Median With Debris, 38th Street, Philadelphia: in album Philadelphia
|Aug 17th, 2011, by Alex Zorach|
This is not a pretty photo. It's a photo of things the way they are.
This photo shows the median in 38th street in Philadelphia, looking northbound, just south of Curie Blvd. On the left of this photo is the parking garage connected to the VA Hospital. The median is littered with debris, including broken glass, trash, and branches from the rather sickly-looking trees in the median.
Note the compacted soil around the base of the trees. The first tree in the picture is a Zelkova, I think Zelkova serrata (Japanese Zelkova), a non-native tree in the same family as elms, but a different genus. These trees are robust, but few trees can truly thrive in the conditions pictured here.
When I see these sites, I like to see things both how they are, and how they could be. This median could be free of broken glass. It would be free of broken glass even if no one regularly cleaned up the area, if: (a) no one threw any glass bottles out of cars and (b) there were no car accidents along this stretch. The trees could be thriving. This could be done if the median were planted with a healthy ecosystem of plants and soil, allowing water to permeate and support plants, whose roots would keep the soil more permeable. I also think this area could be more pedestrian-friendly. There are sidewalks here, but there isn't much else inviting along this street with lots of trash and fast-moving traffic. Hospitals are a major culprit when it comes to pedestrian-unfriendly development...start thinking about ways to improve this stretch of street. Maybe some day it will happen...and when it does, the same ideas will likely be able to be applied to many other areas. Hospitals all across the country are located in ugly, pedestrian-unfriendly streetscapes like this one.