Broad St. Line to Navy Yard Needs Traction

Filed under: Business,Featured News,Government,Latest News,South Philadelphia |

EXTENDING the Broad Street Subway into the Navy Yard would place S. Phila. just a few stops away from one of the fastest-growing business districts in Phila.

BY ELDON GRAHAM
Public transit in Philadelphia is generally strong, save for the temporary SEPTA strike the week before 2016 election, but when you look more deeply under the microscope you’ll notice some important parts of the city are not as accessible as others.

The Broad Street Orange Line reaches a wide range of Philadelphia: from Fern Rock, all the way down to South Philadelphia’s Sports Complex, where all the major arenas are. Two years ago, funding for a feasibility study was secured to extend the S Broad Street line to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. This historic site, the birthplace of the United States Navy, has found a dynamic second life as a business hub.

A subway connection could trigger a new growth spot in South Philly – one not dependent on Center City. The BSL extension would improve the Navy Yard’s accessibility. It would ease congested morning traffic there while also giving better public access to the wide array of its businesses.

Federal money would be crucial in launching such a project, which would run into the billions of dollars.

The feasibility study is still underway. In one early design, two subway stops were proposed in the Navy Yard, at 11th & Diagonal Streets and at Front & Enterprise Streets.

Support for the extension has made its way to some well-known and influential Philadelphia politicians. Karen Warrington, a spokeswoman for Congressman Bob Brady (D-Phila.), says “Congressman Brady enthusiastically supports the extension of the Broad Street Line into the Navy Yard. He wants to make that extension a part of any transportation bill or upcoming infrastructure package.”

The congressman himself said he is still “absolutely” in support of extending the Broad Street line into the Navy Yard. “It was my idea,” he reiterated. He hopes the change will become a priority once again; “I want to see a move on it.”

Brady continued, “If you are ever down at the Navy Yard early in the morning, you’ll see there is a line of cars every morning holding up traffic trying to get in there.”

The parties outside the Navy Yard are not the only ones who look to benefit from the addition of the BSL. The Navy Yard development houses GlaxoSmithKline, Urban Outfitters, a Marriott and over 140 other companies, businesses that could see a boost with the increased ease of access.

Approximately 13,000 people work there. Extending the line 1.5 miles past the sports complex would relieve traffic, improve commutes for those 13,000 employees and encourage more development at the site.

Property values would sure to see an increase due to accessibility increases while also staving off negative perceptions such as noise and air pollution. Those would be neutralized in the case of subways.

Currently, the Navy Yard offers two free shuttle routes that allow employees and visitors to reach the Navy Yard from Center City as well as the AT&T Station on the Broad Street Subway Line. However, that may not be as convenient as it sounds. Waiting for shuttles out in the elements is not as agreeable as waiting underground on a subway platform for a swifter ride.

The latest update from the US Sen. Bob Casey’s office was that the study was still underway and that there isn’t any other update information at this time. However, the senator’s staff members affirmed he is still very much committed and in support of the project.

Despite all this support, the subway extension doesn’t have enough traction now. Perhaps, if a national movement to invest in infrastructure takes off this year, South Philadelphia will be able to hitch a ride on it.

ORANGE LINE, L, shows proposed extension of the Broad Street Subway into the Navy Yard. It could be a game-changer for S. Philly.

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2 Responses to Broad St. Line to Navy Yard Needs Traction

  1. While ultimate responsibility for funding lies with Congress, transportation monies in president’s Heritage Fund-inspired budget are focused almost entirely on highways. It has ZERO funding for everything from Amtrak to TIGER grants – essentially anything related to public transportation. Unless and until things change in DC there’s little hope for major public-transit initiatives, especially rail.

    Sick Transit
    March 31, 2017 at 8:52 am

  2. The option of a route under the alignment of Broad Street, the Delaware River and Red Bank Avenue to Woodbury in Gloucester County should be studied as an alternative. See http://broad-street-subway-to-nj.webnode.com for more details.

    W.R.
    April 1, 2017 at 7:38 pm

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