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    • Olney Ave.

Council hears fears of outlying "middle" neighborhoods' decline

On Tuesday afternoon, Councilwoman Cherelle Parker held a marathon hearing on “Middle Neighborhoods,” the kind of stable, working-to-middle class areas that kept Philadelphia afloat in the worst years of…

    • Cobbs Creek | Steve Ives, EOTS Flickr Group

Record turnout to kick off West District Plan

Last Thursday, at West Philadelphia High School, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission commenced its second to last district planning process. The commission began crafting district plans for every corner of the…

    • Royal Theater redevelopment: view from South Street | May 2017 Civic Design Review, JKRP

Royal Theater’s replacement passes design review

May’s Civic Design Review (CDR) was all sweetness and light, with both a new multi-family development on City Avenue and the redevelopment of the Royal Theater winning quick support from the…



The Philadelphia City Planning Commission lists Overbrook in a grouping called "The City Line Neighborhoods" which includes Overbrook Park, Green Hill Farms, Overbrook Farms, Wynnefield, Belmont Village and Wynnefield Heights. These neighborhoods have some of the most expensive housing and lowest vacancy rates in West Philadelphia. Income levels are also relatively high in this area. The percentage of persons aged 65 or over is also considerably higher in this area than is true of West Philadelphia and the City as a whole. “City Line” is a popular phrase that is sometimes used interchangeably with the street name, which is City Avenue. “City Line” is also used to refer to the area near City Avenue.

The Overbrook neighborhood has two different sections that are separated by the major northsouth street in the area (63rd Street). The section located to the east of 63rd Street houses a predominantly Black population, while the area to the west is predominantly Caucasian. Both sections are predominantly row house areas, but there are also blocks of twin homes in both sections. Overbrook east of 63rd Street extends from Lancaster Avenue on the north to Lansdowne Avenue on the south. A section of Lansdowne Avenue is the primary shopping district for area residents. Overbrook High School and Tustin Playground are large public facilities located on Lancaster Avenue. The extreme eastern portion of the neighborhood, between 54th and 56th Streets, is the oldest and most deteriorated section of Overbrook. Household income levels are lower here than in the remainder of the neighborhood. Baker Playground and the Heston Elementary School are located near 54th Street. Overbrook west of 63rd Street is a neighborhood located south of Malvern Avenue and east of Morris Park (Morris Park is a part of the Fairmount Park system). The neighborhood’s shopping area is part of a mixed-use district along Haverford Avenue. Two neighborhood landmarks are located adjacent to the park:  the Francis X. Cabrini Retirement/Nursing Home and the St. Callistus Roman Catholic Church and School.

As indicated by the strong property values, the City Line neighborhoods have maintained their attractiveness as places to live. They offer a suburban-like environment with plentiful open space and modern shopping centers in an area where travelling by car is usually convenient -- especially when driving to and from suburban destinations. Most of the housing and shopping facilities have off-street parking. Three golf courses, two major sections of Fairmount Park and the large landscaped institutional properties around St. Joseph’s University convey a feeling of greenery and openness to all of these neighborhoods.

The City Avenue neighborhoods also benefit from quality housing, distinctive architecture and good public transportation. Large stone and tudor style, stucco clad homes, built around the turn of the century in Overbrook Farms and Wynnefield, are among the most beautiful houses in the city. Thirty-to-fifty year old custom single homes make Green Hill Farms an attractive mix of different architectural styles. High-rise apartment and condominium buildings in Wynnefield Heights are well positioned for views of Fairmount Park, the Schuylkill River and the Center City skyline.

Unlike the Schuylkill Expressway, which changed this area’s locational context when it opened in the late 1950’s, the three commuter train stations in Overbrook Farms and Wynnefield are original components of these communities. Each rail station connects with one of the many bus routes in the area. In addition to regional rail, express buses provide good service for persons commuting to Center City, while local bus routes serve the City Avenue and Lancaster Pike corridors.  Commercial and institutional development makes a positive contribution to this area’s image and appearance. In addition, the University, hospitals, hotels and shopping centers provide employment and important tax ratables for the city’s economy.


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