Just in time for the Thanksgiving travel rush, Amtrak reopened the western entrance, or west plaza, at 30th Street Station Friday.
The plaza had been closed since last fall as part of a $30 million, Amtrak-funded renovation project. The new, spruced up west entrance is intended to improve vehicle and pedestrian traffic flow around the station, enhance security and visibility and expand public parking.
The new layout allows for 20 additional parking spaces and nine new bicycle racks with the capacity to hold nearly 100 bicycles. The City plans to install another six racks on the 29th Street side of the station.
New energy-efficient LED lighting is meant to improve visibility and security, and an at-grade pedestrian crosswalk from 30th Street to the station is intended to improve accessibility.
Though the new planters look stark in late November, come spring they will add to greenery on the block, which is also home to The Porch at 30th Street. The planters also feature built-in seating, which add to the 250 places to sit already available at The Porch.
In 2012, a University City District (UCD) study of The Porch and the surrounding area counted as many as 33,953 pedestrians in a three-day period. 30th Street Station – Amtrak’s third busiest station – is a main driver of that foot traffic. In fiscal year 2012, the station served more than four million passengers.
While the work above ground is complete, steal infrastructure renovations below ground will continue into 2014.