Scranton What If

Scranton What If

Scranton What If

We at DxDempsey are introducing a series of visions, questions, and possibilities call “What If’s?”  Their intention is to discover the hidden potential in our great city.  We invite you to comment, suggest, and share your own ideas with us.  Keep in mind there are no bad ideas in brainstorming so we want to keep this positive and hopefully inspire each other to make our city a better place.

Opportunity Link: Pedestrian Bridge from the Lackawanna River Heritage Valley

What if bicycle and pedestrian access to the Lackawanna Heritage Trail were able to lessen the congestion on the roads? Could repurposing a dilapidated vehicle bridge as a foot bridge to allow for safe bike and pedestrian crossing of the Lackawanna River result in healthier lifestyles? This development would link the existing Lackawanna Heritage Trail to a new spur at Cliff Street that would  connect to Steamtown National Historic Site and the Electric City Trolley Museum, located on the Steamtown Campus. By utilizing more bicycle and pedestrian modes of transportation, would a healthier community emerge with cleaner, healthier air, less congested roadways and more livable, safe and cost efficient communities?

What if, Scranton?

 

Opportunity Link: Lackawanna Avenue Connector

What if we could take a once rundown bridge on the Lackawanna Heritage Trail and transform it into a communal attraction and throughway? The only route currently from the 7th Avenue trailhead to the Intermodal Center and the downtown Scranton center Business District is an extremely hazardous 18” wide foot path beneath the rail bridge. What if there was an elevated pathway created to bridge the gap on the Lackawanna Heritage Trail that did not interfere with the active rail ridge above, but was also not effected by the seasonally rising river below? Would safer footpaths of transportation encourage bicycle and pedestrian transportation and ultimately, healthier lifestyles in the community?

What if, Scranton?

 

Iron District Organic Food Co-Op

What if an important downtown corner was re-imagined as a sustainably designed, appropriately-scaled building with a connection to the elevated urban park along the rail road tracks behind it?  What if this mixed-use building had a market on the street level that could still include Buona Pizza, but maybe now they get some ingredients from the anchor tenant–an organic food co-op supplied by local farms?  What if it was possible to live or work above the market and be within a 5 minute walk of shops, restaurants, markets, the movies, an elevated park and the historic Scranton Iron Furnaces?  What if this building was located on the 500 Block of Lackawanna Avenue, which is set to become a threshold to the new Iron District–an area that will be an artistic and cultural link between the downtown and South Scranton?

What if, Scranton?

 

Scranton Gateway and Observation Tower

Why is the arrival into the downtown from the North Scranton Expressway so anti-climatic? What if a welcome sign was added that gave visitors a sense of arrival?  What if this was more than a sign but also a destination point that provided a connection point from Downtown Scranton to the Lackawanna Heritage Trail?  This structure could also provide a lookout for visitors to take in the view the downtown, the Lackawanna River, and the west mountain. This design speaks to Scranton’s industrial and mining heritage with an undulating skin of dark steel containing a brightly painted orange structure, stair tower, and elevator harking back to coal burning within the furnaces that powered the early days of Scranton.

What If, Scranton?

 

Divine Urban Diner

What if derelict, vacant spaces were revitalized as multi-purpose pocket parks? What If this park provided surfaces for people to take a lunch break, study break, or to simply relax? What if these spaces offered a gentle, tranquil escape from the urban environment, where one could retreat to the sound of water echoing off the surrounding concrete?   What if there was an urban café to provide a downtown setting coupled with the experience and peace of a pocket park?

What if, Scranton?

 

Parking Garage Beautification

What if parking garages not only provided safe and easily navigable parking, but also contributed to the beauty of the downtown? What if these eyesore facades became attractive elements of the downtown with colorful cladding, clear and concise signage, and safe lighting levels? What if restaurants and shops occupied the street level, revitalizing this barren block of Penn Avenue?

What if, Scranton?

 

 

Scranton Rail Walk

What if the abandoned railroads running through Scranton were re-imagined as trails and walking paths interlaced into the city grid? This new network of trails would provide a connection to the current Lackawanna River Heritage Trail and the Davis Trail, culminating in one large web of easily accessible pathways. The design allows the pig iron tracks to remain visible throughout the trail’s footprint and preserves abandoned relics, such as rusted train cars, which are dotted along its path.  What if we keep our venerable history alive and usable instead of allowing it to fall into an antiquated state of disrepair?

What if, Scranton?

 

Stoehr & Fister Storefront Revitalization

What if Scranton’s street level spaces addressed the public realm? What if solid walls and dark tinted windows were replaced with wide expanses of clear glass that invited the outside in? What if these spaces were shops, restaurants, or other amenities that contributed to the Courthouse Square? What if the entire sidewalk were activated with outdoor dining or retail displays that enlivened the feel of downtown?

What if, Scranton?

 

The Schlager Multi-Purpose Event Space

What If Scranton facilitated the resurgence of the experiential qualities of the once popular and bustling North American music culture through the revitalization of the Schlager music scene of the 1970’s?  What if this street front was re-animated as an arts corridor, encompassing an artist studio, a dance studio, a performance venue, and new retail space?  What if we allowed a hotspot for the arts community of Scranton to congregate by providing a unique corridor on Adams Avenue in concert with The Leonard which personifies and embodies the transient qualities of creativity and expression, while at the same time restoring and retaining these vital components of Scranton’s history?

What if, Scranton?

 

Wyoming Avenue Nightscape

What if streets and buildings downtown that are dark and life-less after dusk could be brought to life with vibrancy and energy? What if streets were well-lit and buildings were illuminated, welcoming workers to stay downtown after their work days are complete and visitors to come downtown after hours to enjoy the city’s restaurants and businesses? What if the new building lighting could correspond to holidays and community events, working in concert with the Times Tower and Electric City sign, with lighting to promote Parade Day, the Italian Festival or the Fourth of July, awakening the city, enlivening the nighttime skyline, and celebrating “The Electric City”?

What if, Scranton?

 

Courthouse Square Streetscape

What if the first impression of Scranton was cleaned of its unsightly elements? What if the telephone wires were relocated beneath the streets to create a clear view of Scranton’s beautiful architecture and parks?  What if the signage and wayfinding was simple, attractive and consistent?  What if the streetscapes were populated with more greenery?  What if small visual changes made a big visual impact?

What if, Scranton?

 

Tillie’s Cafe

What if an abandoned and dilapidated zoo was re-imagined as a park visitor’s center and café? What if the old cages were replaced with a glass sun room that directly connected the beauty of the park with the former zoo’s interior and put new animals–in this case, people on display? What if this historical structure became a destination for future events, while celebrating the memory of its past by commemorating the animals that once made the zoo famous?

What if, Scranton?