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  #161  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 2:23 PM
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Random morning thought:

I wonder how ambitious Drexel is? I mean, as a school? They're traditionally known as a working- and middle-class-oriented tech school, but it feels like they're aiming to increase their prestige in much the same way Temple feels like it's aiming to be listed in the same breath as Pitt and Penn State as a top-tier public school.

At a certain level, we're already part of the way there. Even our more traditionally working-class institutions tend to be more nationally prestigious in terms of academics than many of our peer cities'. And in a lot of markets, the most prestigious institutions lay outside the city proper (whereas here, we've got them in the core). Think about where UM is in relation to Detroit, or CU in relation to Denver, or -- heck -- even Oregon and Oregon State in relation to Portland.

A lot of American higher-education markets have prestige without real proximity to the core city. Others have schools in the core that suffer from a relative lack of prestige -- think about Georgia State, which should be Georgia's Temple (to Georgia Tech's UPenn/Drexel) but is a fraction as prestigious an institution as Temple is. Or perhaps Wayne State in Detroit and Cleveland State in Cleveland. Relatively few markets have a critical mass of prestige right in their core.

This is a major advantage Pitt and Boston leveraged, and that New York, Chicago, and LA don't really need to leverage. It's also an advantage that Houston has (look how close prestigious Rice and working-class UH are) -- but, interestingly enough, the Dallas metroplex may not. Most importantly for us, it's an advantage which we're leveraging just as we're becoming more confident as a city and region.
Outside of mechanical engineering, Drexel's largest student body is Biology. My guess is that its all about the biotech innovation. All universities are moving into the "innovation" direction...Jefferson, Penn, Drexel. ie...innovation neighborhood. If they continue to grow, continue to build, and obtain patents while fostering innovation, students will keep on coming. Think less of it as a "school" and more of it as a "university" which encompasses much more than just getting people degrees. They have been this for a long time now, but they are really pushing it these days...
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  #162  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 3:29 PM
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With Schuylkill Yards proposed, and FMC and other University City projects under construction on the west bank of the Schuylkill, and (whether you like it or not) 2400 Market under site prep for its eventual overbuild, I think that Philadelphia and PennDOT should focus on making the Chestnut and Walnut Street Bridges as grand and ornate as the Market Street Bridge. The Chestnut and Walnut Street Bridges are nothing more than glorified highway bridges that should not be charged with making the connection between Center City and University City. Also, although it has improved over the years (ex. taking down the highway signs from the Walnut Street Bridge), the Market Street Bridge is most attractive to pedestrians.


With the end of their useful lives approaching, this is something that needs to be pushed for. The connection between Center City and University City on Chestnut and Walnut Streets should be more ornate, welcoming, and friendlier to pedestrians.
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  #163  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 3:43 PM
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PennDOT should focus on making the Chestnut and Walnut Street Bridges as grand and ornate as the Market Street Bridge.
It's a nice thought but:
1) there is no state budget currently
2) when there is a budget 23% of the bridges in this state are "structurally insufficient" and 44% of the state's roads are in "fair" to "poor" condition.

And those are 2013 numbers. I don't think things have gotten better in the last three years. There simply isn't money for adding gingerbread to the bridges when they are in danger of collapsing elsewhere.
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  #164  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 3:46 PM
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Originally Posted by boxbot View Post
It's a nice thought but:
1) there is no state budget currently
2) when there is a budget 23% of the bridges in this state are "structurally insufficient" and 44% of the state's roads are in "fair" to "poor" condition.

And those are 2013 numbers. I don't think things have gotten better in the last three years. There simply isn't money for adding gingerbread to the bridges when they are in danger of collapsing elsewhere.
Actually things have gotten (oh so slightly) better. I don't have the numbers off the top of my head, but Act 89 has helped to cut into those numbers just a bit. But we're still in rough shape.
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  #165  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 3:48 PM
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Why? Brandywine is the developer and is likely paying for the development of the buildings. Drexel is providing the grounds and is presumably getting money from Brandywine for grounds leases. That's how the ACC developments for Chestnut Square and the Summit at Lancaster were pitched.
Yea, I don't understand all the kvetching about how tuition is going to go up to cover this. That couldn't be farther from the truth. If anything this will keep tuition down as it establishes alternative funding sources for Drexel.
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  #166  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 3:52 PM
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Originally Posted by boxbot View Post
It's a nice thought but:
1) there is no state budget currently
2) when there is a budget 23% of the bridges in this state are "structurally insufficient" and 44% of the state's roads are in "fair" to "poor" condition.

