The Central District has a LOT of transit options and services. But how many of these options do you know and use? How often is your trip a discouraging one because you can’t find the appropriate platform, terminal, or bus stop? How many times have you looked out of a bus window on Walnut Street or Chestnut Street and noticed three-legged dogs limping down the block, outpacing your bus? Well, hop on board to take a peek at getting around the district in 2035.
In the future, if your destination is outside the Philly area, then you will be able to depart in a motor coach from a modern bus terminal that is more prominent and better integrated with other transportation options. Running from the Market Frankford El to the Bus Terminal in February with your backpack and luggage to make the 5:42am bus to Buffalo will be just a quick, direct, weather-protected walk in a new tunnel.
In the future, a bus route will circulate around your favorite destinations connecting large and growing hospital and university campuses with new parks (like Festival Pier), with established trendy ones (Rittenhouse Square for a latte anyone?), with redeveloping residential and retail areas. Rethinking traditional bus routes and perhaps operating new ones to better accommodate desired circulation patterns would provide for one-seat rides to your destination no matter what quadrant of the District you live, work, and play in.
Trader Joe’s by subway? Yep. And did you know that you can do it now? Yes. There is a Green Line trolley subway station practically at the door of Trader Joe’s. And it will be easier to find thanks to station visibility enhancements, like new canopies and signage letting you know when the next trolley is due at that station, and whether it is traveling east to Juniper Street terminal or west over one of the five branches. Oh, and there is another Green Line trolley subway station at 19th & Market, right in the skyscraper core. Really. But you don’t need to wait until 2035 to use it!
And speaking of subways, Orange Line riders using City Hall Station won’t have to use an umbrella while waiting on the platforms to protect them from the flowing water from the ceiling. In 2035, the Concourses will be pleasant, functional, weather-protected urban spaces with vendors, buskers, and sweet Cinnabon smells, and many destinations on the streets above will have a direct passageway connecting to the Concourse system.
In 2035, we won’t have to use our own bicycles to get around thanks to a robust bike share system throughout the Central District. And parking for personal bikes will be safe in expanded bike corrals and a bike station that provides maintenance equipment and lockers. The City’s initial foray into “buffered” bike lanes, along Spruce and Pine Streets, will be expanded to create an entire bike network.
In the future, Central District residents and workers will grow very used to all the parks, parklets, and plazas that have sprung up as we seek to tame and better size key roadways and triangles. These allow for small green oases to grow and, in some larger places, year-round farmers’ markets and outdoor activities for children and seniors to thrive where cars once parked or roamed.
A major shift in the way the Central District will handle parking is also part of the future as parking maximums become part of the zoning code for CMX-4 and CMX-5 zoning districts. (Just so you know – parking maximums specify the most parking that can be provided per unit of new construction and act as means for preventing too much parking, which degrades the urban character.)
These changes, can pave the way – pun intended – for the Central District of 2035 – one with a vast and well-patronized bikeshare system, expanded transit network, and overall complete streets.