August 25: Re-opening Franklin Square PATCO station | Camden getting safer | Remixing Broad Street | Bryan Hanes on Pier 68

Some political heavy hitters at PATCO and the Delaware River Port Authority are pushing to reopen the “ghost” PATCO station at Franklin Square. The move could be a big shot in the arm for redevelopment of the area north of the National Constitution Center and eastern Chinatown. Newsworks reports “the station at the foot of the Ben Franklin Bridge’s Philadelphia side operated from 1976 through 1979 and has been shuttered ever since.” “A renaissance in the area calls for the station to be re-opened,” said John Dougherty, a PATCO board member.”

One PATCO stop over, one of the biggest real estate stories of the year continues to be the declining homicide rate in Camden – down 46% since the new regional police force began serving the city. In Philadelphia, real estate prices tend to be low where shootings are common, and one major obstacle to a virtuous cycle of reinvestment happening in Camden’s core downtown area has been that crime perceptions are so high. 

Many state DOTs have been massively overestimating vehicle travel demand for years now, predicting a bounceback in auto travel that keeps not happening. The stakes are high since vehicle miles are used to allocate funding for transportation projects. Fortunately, the Transportation Research Board has created a new application that allows DOTs to estimate traffic volumes for a range of scenarios, including the lower-car future their new report is predicting.

Via Curbed Philly, Dave Munson envisions a canal on Broad Street as a resilience strategy for when we face higher sea levels. It seems like a far-fetched idea given the subway line underneath, but it’s an interesting opportunity to rethink the purpose of Broad Street. Last year transportation blogger Steve Stofka memorably disparaged Broad as a “traffic sewer” and made a Streetmix reimagining it reapportioned as a grand avenue with just two travel lanes, two bus lanes, and two shared space lanes for biking and parking. 

Nathaniel Popkin talks to landscape architect Bryan Hanes about his design for Pier 68: “On Pier 68, Hanes’ firm, which is also responsible for the design of the first phase of the Reading Viaduct Park, as well as Sister Cities Park and much work along the Ben Franklin Parkway, sought to divide the 150-foot long pier into activity zones delineated by grade and materials, so that the space will feel much larger than it really is.”

With a heavy heart, NakedPhilly reports construction is starting on the two-story building going in on the “The Best Corner Left in Northern Liberties.” “[W]e felt this new version of the project looked like a missed opportunity for height and density in a desirable location. We had our fingers crossed that, like its predecessor, the two-story plan would also fade into the ether. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

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