More Major Reconstruction 40th Street Between Chestnut and Walnut

The revitalization of 40th Street enters a new phase this week as reconstruction of the pedestrian streetscape between Chestnut and Walnut streets begins under the auspices of Penn and the University City District.

The UCD will manage the installation of new lighting, trees, sidewalk paving, bike racks, and litter baskets on this block with funding from Penn. One of the more dramatic improvements that will emerge from the project, said UCD Executive Director Paul Steinke, will be the installation of attractive new pedestrian-scaled light fixtures that will greatly enhance the level of nighttime illumination. In addition, SEPTA is replacing deteriorated trolley poles, and the Philadelphia Parking Authority will replace existing single-head parking meters with space-saving double-headed ones. When completed by the beginning of May, the renewed streetscape will match the treatment given 40th Street between Walnut and Spruce Streets by Penn in 1997.

The contractor for the project, Lorenzon Brothers of Philadelphia, was selected by competitive bid. The total cost for the construction of the new streetscape is $220,000. According to the UCD's Director of Capital Programs, Eric Goldstein, "The project will cause temporary, short-term access problems for businesses along the street, but we are working with the contractor to minimize the inconveniences."

In a separate project, the City's Redevelopment Authority is finalizing design documentation for the reconstruction of the 40th Street pedestrian streetscape between Market and Chestnut Streets. This project, estimated to cost $250,000, will be funded with City of Philadelphia capital dollars. Completion is expected in the fall of 1999.

The 40th Street streetscape improvements come on the heels of Penn's announcement earlier this winter of three major development projects on 40th Street, including an 8-screen Sundance Cinema Center, a 30,000 square foot specialty grocery market, and an 800-car parking garage. The UCD and the 40th Street Business Association are also managing a community-based steering committee of over 30 residents, business owners, realtors, and government and University officials that will produce a retail market study and leasing plan this summer to help guide further redevelopment.

Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 23, March 2, 1999