedestrians entering the crosswalks.

    Less fond of the treatment around the DAC and at 34th and Lancaster.

    – Strongly believe the Hess building site and the adjacent parking lot need to be densely developed and include retail to enliven Lancaster Ave.

    – If the green space along Lancaster Walk is developed, I think the building should be slim and dense to maximize open space. The DAC does attract pedestrian traffic until reasonably late, so the stretch of Lancaster Walk between 33rd and 34th streets remains reasonably active at night.

    1. Mike, you have a lot going on in this comment. The Armory will most likely continue to be devoted to student recreation and programming. Relocation of the lunch trucks is being examined. Traffic calming is a priority. We absolutely agree with your remarks about the Hess site.

  2. I just wanted to comment on the signage. It is a great concept. It’s clean , it’s clear and it’s catchy. It can easily translate to other communication packages for way finding, ie. maps, brochures, etc.

    1. I love that they remembered to include the “Make Your Mark” idiom. I remember walking past those signs everyday during my time at Drexel and think those words have been subconsciously embedded in my mind. Whatever I’m doing, no matter how big or small, I always think back to that and remember to “Make My Mark” on the world and on the people around me by giving it my best. I also think back to the clock in the Great Court of the Main Building that says “Always be on time”. I hate being late. The things that seem very insignificant at the time truly are what make the most impact on you.

      Mind hacks from Drexel. You get so much more free of charge.

  3. Since I’m willing to bet removing the existing streets will be difficult, I very highly agree that traffic calming is an absolute must. If I may, I’d like to make a suggestion about the crossing at the iSchool. In it’s current state, drivers either don’t know a crossing exists or simply don’t care (I hate to say it, but I see Facilities and Public Safety blow through it all the time). Therefore, I propose the following:
    1) Make it clear a crossing exists. Consider speed humps (including making the crossing it self out of one, perhaps denoted by red brick) or grove the section of road leading up to the crossing so drivers are aware they need to slow down ahead.
    2) Get rid of the Yield sign. No one stops for it. I often see it knocked off the side away.
    3) Add one or both of the following:
    3a) A flashing crosswalk sign, automatically triggered by electric eyes at the ends of the crosswalk (see what Penn has on 34th).
    3b) An actual stop light, activated by crossers via a push button (If you’ve ever been to EWR, these are around Terminal C).

    One last thought, the proposed development near the iSchool concerns me. It appears that the proposed development will occupy space currently being eyed by the iSchool itself for an expansion. While I do love the iSchool as-is, I love the concepts posted up on the 3rd floor more. Furthermore, I believe the entry to the iSchool should remain how it is. As an iSchool student, I love that we have a private garden – and that very few people actually use it, making it a fantastic study space.

    1. Thanks for the comments. A traffic consultant will be making recommendations about the Lancaster crossing at 33rd Street. The Streets Department will not approve speed bumps. The cloistered garden is beautiful, but the lack of use is a problem.

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