And those are 2013 numbers. I don't think things have gotten better in the last three years. There simply isn't money for adding gingerbread to the bridges when they are in danger of collapsing elsewhere.
Unless a private sugar daddy or non-profit steps up to fund a fancy looking bridge, beyond one that simply serves it stated purpose, then a basic bridge is what we are going to get.

I actually have no problem with that. Opportunity costs for more important societal items beats building a fancy style bridge.
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  #167  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 3:54 PM
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Yea, I don't understand all the kvetching about how tuition is going to go up to cover this. That couldn't be farther from the truth. If anything this will keep tuition down as it establishes alternative funding sources for Drexel.
Right...All these Universities need to keep in mind that at some tuition cost, now or in the future, they will price out prospective students. It's not easy for families, let alone middle class families, to shell out 45-60k in tuition for the next 4 years. So, if enrollment goes down, this is one of the reasons.
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  #168  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 3:57 PM
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Look, the bridges don't need to be made of marble and gold. A little attention to beauty goes a long way. If it's not "off the shelf" parts, it's a cop-out to say that concrete and steel cannot be fashioned into something more than the usual bland crap. Look at how many historic churches and homes used inexpensive materials, but cared enough (via faux painting, or whathaveyou) to make them look like a million bucks. Heck, even the Romans put a veneer over brick and concrete most of the time.
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  #169  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 4:04 PM
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will keep tuition down (@) Drexel.
HAHA
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  #170  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 4:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Knight Hospitaller View Post
Look, the bridges don't need to be made of marble and gold. A little attention to beauty goes a long way. If it's not "off the shelf" parts, it's a cop-out to say that concrete and steel cannot be fashioned into something more than the usual bland crap. Look at how many historic churches and homes used inexpensive materials, but cared enough (via faux painting, or whathaveyou) to make them look like a million bucks. Heck, even the Romans put a veneer over brick and concrete most of the time.
I'm not trying to assert that at all. Some of the most beautiful bridges use those construction materials. It's just that the Chestnut and Walnut Street Bridges could be way better than they are right now, and that attention to detail should be employed when their replacement comes up within the next 10 years (so I've heard).
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  #171  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 4:14 PM
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Originally Posted by PhilliesPhan View Post
I'm not trying to assert that at all. Some of the most beautiful bridges use those construction materials. It's just that the Chestnut and Walnut Street Bridges could be way better than they are right now, and that attention to detail should be employed when their replacement comes up within the next 10 years (so I've heard).
I was supporting you, dude, and disagreeing with those deriding your suggestion as unaffordably "fancy."
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  #172  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 4:56 PM
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I was supporting you, dude, and disagreeing with those deriding your suggestion as unaffordably "fancy."
Sorry man! That's what doing papers and studying late into the night does to me sometimes. College problems haha!
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  #173  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 6:05 PM
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I'd be happy if they just put planters on the Chestnut and Walnut street bridges like they did for the Market Street bridge. They really make crossing a little less daunting since it adds a layer of separation between pedestrians and cars. And the greenery is nice!
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  #174  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 6:05 PM
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Bridges

It is in the works, though who knows with the state budget situation.

http://centercityphila.org/docs/Task...outs061815.pdf
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  #175  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 6:48 PM
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I was supporting you, dude, and disagreeing with those deriding your suggestion as unaffordably "fancy."
Yeah I was wondering why PhilliesPhan was coming against you coz you were actually affirming what he was saying lol.
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  #176  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 8:09 PM
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Originally Posted by PhilliesPhan View Post
With Schuylkill Yards proposed, and FMC and other University City projects under construction on the west bank of the Schuylkill, and (whether you like it or not) 2400 Market under site prep for its eventual overbuild, I think that Philadelphia and PennDOT should focus on making the Chestnut and Walnut Street Bridges as grand and ornate as the Market Street Bridge. The Chestnut and Walnut Street Bridges are nothing more than glorified highway bridges that should not be charged with making the connection between Center City and University City. Also, although it has improved over the years (ex. taking down the highway signs from the Walnut Street Bridge), the Market Street Bridge is most attractive to pedestrians.


With the end of their useful lives approaching, this is something that needs to be pushed for. The connection between Center City and University City on Chestnut and Walnut Streets should be more ornate, welcoming, and friendlier to pedestrians.
The Chestnut Street bridge once was a unique masterpiece -- a rare cast-iron arch designed by one of the great engineering geniuses of the age, Strickland Kneass.











The Walnut Street Bridge was a much more utilitarian and industrial (but still beautiful) truss span.




Quote:
Originally Posted by boxbot View Post
It's a nice thought but:
1) there is no state budget currently
2) when there is a budget 23% of the bridges in this state are "structurally insufficient" and 44% of the state's roads are in "fair" to "poor" condition.

