Busy Intersection to Become Welcoming Campus Gateway

October 10, 2012

Spruce Street Plaza will create another newly redesigned open space, this time at the busy intersection bounded by 33rd, 34th and Spruce Streets. For years the site of surface parking and an assortment of food trucks, this underutilized parcel represented a great opportunity for Penn to improve the safety and attractiveness of this gateway to campus and the medical complex. After construction began in July, food vendors moved to the corner of 33rd and Spruce Streets in a fresh air food plaza, making room for the creation of a green space with a central lawn, large shade trees, benches, lighting, and seasonal plantings. As with all new Penn projects, environmental sustainability is built into the Plaza. Marc Cooper, Project Manager in Facilities and Real Estate Services, described the plaza walkway in terms of its green value: "The pavers are permeable so rain water will pass through the joints and reduce surface runoff."


A new mid-block crosswalk in front of the hospital will improve pedestrian safety between HUP, Penn Museum and the University City SEPTA station. Mark Kocent, Principal Planner in Facilities and Real Estate Services, explained that traffic circulation will be greatly improved with the new design. "The relocation of the food carts will improve traffic flow and a low fence on the southern part of the plaza will discourage jaywalkers," he explains, expecting these changes to be a great boon to pedestrian safety. Seasonal plantings will buffer traffic noise from adjacent streets, making a more pleasant experience for those who use the new green.


The transformed Spruce Street Plaza is scheduled to be completed in December of this year, with the crosswalk installation early next year.


The average distance food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles. That's as far as a trip from Philadelphia to Houston.

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