The EnviroHealthSense team is gearing up to start fieldwork in the River Wards. This past month we have been sketching out residential areas where we would like to conduct our survey. We’ve been focused on Kensington and Port Richmond, but later this week we’ll head up to Bridesburg to map out the survey zone in that community as well. With fewer contacts in Bridesburg it has taken us longer to get started in that community.
Our study mapping activities have focused on identifying blocks and streets that are residentially dense, but we’ve also been marking off blocks that are adjacent to industrial and commercial sites, vacant lots, and parks. The section of Port Richmond that we’ll be surveying — Richmond Street to Aramingo Avenue and Castor Avenue to Somerset Street — feels like a fairly mixed use section, but we need to compare it to other areas of the city. Given its proximity to the Tioga Marine Terminal and perhaps industrial legacies, there are a number of lots with commercial vehicles and materials. The area seems to become more residential as you move west or southwest, across Alleghany Avenue.
The team has been surprised to find that construction along I-95 has been our greatest challenge in mapping out the survey area: We find ourselves consistently rerouted or up against road closed signs! And yet, because we can’t rely on google maps in the field, it’s forcing us to learn the neighborhood on the ground better. One of the things the team will be especially tuned in to as we conduct the survey is the extent to which I-95 construction disrupts lives in Port Richmond. But will our data be overly focused on I-95? Even though our survey work hasn’t officially begun, we’re already hearing about the dust, noise, and traffic problems related to the construction project. This won’t be as much an issue, we think, in Bridesburg and Kensington, where our survey area is set back from I-95.
If this is the first time you’re hearing about the project, you can learn more about the work we’re doing in Philadelphia’s River Wards on our ‘Projects’ page.