East Falls’ desire to adapt a long-vacant, deteriorating park facility along our business district, the Bathey House, for community use resulted in an extensive, phased planning process to inform a series of capital improvements to revitalize the East Falls Riverfront Business District. Community-wide charrettes and business surveys indicated that a lack of parking was the single biggest obstacle to developing a successful commercial corridor.
One of the first projects recommended in the subsequent 1998 original Riverfront Master Plan was the creation of a public parking lot under the Twin Bridges at 4100 Ridge Avenue. The 50-space parking lot was completed in 2007 and included a badly needed stormwater retention basin and extensive landscaping with native plants to provide a green buffer against the park. Because of its strategic location along the Schuylkill River recreational trail system, the Parking Lot quickly became the catalyst for other capital improvements and activities recommended in the 1998 plan. Currently, the Parking Lot hosts a year-round Saturday Farmers Market and seasonal monthly Beer Garden. Plans are underway to develop additional programming to activate the parking lot on a 24/7 basis.