Last year, the William Penn Foundation provided the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation with a half-million dollar grant to revitalize the southern end of Passyunk Avenue, where it hits Broad & McKean Streets. There's this weird triangular patch of sidewalk in front of the United Savings Bank which was actually enlarged a few years ago to create a sizable "public" space that was just kind of there, not really fulfilling any function.
PARC decided to take this odd space and transform it into a "Gateway" to Passyunk Avenue. Original plans called for new lighting, some seating, a fountain element, a pergola, and a bikeshare station. As is sometimes the case with public projects of this ilk, budgetary constraints resulted in some delays and changes to the plan, according to Passyunk Post. Though the project was announced in the spring of 2014, work didn't get started until this past spring. The official ribbon cutting was about a week ago, so we figured it would be a nice idea to swing by on a quiet morning and take in the new space with our own eyes.
New lighting, check. New seating, check. New pergola, check. You'll notice though, there's no fountain or Indego station. The lack of a fountain is due to cost considerations, and the missing bikeshare station is because of a lack of required space. This is a shame, because the next closest station is at 18th & Tasker, though that will hopefully be resolved with the upcoming Indego expansion.
At first glance, the new gateway feels a little sparse to us- but like the city itself our public spaces live and breathe and evolve over time. Right now, the gateway is a big step up from what was here previously, and people will slowly be drawn to this corner for the first time. It reminds us a little of the Porch when it first came together, and people took some time to determine exactly how to approach the new space. Throw up some lighting here, or invite some food trucks, or host events, and the space will start to figure itself out.