Monday, March 28, 2011

Riverfront Almost Ready

A family enjoying the playground at Scott Park 
on the Delaware River in Easton, PA

Posted by: Noël Jones

My brother was visiting last weekend so we took a walk downtown along the river, and I got an up-close look at the progress on the renovations to the waterfront. It's clearly not finished yet, but even so, there is a visible difference in the amount of human activity by
the river on a sunny day. Families were there, playing on the playground stuff, and random people were out walking their dogs or just walking and talking like my brother and I.

I'm not too happy with how far they have built the path from the wall where you can actually look down and see the river--that doesn't make sense to me, as my main reason for wanting to go down to the river is to walk along it and look at it. But what do I know, I'm not an architect. Mostly I was happy to see that the new crosswalks are succeeding in drawing people across Larry Holmes Drive, rather than it being a speed barrier to getting across to the river at all, and it's great that families are using all the kid stuff.

I'd like to hear from other residents and visitors as to how they are liking the new riverfront so far...thumbs up? How likely are you to go down and hang out there this summer? I'm hoping that we will have a really vibrant riverfront starting this year...


Anonymous said...

People use to go to the river before the improvements and kids used the playground equipment that was there. There was a parking lot that was free and there were many benches for sitting. I have not witnessed a major increase, but I have noticed more cars parked illegally along the drive. I have not seen many pedestrians crossing the drive from downtown.

Anonymous said...

Anon you must not go there often. I live downtown and this is a huge improvement. Plus I can cross Larry Holmes Drive and the speed of cars is even slower. As for the park I think the city did a great job and hopefully they will have more festivals and activities. Families are using the playground and it is far superior to what was there before. I really like the cover being placed on the original amphitheatre to keep the performers out of the sun.

This waterfront is our best asset and it is finally going to be used and guess what. I met families there from all parts of town and even visitors to our city.

As for the path, if you want to get up close to the river there is the path that connects the two parks. It is the bottom picture that was posted.

All in all another great public improvement. i also can't wait fot the new spray park at Heil Pool where I take my kids in the summer.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:40, I walk there everyday. EVERYDAY. I walked there before the improvements and after the improvements. The number of people is the same. The absence of free parking will hurt many people who came to the park on a daily basis. As I already stated, there was a playground before the improvements and it was used.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me but the free parking is still there and they even added spaces at Riverside Park on the street where there were never any spots before. As for the parking lot the only people that pparked there were workers who walked to their offices so they could avoid paying for parking.

Why must you look at the positives instead of your perceived negatives? Your comments about benches --- did you not see the flat rocks (natural) for sitting by the river? Did you not see the granite walls for sitting? And do you know that there are not going to be any benches? Seems to me the contractor isn't finished. So hold back the comments - although you seem like an individual who always sees the glass half empty.

This is a great addition to our city as well as the upgrades in the neighborhood parks. At least let's give it a chance.

Park User said...

Anon 8:22 You don't understand my post. Do I say anything negative anywhere? All I stated was that this area has been a park for a very long time and people have visited this park for a very long time. People continue to visit it. The improvements have not increased the visitors or decreased the visitors. There were benches for sitting and places for eating your lunch. Many people on warm days would bring their McDonalds lunch to the park and eat. One thing people did was bring their kids to fish off of the river. Another thing people did was bring their boats and launch in the Lehigh or Delaware. People have always used this park. The free parking lot has been removed. You cannot park your boat trailers there anymore. There goes access. The city stated that it will charge for parking on the new spots. There goes free access. Now, let's be negative. If the project was to improve access, it has not. The announcement to charge for parking just eliminated a lot of park users.

Park User said...

And one more: As for park benches, I'll take a wooden bench anyday over a granite slab. Granite slabs belong in cemeteries, not urban parks. That's not being negative. That's my back.

Anonymous said...

Not worthy of a response. Sorry you feel that way.

noel jones said...

Ok, I took a walk down by the river again with a friend yesterday, and no one was on the river--this was around 5:30/6pm. So maybe the reason I saw more people on the river last time was because it was on a Sunday...

Good points:
1. crosswalks and traffic calming measures to encourage walking traffic across Larry Holmes Drive
2. playground equipment for kids
3. they planted river birches, which are native and not only pretty, but sensible because they have a great chance of surviving and thriving by the river
4. new entry points to the lower path along the river
5. reinforcement of the retaining walls

Bad points:
1. the materials for the path, the wall, the plazas and the "benches" are all mismatched. black pavement trails, shiny modern granite block "benches", and a sand-colored concrete retaining wall.
2. they took out the old wooden benches, which are much more inviting than granite slabs
3. the moved the walking path in the park about 15-20 feet away from the edge, so that if people want to actually sit by the river they can't, and if they want to look at the river (the reason most people go to the river) they have to go off the path and trample the muddy grass to get to the new wall to look over.

Either way, anyone looking for a way to get some fresh air and exercise has a great place to go walking...I intend to make it a habit--hopefully others will too...and i hope that the local day cares will start taking kids down there to walk and play, instead of just walking them downtown and up Northampton...