Architecture and interior design magazine California Home + Design has included the stretch of I-95 running through Philadelphia in its list of “25 Buildings to Demolish Right Now,” a nationwide compilation created by 15 architects and staffers.
Though the highway is not actually a building, as the authors note in the preface of their criticism, they denounce the “monstrosity” as a relic of 1960s car culture that cuts off residents from the city’s waterfront.
“Sadly, Philadelphia is missing out on an opportunity that cities like San Francisco and New York have taken advantage of: making the waterfront a green zone for people,” the article reads. “Currently, the only way to see Philadelphia’s waterfront is speeding past in a car.”
Apparently, the west coast writers have never heard of Boathouse Row, Schuylkill Banks, Penn’s Landing, Race Street Pier or the currently-underway Washington Avenue Green.
Philadelphia got off relatively easy compared to San Mateo County in California, where the magazine recommended the entire community of Daly City be razed.
California Home + Design’s writers are hardly the first design professionals to call for the demolition of I-95 in Philly, as representatives of Penn Praxis, The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation and the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities discussed with Metro in September.
While many agree that the interstate is both an eyesore and a hindrance to river access, officials said that the extended road closures and construction that would be required to alter I-95 is not financially realistic.
The city is instead focusing on incrementally repairing the aging highway as it nears the end of its 50-year lifespan and improving waterfront connections where possible.