Why the Triangles on Grays Ferry Avenue Matter


As the neighborhood has grown in recent years, the current configuration of the triangles has come to present a safety hazard to both motorists and pedestrians because of the confusing traffic patterns and awkward traffic light timing associated with these intersections. As one of the main arteries to and from the central business district of our city, this area needs to be pedestrian friendly. Over the past year there have been several accidents and injuries at these intersections. By eliminating blind spots, promoting more regular traffic patterns and allowing for a better defined walking route, improvements to the triangles may help to prevent such issues in the future.

Community Identity

This area borders southwest Center City and is a part of the diverse SOSNA neighborhood (South of South Neighborhood Association). Some recognize it as "South Square" because of the name of the supermarket, "Odunde triangle" because of the Odunde festival, or "Catherine Thorn triangle", the name inscribed on the fountain. But this little commercial district lacks a collective sense of itself or an identity.

Public Places

These triangle areas are the only under developed public spaces in the immediate area. There is the new Julian Abele Park at 22nd and Carpenter Streets and the larger park at Marion Anderson Recreation Center but no other location in the SOSNA area has the opportunity to provide a public space in the center of a long-standing commercial district. People engage with each other in collective activities like shopping, working, and entertainment in public spaces. The public realm should encourage these activities by its design to the benefit of residents and businesses alike.

Cultural/Historical Recognition

People have lived in this neighborhood for years and the potential to recognize and celebrate the history and culture of the neighborhood is always a great way to gain some sense of identity and provide recognition to a place.

Sustainability/Storm Water Control/Greening

Right now these triangles are leftover spaces without any great value. Sustainability is about finding value in existing conditions (reuse, recycle, restore), and making things more environmentally friendly by reducing storm water runoff and adding more canopy trees and park space. In this light, it is easy to see the hidden potential in these unused triangular gems.


These public areas should be thought of as important places that are physically connected to the surrounding and contiguous neighborhoods. They are one small link in a chain public places... the development of South Street Bridge across to West Philadelphia, the Schuylkill River Trail along the river to Fairmount Park, and the other public parks and spaces in the adjacent communities that unite this area and make it a unique place to live and conduct business.

Economic Development

The success of the neighborhood commercial district is based on all these talking points. We want to see the commercial district serve the neighborhood which means visibility, easy access from the surrounding neighborhoods, and ample parking, along with pedestrian friendly crosswalks, streets, and public areas.