Philadelphia is getting tantalizingly close to transforming its 40th Street Trolley terminal into an inviting public plaza. Plans to remake the one-acre space have been in the works for about a decade, but things officially got started in 2012 when the University City District (UCD)—a collection of businesses and institutions near the terminal—was awarded a William Penn Foundation planning grant for the project.
The new trolley portal at night. (Courtesy Andropogon Associates via University City District)
Now, with some cash from the energy company PECO and the Natural Lands Trust, the UCD is only $600,000 shy of its $2 million goal. And as the project gets closer to reality, the UCD has shared its latest proposed design with AN. The overall goal of the overhaul, explained Prema Gupta, the director of planning and economic development for the UCD, is to “tighten up pedestrian circulation patterns.” Right now, she pointed out, the portal is just a giant swath of concrete. A revamp by Andropogon Associates would significantly change that. The Philly-based firm’s design transforms the space with new plantings, seating, overhead lighting, and a café. Planners hope that down the road the space could also be used for cultural events.
More details on the plan are expected from the UCD in the coming months.