City planning director Barbara Kaplan responded to The Inquirer's criticism of the Planning Commission's work on waterfront development. After five years of wastefully expensive and ineffectual "studies," Ms. Kaplan offers us little more than a windswept Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, a restaurant, apartments on a wharf and a high, wire fence along Interstate 95, thankfully unbarbed.
In short, the commission has once again taken a golden opportunity and has performed the reverse of the Midas Touch. To her credit, Ms. Kaplan has finally turned over the job of planning to Rouse & Associates, highly successful urban planners. Curiously, Willard Rouse has everything that our planners lack - imagination, effectiveness, nerve. It is also interesting to note that Rouse & Associates combines downtown projects with innovative neighborhood renewal projects to serve, as he put it, "the needs and yearnings of all Philadelphians."