Image via Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation (PARC)
Over the past decade, the East Passyunk Avenue commercial corridor between Broad and Dickinson streets in South Philadelphia has become one of the trendiest places in the city to shop and dine. The Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation (PARC), which aided in this improvement by redeveloping vacant properties, is looking to make the corridor even more popular through a new plaza and other developments along the avenue and in the nearby community.
The plaza, to be located at Broad and McKean, will be designed by Studio Bryan Hanes and will include streetscape improvements and large planters. Sam Sherman, executive director of PARC, said that the work will begin this June and is scheduled to be completed by October.
The new plaza will also include a fountain, wireless Internet access, landscaping, a pavilion for performances, and a bike share station. The station will be installed when bicycle sharing comes to the city in April 2015. There will also be new lighting by The Lighting Practice, which has worked on the lighting for a number of Center City landmarks, including City Hall, the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, and the Broad Street side of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
The improvements to the plaza are the result of a $495,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation which was announced in mid-January.
As work begins on the plaza, PARC, the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District, and the East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association are collaborating on a mural at the nearby SEPTA substation at 13th and Mifflin. The mural should be completed by the end of June. PARC donated $1000 towards the mural. The BID is expected to donate $1000 as well.
Sherman said PARC and the East Passyunk BID have developed a close relationship. “We work in parallel,” said Sherman, who describes his organization as a property management and neighborhood service organization and the BID as a marketing organization. He added that the BID helps PARC identify potential retail tenants on Passyunk Avenue.
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Sustainable transportation has been another focus for the corridor going forward. Sherman said he encourages tenants to practice “localism” by living, shopping, and playing on and around the corridor. As a result, he said half of his tenants do not own a car. Sherman himself rides the subway to work.
The East Passyunk Crossing Civic revealed at their last general meeting that the community will recognize the emphasis on alternate forms of transportation by placing Walk!Philadelphia way-finding signs along Passyunk Avenue and at the Ellsworth/Federal, Tasker/Morris, and Snyder subway stations. East Passyunk Crossing will be the third community in the city to get these signs, with the other two being Center City and University City. The civic association estimated the signs would be installed in six to eight months.-30-
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