A couple of readers have asked us in recent weeks whether we know anything about the construction taking place in the middle of North Broad Street. While word of this sort of work might make you expect a major and persistent traffic snarl, the activity is actually pretty compact and doesn't seem to be impacting cars traveling hither and yon. To the naked eye, it appears as though the City is constructing little medians on North Broad Street, starting in Francisville and running up past Temple.

Early stages in Francisville

Further along on Temple's campus

We assumed that this was simply an effort to improve the lighting on North Broad Street, as the medians have electric service built into them and what looks like the beginning of a light pole. This is partially correct, and at least on the right track. According to a story from CBS3 from the fall, the City is installing forty-five light masts on North Broad Street. Different from light poles, they will stand fifty feet tall and offer architectural reflective lighting. There's a sample you can find on Temple's campus, or you can just look at this rendering:

Light mast rendering, image from CBS3

In theory, these light masts will improve the look of North Broad Street, and the thought goes that they could help encourage development. To us, that's a bit of a stretch, and though they'll look cool we're not sure we're on board with the $11M price tag. That's almost $250K per light mast, by the way.

What do you think? Good investment? Weird investment? Somewhere in the middle?