• New trail segment north of Bartram's Gardens will connect to renovated Schuylkill River Swing Bridge

  • 58th Street Greenway along Lindbergh Boulevard.

  • Looking southeast on 56th street.

  • CSX freight rail next to Bartram's Garden.

  • Streets Department facility on Botanic Avenue.

  • Grays Ferry Crescent park and trail.

  • Bartram's Garden farm and orchard.

Bartram's Mile

Project Overview

Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, working with its primary partners the Schuylkill River Development Corporation (SRDC) and the John Bartram Association (JBA), led a process to reimagine “Bartram’s Mile,” which is one mile of river frontage along the western banks of the Tidal Schuylkill between Grays Ferry Avenue and 58th Street. The Green2015 plan released by PPR in December 2010 highlighted Bartram’s Mile as a major opportunity to convert publicly owned vacant land to public green space before 2015. This new open space has the potential to provide riverfront access and recreation opportunities to an underserved neighborhood as well as help restore an important watershed.

The former National Heat and Power site.

To achieve this objective, PennPraxis conducted a rigorous community engagement and public planning process in Fall 2012. Here is some of what we heard from our 450 initial participants:
  • I like the Schuylkill River and Bartram’s Garden, but they feel closed off and removed.
  • Increase opportunities for fishing along the river.
  • Create large open spaces for gatherings of family and friends.
  • Give my children better places to play along the river.
  • Essential: lighting, bathrooms, security, water fountains, equal accessibility.
  • Locate fun activities and events: concerts, boat rentals, concessions…hey, maybe an arcade?
  • Create relaxing space to connect with nature.
By the end, this process:
  • Engaged users from the immediate neighborhoods, as well as stakeholders from across the city and region;
  • Proposed new programmatic opportunities to connect people to the outdoors and the Schuylkill River;
  • Partnered with the John Bartram Association to celebrate and enhance the history and horticulture of Bartram’s Garden;
  • Partnered with the Schuylkill River Development Corporation to provide unique opportunities to extend the Schuylkill Banks, which currently terminates at the Grays Ferry Crescent located on the eastern terminus of the Grays Ferry Avenue Bridge.

This is a portion of the Schuylkill River that has been cut off from public access for decades, so this represents a very exciting opportunity to not only strengthen and link to existing initiatives such as Bartram's Garden, the Schuylkill River Trail, and the 58th Street Greenway, but also add two new parks that can be community assets for years to come.

Bartram's Garden boat dock.

Phase I: Public Meeting Recap

Event #1: Bike Tour!

  • Saturday, November 3
  • Organized with the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
  • Check out PlanPhilly's Christine Fisher's report on the tour!
  • View Christine's Flickr set of photos taken during the bike tour!
  • View the Bicycle Coalition's Flickr set of photos taken during the bike tour!

Event #2: Walking Tour!

  • Sunday, November 4
  • Featuring: Mark Focht (Parks and Recreation), Maitreyi Roy (Bartram's Garden), Jose Almiñana (Andropogon Associates)
  • Check out Eyes on the Street's Ashley Hahn's extensive report and photo slideshows from the walking tour!
  • View Ashley's Flickr set of photos taken during the walking tour!

Event #3: Dinner Conversation!

  • Monday, November 5
  • Click here to view the PowerPoint presentation given during this meeting.
  • Click here to view the transcript of ideas submitted by dinner attendees.

Event #4: Design Workshop!

  • Saturday, November 10
  • Click here to view the PowerPoint presentation given during this meeting.
  • Click here to view the transcript of ideas and design concepts proposed during the workshop.
  • Click to view sketches drawn by citizen groups during the Design Workshop for the northern sectionBartram's Garden section, and southern section (#1 and #2) of Bartram's Mile.

Bartram's Mile Design Workshop.

Phase I: Conceptual Design Results

The purpose of Phase I was to begin very preliminary design work and get a sense of citizen ideas and priorities for the site. The project's early conceptual design ideas are available; they were drafted as part of the Fall 2012 process.

  • Complete Phase I Public Feedback (PDF)
  • Phase I Trail Concept Map (JPEG)
  • Trail Sections -- northern portion (PDF)
  • Trail Sections -- central portion (PDF)
  • Trail Sections -- southern portion (PDF)
  • View -- Botanic Avenue Site (PDF)
  • View -- 56th Street Terminus (PDF)

Mike DiBerardinis at Bartram's Mile Dinner Conversation.

Phase II: Public Meeting Recap

After a robust outreach process in Fall 2012, the Bartram's Mile team sought direct feedback on the design concepts drafted in the first half of 2013, with a focus on outreach to near neighbors to build interest and potential stewardship for the green space once it opens.  This involved organizing “Civic Feedback Sessions," smaller focus groups, and soliciting input from various Southwest Philadelphia community organizations Info for the two sessions were:

Click here to view the presentation given by PennPraxis and Andropogon Associates during these public meetings.

Click here to view the full transcripts with a distillation cover page of the public feedback we received in July 2013.

Bartram's Mile Dinner Conversation.

Project Press

For any questions on the Bartram's Mile project, please contact us here: or 215-746-3849.

The riverfront on the "Bartram's South" site.

Streets Department facility on Botanic Avenue.