Pier 53

The Washington Avenue Pier 53 along the Delaware River was in dire need of restoration. Once a major processing point for European immigrants (and dubbed Philadelphia’s “Ellis Island” as a result), this historically valued pier had lost half of its mass due to wave action from the Delaware River combined with dilapidated barrier walls.

The Delaware River Basin Commission sought ways to prevent further erosion, create a safe and attractive public use space with historical educational opportunities while also enhancing the pier’s value as wildlife habitat in an urban built environment.

Through extensive re-grading and planting of native vegetation, a high-profile restoration was created to provide habitat for diverse wildlife ranging from migratory songbirds and waterfowl to the rare redbelly turtle (listed as threatened in Pennsylvania) all while creating a welcoming space for public appreciation and use.

In 2014, the restoration opened to the public to high acclaim with Philadelphia’s mayor proclaiming it “a symbol of Philadelphia’s resurgence.”

  • Master Park Planning
  • Riparian Restoration
  • Urban Wildlife Refuge
  • Water Quality + Erosion Control

Washington Avenue Pier EcoPark
Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia
2012-2014


appliedecoPier 53