U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Pennsylvania > Philadelphia
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 10-01-2019, 12:46 PM
 
25 posts, read 8,328 times
Reputation: 49

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireshaker View Post
One thing that Norristown could do to stand out would be to actually develop their riverfront into a destination. For all that Conshy has done right, they haven't done that--their riverfront land is pretty barren, aside from some minor industrial uses. I always thought that was a huge missed opportunity. How many communities would kill to have such prime real estate, especially in the suburbs?

A good mix of waterfront retail and parkland, working in conjunction with the Schuylkill Trail behind it? Perhaps even a Norristown version of a Spruce Street Harbor Park? That would be killer.

Without the offices & mixed-use zoning along the river, I don't think the revival of the town would have occurred. There are still opportunities to utilize the river for residents. There is a dog park, a rowing center, walking trail, and pop-up beer garden for what it's worth.

A developer-financed vision for a boardwalk, park, sports fields, and amphitheater was proposed, but I think they did that as a technicality to get their condo complex approved and sadly won't ever happen. Perhaps if the steel mill parcel in Plymouth township goes up for sale that could be implemented.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 10-01-2019, 08:05 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
232 posts, read 71,864 times
Reputation: 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly Eagles Fly View Post
I am currently closing on a house in Norristown, so this topic is of intense interest to me.

It seems to me that, when Norristown stages a comeback, it will be a really great place to live. To use the earlier cited examples of the county seats in the Philly suburbs, Media, Doylestown, and West Chester are three of the most walkable and interesting suburbs in the area, with much better downtowns than the average suburb. And Norristown is bigger and denser than any of them. Yet their revivals all started decades ago, while Norristown is still largely stuck in the mud.

For at least 20 years, people have been wondering when Norristown will follow the surrounding prosperous suburbs (https://www.bizjournals.com/philadel...09/focus1.html). When I was a kid, Conshohocken was just as bad as Norristown, possibly worse. Now Norristown is rougher than it was then, while Conshohocken- along with Media, Doylestown, West Chester, and especially King of Prussia - just grows more and more attractive.

But Norristown, as the original poster stated, has amazing bones. There is just too much potential for it to lag much longer. It has been held back, it seems, by a series of policies that favored newer suburbs like KoP and hollowed out Norristown. It was death by a thousand cuts, starting in the 1950's when the Pennsylvania turnpike snubbed and went right past the largest Philadelphia suburb, giving exits to the villages of Plymouth Meeting and King of Prussia instead, and Norristown's heyday ended before most of us were born.

For me, and I hope the town, the tipping point is going to be the Turnpike interchange, which will be less than a mile from my house, and give similar highway super-access (being just moments from the PA turnpike on ramp, and only 5 minutes from the starts of the Blue Route, Schuylkill Expressway, and Northeast extension as well as 202 and 422) to what King of Prussia enjoys. For me, being so close to all those highways means if I have to, I can commute anywhere in the area. And I can walk to the train station from my house, too, so if I am lucky I will work someplace I can take the train.

I really think (and am betting) that on ramp will be the start of the Renaissance for the town in general. No doubt a local boomlet will happen near the ramp. But over the next several years the conditions will be ripe for Conshohocken-style development along the river. And personally, the fact that Norristown is on a great bike path (Schuykill River Trail), a brand new bike path just got connected (Chester Valley Trail), and is within a few miles of both Valley Forge NP and the Perkiommen Trail makes me excited that Schuylkill Trail is just a couple blocks away.

There is also something I don't hear anyone talk about, but it gets me excited, and that is Barbadoes Island. It sits in the middle of the river by the bridges, more than a half mile long and up to 1,000 feet wide, Wikipedia says it is 90 acres, with only one old industrial building on the whole property. THAT could either become a fantastic park or the location of a ton of new development, a stone's throw from the train station. If they develop that properly, it will become a huge, shiny, new focal point for the town.

Who knows how long it will take to happen. Federal, state, and local policies can continue to hinder Norristown, and it has little momentum at present. But my guess is as soon as it gets a little bit chic, people will smell a winner and within a couple years of that there will be a huge stampede. If I had to predict, I would say two years after the highway ramp is completed the town will begin to start getting trendy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Map Man View Post
Without the offices & mixed-use zoning along the river, I don't think the revival of the town would have occurred. There are still opportunities to utilize the river for residents. There is a dog park, a rowing center, walking trail, and pop-up beer garden for what it's worth.

A developer-financed vision for a boardwalk, park, sports fields, and amphitheater was proposed, but I think they did that as a technicality to get their condo complex approved and sadly won't ever happen. Perhaps if the steel mill parcel in Plymouth township goes up for sale that could be implemented.
The Conshy/ West Conshy riverfront has seen commercial development over the past 20 or so years and there is more to come with SORA West on the way. Residential development has also grown along Hector St. but it isn't adjacent to the river. Aside from the Schuylkill river trail, there isn't a lot of recreation or public use that I have seen.

It's a missed opportunity, in my opinion. But it would not be easy to do as the available land is pretty limited and accessing it would pose challenges given the topography. But I'm not an urban planner or developer, just an interested party. Norristown is probably a better opportunity for a development like that.

