The Delaware River Waterfront has thrived over the past years thanks to the involvement and support from the Philadelphia community and regional visitors. What was as an underutilized portion of Philadelphia only a few years ago...
Enjoy the Delaware River Waterfront at Pier 68
Pier 68, located at the end of Pier 70 Boulevard at the Delaware River, is a place to relax and enjoy the Philadelphia waterfront. The Pier features:
- Distinctive views of the city skyline and the river
- Learn about the tidal ecology of the Delaware River and its watershed
- Recreational fishing and public gathering space
About Pier 68
Pier 68 was designed in response to DRWC’s long-term programmatic goals for the area and shaped by the community’s desires, which were shared in multiple public meetings beginning in February 2014. Design elements include:
- An Entrance Deck with whimsical painted poles and repurposed maritime bollards to create a distinctive gateway for the pier. Located just off the future trail extension, this space serves as a resting spot for those using the trail and as a place where shopping center visitors can quickly experience the Pier Park.
- A Tree Canopy that begins to conceal the parking lot and traffic to the west. These trees serve as a threshold, marking that visitors have crossed into a new environment. Along the southern edge of the pier, visitors will find a number of picnic tables which can be used for casual meals or table-top games.
- The Aquatic Cut, 4.5’ deep cut into the pier surface allows water to filter up through the lower wood deck to reveal the semidiurnal tidal activity of the Delaware River. Filled with native, aquatic plants, this space will be a focal point for educators and curious visitors, creating a microcosm of the Delaware River’s pre-industrial ecology.
- The end of the pier features an Angled Lawn for lounging and sun-bathing. With proximity to the water and restored concrete paving, the Water-Side Walk and the open Pier Terminus supports a variety of events and activities such as recreational fishing or gathering to watch holiday fireworks. Custom-designed wave-shaped benches create a unique and distinctive park element that visitors will remember long after they’ve left.
Pier 68 was designed by Studio Bryan Hanes following public meetings hosted by DRWC. Other members of the design team include Digsau, Azavea, Anchor Consultants, Stantec, and TEND Landscape, Inc. Scungio-Borst provided construction management services. The park was built over a period of seven months by Bittenbender Construction and Hydro Marine Construction, both women-owned companies with a total construction budget of about $1.8 million. It is a model for how a non-profit can work with multiple private and public funding sources to finance public space. DRWC has multiple organizations to thank, including:
- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources ($500,000)
- William Penn Foundation ($450,000)
- City of Philadelphia ($325,000)
- Department of Community and Economic Development ($250,000)
- Walmart ($200,000)
- Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities Grant through the National Fish and Wildlife Service ($75,000)
Importance of Waterfront Development & Pier 68
Pier 68 and Washington Avenue Pier serve as bookends to the southern portion of the Delaware River Trail. A recent land acquisition means that DRWC is one step away from building out the trail to its full specifications, including separate bike and pedestrian facilities, beautiful landscaping, and distinctive furnishings and lighting.
Natural Lands Trust, the region’s oldest and largest land conservation organization, has played a critical role in helping to negotiate and acquire these parcels, and will continue to work with DRWC to acquire the final parcel and eventually create interpretive design and programmatic elements to enhance the entire southern section of the Waterfront.
The final trail will not only connect the two parks in the south, but it will eventually span much of the Central Delaware River Waterfront, allowing residents to travel north-south along the Delaware River. The trail will connect with the East Coast Greenway and the Spring Garden Greenway, making it an integral part of The Circuit. Pier 68 also serves a community that has traditionally been cut off from the waterfront and creates a safe place for waterfront recreation.
On the Waterfront: Pier 68 Preview from Plan Philly
Decked out on Pier 68 from Hidden City
Philly's New Waterfront Park Pier 68 Opens Today from philly.com