Last Thursday, neighbors braved frigid temperatures to see the Delaware River Waterfront Corp. and its consultant RBA unveil plans for improving the Spring Garden underpass.The proposed design will feature perforated metal panels with native plant designs, back-lit by LED lighting that will change color and intensity with the time of day. There also will be hanging fixtures, and a LED strip along the center median, curb bump-outs at 2nd Street and in front of the El entrance and exit, and new signage.
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Northern Liberties underpass going from ugly to artsy
By Jared Shelly
Digital Producer-Philadelphia Business Journal
Matt Rubin made no bones about what Spring Garden Street looks like between Delaware Avenue and 2nd Street. “It looks like a place you go to get stabbed,” the president of the Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association said.
But all that’s about to change with the impending construction of the Spring Garden Connector, a $2 million project that will cover the old, tattered concrete with back-lit, artistic metal panels. The project also brings a new “Spring Garden” sign that will hang above the entrance to the SEPTA Market-Frankford subway station.
Organizers from the Delaware River Waterfront Corp. presented plans to the neighborhood association Thursday night and expect it to be completed by next fall. It’s the third such connector project the organization has embarked on in an effort to connect the waterfront with the city. The first was the Race Street underpass which added modern lighting and cool signage to that street. The second is on Columbia Avenue. and is set to be completed soon.
“The Race Street project made a big difference,” said Karen Thompson, planner and project manager with the DRWC. “It makes the underpass more attractive and all of the sudden, people were walking around there.”
The project is also expected to bring new sidewalks and curb cutouts.
Others involved in the planning are Cloud Gehshan Associates, The Lighting Practice and RBA. Organizers said they are still waiting for final approval from PennDOT and SEPTA.
But Thompson is expecting the project to make an impact for a neighborhood that’s done lots of beautifying over the past 10 years.
“This will create a very cool ambiance.”