I hope the new ramp paves the way towards investment in downtown Norristown. The new Wawa is a substantial presence on Ridge Pike near the Lafayette Rd extension. It's easy to imagine that more good things will follow.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-01-2019, 10:46 PM
 
12 posts, read 1,708 times
Reputation: 40
I checked, and Mr Map Man is right- at the time the Turnpike was constructed, they proposed an exit in about the same spot one is getting built, and the powers that be apparently all hated the idea. They obviously didn't predict how highways would shape life in the not too distant future. 20/20 hindsight, right?

There is a blog called The More Things Change that has a couple dozen posts related to this thread. The author is a historian who writes about the development and future prospects of the 8 old industrial river towns along the lower Schuylkill- from Conshy to Pottstown- but Norristown is his favorite and the focus of at least half the articles.

Regarding developing the riverfront, the highway exit onto Lafayette Street and extension to 202 is perfect to help that. Now there are a bunch of industrial buildings and a water treatment plant, things it will take time to buy out and replace. That's why I am so psyched about Barbadoes Island, because if you move the one operating facility there are now 90 acres of prime land that can be developed however the city wants.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-02-2019, 10:00 AM
 
25 posts, read 8,328 times
Reputation: 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by TownDweller View Post
I hope the new ramp paves the way towards investment in downtown Norristown. The new Wawa is a substantial presence on Ridge Pike near the Lafayette Rd extension. It's easy to imagine that more good things will follow.

Absolutely, I think it will be a huge boost along with the Markley St. improvements. Last I read, state funding for the off-ramp was in jeopardy, anybody know the status? That off-ramp is vital to the project.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-02-2019, 10:03 AM
 
25 posts, read 8,328 times
Reputation: 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly Eagles Fly View Post
There is a blog called The More Things Change that has a couple dozen posts related to this thread. The author is a historian who writes about the development and future prospects of the 8 old industrial river towns along the lower Schuylkill- from Conshy to Pottstown- but Norristown is his favorite and the focus of at least half the articles.
Tolle is a great reference for history of the area. Jack & Brian Coll are also great contributors to local historical societies. They have a frame shop on Fayette St. and love to chat about history and perspective of all towns referenced.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-02-2019, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
232 posts, read 71,864 times
Reputation: 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Map Man View Post
Absolutely, I think it will be a huge boost along with the Markley St. improvements. Last I read, state funding for the off-ramp was in jeopardy, anybody know the status? That off-ramp is vital to the project.
I'm not familiar with that, this article states eight year funding through 2024 was a done deal back in 2016.

https://patch.com/pennsylvania/norri...reet-extension
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-09-2019, 02:52 AM
 
12 posts, read 1,708 times
Reputation: 40
From what I can gather, the funding IS guaranteed. The project is in 5 phases, and widening Lafayette Street is phase three and just finishing up. The interchange is phase 4, but it looks like they may still be designing it, there was no mention of construction or finishing dates. Supposedly the whole thing is going to be done in 2024, which would give two to three years for each of the last two phases.

Connecting Lafayette St to the bridge at 202 south will be the final phase.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-09-2019, 06:13 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
232 posts, read 71,864 times
Reputation: 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly Eagles Fly View Post
From what I can gather, the funding IS guaranteed. The project is in 5 phases, and widening Lafayette Street is phase three and just finishing up. The interchange is phase 4, but it looks like they may still be designing it, there was no mention of construction or finishing dates. Supposedly the whole thing is going to be done in 2024, which would give two to three years for each of the last two phases.

Connecting Lafayette St to the bridge at 202 south will be the final phase.
There's also this update which bodes well for downtown Norristown: https://patch.com/pennsylvania/norri...ion-norristown
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-21-2019, 08:56 PM
 
12 posts, read 1,708 times
Reputation: 40
Well, my offer on the house was accepted. Looks like I'm going to be a Norristowner (Norristonian?). Psyched!

I really think my place is perfectly located. I can walk to at least 20 restaurants, the train lines, downtown, and the bike trail. My street seems safe even if a few blocks away it is a little sketchy- high crime areas are at least 5 or 6 blocks away. It doesn't have a large grocery (like a Giant) or a movie theater downtown, but if it did you really wouldn't need a vehicle. As it is there's a 7-11, Family Dollar and three or four Mexican convenience stores within a half a mile. And the Giant is ten minutes by bicycle, which is totally doable for me. The walk score for my zip code is 76 out of 100, which is really good.

Even now, before the Interchange, highway access is stellar, as the Blue Route on ramp is 2 miles away and the Turnpike at Plymouth Meeting less than 3 miles.

Of course, if the crime is too bad, that erases any positives, but my read is that, like a lot of places with a bad reputation, the reality is much more nuanced and manageable. In Norristown in the daytime I'd walk anywhere.

I am convinced that 1) Norristown is not that bad, and 2) the future really is going to turn up for Norristown. And that is really is a case of when, not if.

Just east of my house are several new and newish apartment buildings. Every time I go over there I see what I almost never see in Norristown- young, well-off, urban-hipster types, and there are about 500 apartments tucked back there- Luxor, The Point at Plymouth Meeting, Plymouth Towne- and they don't want to admit it but they are part of Norristown, they chose Norristown.

When Norristown starts getting those young New Urbanist types in the center of town, instead of in apartments along the edges, the boom will be underway.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-22-2019, 08:47 AM
 
25 posts, read 8,328 times
Reputation: 49
Congrats! The sheer fact that you weighed the pros and cons and saw Norristown's future potential underscores a positive direction for the town. Please keep us updated on what you are seeing take place!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Pennsylvania > Philadelphia
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top