New Pedestrian Plaza at 30th Street Station

The 40 foot wide stretch of sidewalk on the south side of 30th Street Station, built by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will be turned into a tree lined pedestrian plaza, to serve commuters and employees of the IRS and Amtrak.  PennDOT is in the middle of a multi-million-dollar project to renovate elevated road structures near the train lines along the western bank of the Schuylkill River.  As part of that project, Amtrak agreed to allow the agency to take away a lane of looped parking to expand the existing sidewalk on the 2900 block of Market Street.

Prema Gupta, UCD's director of planing and economic development, said the group would use the extra land to "humanize the space" by adding in planters, tables and chairs.  The group also wants to add programming for the area, something along the lines of a farmer's market or a partnership with a fitness center to provide outdoor yoga classes.

The move is part of a larger city-wide initiative to improve pedestrian amenities on the cheap, such as the recently installed parklet installed by UCD near Clark Park and a new city program that aims to turn unused slivers of roadbed into small pedestrian plazas.  Costs are being covered by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.

the UCD project is one of several planned in the area, along with Penn Park, the University of Pennsylvania's redevelopment of acres of vacant parking lots into playing fields.  Additionally, the Water Department is planning to turn the 3000 block of John F. Kennedy Boulevard into a green street demonstration project highlighting storm-water management features.  The city also has federal stimulus grant to make the Walnut Street Bridge more pedestrian friendly, and the Schuylkill River Development Corp. wants to add more green space along Schuylkill Avenue.

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