And those are 2013 numbers. I don't think things have gotten better in the last three years. There simply isn't money for adding gingerbread to the bridges when they are in danger of collapsing elsewhere.
In Dallas the arty parts of the Trinity bridges are being funded through private donations. TxDOT was only willing to spend the minimal needed to keep the span up; that Santiago Calatrava stuff is entirely privately funded.





I would dearly love to see those highway bridges replaced with much more elegant spans. Chestnut, Walnut, Spring Garden, Girard, and even JFK Boulevard. The Seine's bridges are part of Paris' charm; with all the beautification around the Schuylkill, why not pay the extra needed to do the same here?
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  #177  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 8:32 PM
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Yeah I was wondering why PhilliesPhan was coming against you coz you were actually affirming what he was saying lol.
It was only because I misread it. I didn't get much sleep last night due to a paper I had to write and studying right after. That's life the of a college student summarized haha!

I realized my mistake and apologized, however. We're all good!
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  #178  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 8:41 PM
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The Chestnut Street bridge once was a unique masterpiece -- a rare cast-iron arch designed by one of the great engineering geniuses of the age, Strickland Kneass.

The Walnut Street Bridge was a much more utilitarian and industrial (but still beautiful) truss span.

I would dearly love to see those highway bridges replaced with much more elegant spans. Chestnut, Walnut, Spring Garden, Girard, and even JFK Boulevard. The Seine's bridges are part of Paris' charm; with all the beautification around the Schuylkill, why not pay the extra needed to do the same here?
I never realized how beautiful the Walnut Street Bridge used to be. Both the old Walnut and Chestnut Street Bridges were elegant spans that connected Center City and West Philadelphia.

The old Chestnut Street Bridge and the current Market Street Bridge, along with the fact that I visited Paris last year on a study abroad trip and was able to experience the beauty of the Seine and all of its river crossings during a Seine River cruise, is exactly why I brought up bridges. As you also mentioned, east bank of the Schuylkill is going through a renaissance. The west bank may go through one with the full build-out of the envisioned 30th Street District, since a pedestrian walkway straddling that part of the river is planned. If CC and UC are going to continue to become unified, one way to make the Schuylkill seem like a feature of the two CBDs instead of a barrier is through its bridges. I am way more inclined to walk across the Market Street Bridge than either JFK, Chestnut, Walnut, Spring Garden, or Girard. The pedestrian experience of walking across the bridge is what will help sow the two districts together.

Additionally, I think that the Schuylkill River could have some excellent potential for river cruises from Fairmount Dam to Bartram's Garden. Better bridges are a surefire way to improve that experience, similar to what I experienced in Paris last year.
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  #179  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2016, 10:18 PM
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walnut st bridge

I can't remember where there are, but I've seen piles of the old metal handrails from the Walnut St. bridge laying around in west Fairmount Park. It wasn't that long ago that Walnut St. was rebuilt.
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  #180  
Old Posted Mar 11, 2016, 7:03 PM
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I never realized how beautiful the Walnut Street Bridge used to be. Both the old Walnut and Chestnut Street Bridges were elegant spans that connected Center City and West Philadelphia.

The old Chestnut Street Bridge and the current Market Street Bridge, along with the fact that I visited Paris last year on a study abroad trip and was able to experience the beauty of the Seine and all of its river crossings during a Seine River cruise, is exactly why I brought up bridges. As you also mentioned, east bank of the Schuylkill is going through a renaissance. The west bank may go through one with the full build-out of the envisioned 30th Street District, since a pedestrian walkway straddling that part of the river is planned. If CC and UC are going to continue to become unified, one way to make the Schuylkill seem like a feature of the two CBDs instead of a barrier is through its bridges. I am way more inclined to walk across the Market Street Bridge than either JFK, Chestnut, Walnut, Spring Garden, or Girard. The pedestrian experience of walking across the bridge is what will help sow the two districts together.

Additionally, I think that the Schuylkill River could have some excellent potential for river cruises from Fairmount Dam to Bartram's Garden. Better bridges are a surefire way to improve that experience, similar to what I experienced in Paris last year.
You don't have to go remotely as far afield as Paris to see that beautiful bridges are (or could be) a major tourist asset. I mean, people do river cruises in New York, Chicago, and Pittsburgh for much the same reason.

And yes, I agree: there is no reason at all the Schuylkill shouldn't be spanned by a succession of beautiful bridges all the way from Manayunk to Girard Point. The money spent investing in their beautification would be more than recouped marketing them as a tourist destination in their own right.

BTW the first Spring Garden bridge:



It was washed away in a flood, and would be replaced by this bridge for the Centennial Exposition:





Interestingly enough, its cast iron arches fell off around the fin de siècle, revealing the truss span holding it up.



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