Race Street is a key street with an at-grade crossing under the I-95 expressway, directly connecting Old City to the Delaware River and the Race Street Pier. It is only a minute walk from the corner of Race and Second Streets to the river. To make the connection more apparent to pedestrians, DRWC hired James Corner Field Operations, the firm which designed the Race Street Pier, who used a combination of design elements to enhance connectivity to the river and improve the pedestrian and bike experience including a dedicated bike lane, signage, benches, bollards, curb realignments, increased sidewalk widths, crosswalks, plantings and a dramatic light screen along the right-side wall of the underpasses. The screen is made of expanded metal with colorful lighting and bold signage. In addition to the River and the City directional signage, the smaller characters on the light screen represent a graphic timeline of the historic flooding events of the Delaware River, recorded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service at Pier 11. The flooding events are registered by month, year and peak flood height. The timeline adds visual interest while further emphasizing the relationship and connection of the city and the river.
In addition to these design elements is also Marquee, a public art project commissioned by the City of Philadelphia's Percent for Art Program in cooperation with the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation. Marquee was designed by Richard Torchia, with Aaron Igler and Matthew Suib from Greenhouse Media, and is comprised of a 4' by 60' LED screen mounted on the west-facing beam of the I-95 overpass above Race Street in Old City. This LED screen displays live-feed images of the surface of the Delaware River, captured by a camera at the water's edge, 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. Never the same twice, the real-time depictions of the water displayed on the screen are constantly shifting according to weather and lighting conditions, as well as boating patterns and river wildlife.
In addition to drawing pedestrians toward the waterfront, these images may also encourage pedestrians to re-imagine the cascading roar of the overpass traffic as the sound of waves. The work reciprocates the gesture made by the Race Street Pier, an urban park that brings the city to the river: Marquee brings the river to the city.