Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway was designed, in the late 1800s, on a grand scale. Despite some fine civic buildings, sculpture and lovely vistas, however, it became more like a Grand Prix. Traffic has ruled, with little to welcome pedestrians to this major urban street. The lighting symbolized its use: mostly highway “cobrahead” and 1960s-era “shoebox” fixtures.
In a major step to help rethink the Parkway, the Trusts committed $3 million to the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation for the design and installation of new street, sidewalk, façade and monument lighting. This past July 4, the switch was thrown, illuminating eight buildings, 12 statues and the walkways, a start in realizing the ambitions of the Parkway’s original planners.