5th and Passyunk to Become a Pedestrian Plaza?

Have you ever driven on the beginning of Passyunk Ave., the 600 block that runs between South and Bainbridge Sts.? You probably haven’t, and you’re not alone. Sure, there are some worthwhile businesses on that block, including Gnocchi, Cohen & Co. Hardware, and S&H Kabab House, but the one-block-long, two-way street is a redundant stretch that sees hardly any vehicular traffic, and is best known for its Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays.

Looking north
Halfway up the street, still looking north
Now looking south, standing on South St.

Recognizing that cars hardly use this block of Passyunk Ave., the South Street Headhouse District (SSHD) recently submitted a proposal to create a Pedestrian Plaza here, closing the block off to vehicular traffic and creating a new, vibrant, and versatile public space. Understandably, SSHD didn’t want to share their plans until they were reviewed by the city, but we suspect that the plan features places for people to sit, bike parking, and new landscaping to make the space welcoming to people to walk through and perhaps linger for a little while. Hopefully, this would also be a boon for businesses on the block, bringing new foot traffic to an under-appreciated street.

A joint effort of the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities and the Department of Commerce, the city’s new Pedestrian Plaza program has called for interested community groups and non-profits to submit proposals for improving underutilized streets, and soon the city will choose which groups will receive grant money for installation and upkeep of these new spaces. We’re pleased that the city is looking to bring new energy to streets that are a little lacking, and wish SSHD the best of luck in this endeavor.

We’re curious to hear whether people know of any other neighborhood groups that submitted proposals to this program, and if so, for what streets?