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How Philadelphia plans to "stitch" Chinatown's divided neighborhood back together

City officials unveil plan to "stitch" Philadelphia's Chinatown back together
City officials unveil plan to "stitch" Philadelphia's Chinatown back together 02:07

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Vine Street Expressway has split Philadelphia's Chinatown neighborhood for decades. But now, city officials want to change that and they plan to "stitch" the divided neighborhood back together.  

"Today shows there is hope in sight, and a vision and a dream that our residents have been talking about," John Chin, the executive director of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Coalition, said.  

The city is making plans to reconnect Chinatown – long divided by the Vine Street Expressway. 

City leaders on Tuesday unveiled their plan for the so-called Chinatown stitch – capping two and a half blocks between 10th and 13th streets – and bringing the first green space to the neighborhood. 


"We intend this to be not just another project, but a core part of this neighborhood and our city's legacy of righting past injustices," Mike Carroll, the deputy managing director of the Philadelphia Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability, said.   

Chin, a Chinatown native, says the community backs the plan that they've long wanted to see. 

"There's always these developments that are thrust upon us whether we want them or not," Chin said. "So that's how we've lived with the expressway. But fast-forward to 2023, that narrative's gonna change."  

Tuesday's news comes as some in the community try to fend off another major development near Chinatown –  the proposed Philadelphia 76ers arena on Market Street between 10th and 11th Streets.

RELATED: Philadelphia Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker signals support for proposed 76ers arena

On that project, stakeholders are still waiting for the city's impact report. 

"No amount of money and nothing that's been proposed so far gives me a confident guarantee that this community can survive the arena," Chin said.   


But those on Tuesday were adamant that moving forward on the cap means nothing for the arena discussion. 

"They're running on two separate parallel points, but nothing, they're not connected in any way," Councilmember Mark Squilla said. 

"Our Vine Street cap is a project we've been working on for a very long time, there's really no connection to the arena," Chin said.   

The Chinatown Stitch project will now go into 14 months of planning and development, while city leaders try to secure federal funding to help cover the estimated $160 million price tag. 

If all goes well, construction could start in 2027.  

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