Last summer, a reader wondered about the influx of tiny medians on North Broad Street between Hamilton Street and Glenwood Avenue and we quickly got to the bottom of the situation. It turns out the City was installing a series of fifty-plus-foot tall light masts on North Broad Street and the medians were the bases for those light masts. But then those bases sat quiescent for almost a year. Earlier this summer, if memory serves, many of the medians got metal extensions, in preparation for the light masts.
In recent weeks, the light masts have begun appearing, with contractors progressing from south to north. They're actually pretty cool looking.
According to http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20150827_City_unveils_plan_to_brighten_North_Broad_Street.htmlhttp://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20150827_City_unveils_plan_to_brighten_North_Broad_Street.html, there will be 41 light masts (down from 45 in a previous plan) when all is said and done. The lights will be installed inside the metal masts, and the project should be finished sometime this fall.
The total cost has also come down, now it's estimated that it will be about $8.7M. The funding will come from a combination of federal, state, and City money, and the project will theoretically improve the commercial desirability of North Broad Street. As we said previously though, we question the payoff of these light masts, each of which will cost about $212K. We've already seen sections of North Broad Street improve organically as surrounding neighborhoods have improved, and we wonder whether a streetscape improvement like this will do anything significant to move the corridor forward. Then again, the project is happening and the money is spent so we hope we're proven wrong.