Benjamin Franklin Parkway Listed As Great Street

Benjamin Franklin Parkway Listed As Great Street

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Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC

The Ben Franklin Parkway has a reason to celebrate; it was listed in one of 10 Great Streets for 2013 by the American Planning Association.

The APA said the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is a "cultural mecca" of sorts given the breadth and stature of the museums and educational institutions.

"Benjamin Franklin Parkway is an iconic boulevard, on the scale of the Champs-Élysées in Paris," said APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer, FAICP.

Conceived in 1871, the parkway was inspired by the City Beautiful movement of the late 19th Century.

The parkway has become city's art destination because of the number and stature of the art galleries and educational institutions on the boulevard including the Franklin Institute, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rodin Museum and the Barnes Foundation.

The parkway's comparison to the Champs-Elysees and references as "a little slice of Paris in Philadelphia" have merit. French architects Paul Cret and Jacques Greiber's worked separately on the street's plan, each calling for generous amounts of green space through the use of wide medians, parks and two large traffic circles -- Eakins Oval and Logan Circle.

The parkway not only attracts more than 3 million visitors a year, but it also serves as the front yard for 20,000 apartment dwellers and the civic space for major celebrations and events.

The nine other APA 2013 Great Streets are: North and South Walnut Street, Milford, DE; Palafox Street, Pensacola, FL; Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI; Bridge Street, Las Vegas, NM; C Street, Virginia City, NV; Market Street, Corning, NY; Broadway, Jim Thorpe, PA; The Strand, Galveston, TX; and West Beverley Street, Staunton, VA.

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