On Wednesday, the members of the Art Commission gazed upon the future of Roosevelt Boulevard.
The 14-mile stretch of roadway is the spine of Philadelphia’s northeastern neighborhoods. But the exceedingly broad, high speed corridor is frustrating for the city’s transit riders to navigate. The Route 14 bus is the only one that covers the entirety of Roosevelt Boulevard. But it stops at every corner, resulting in a ride that lasts twice as long as driving a similar distance.
Roosevelt Boulevard bus rapid transit (BRT) service
, branded here as the Boulevard Direct, promises to ease the traveler’s’ dilemma. Starting at Frankford Transportation Center and terminating around the Bucks County line, the proposal would have only five stops each way: at Cottman Ave, Rhawn Street, Welsh Road, Grant Road, and Red Lion Road.
Where is the weary traveler to await her chariot? At present the outlook is bleak in the extreme.
“The current conditions for transit riders on the boulevard are not very favorable,” said Angela Dixon, director of planning for the city’s Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems. “We often see folks using shopping carts as benches because we don’t provide any amenities besides a sign that says ‘the bus stops here.’ Most of the places folks are waiting for buses are dirt worn patches of land.”
The ten stops for the Boulevard Direct are no exception. Most are situated next to unlovely surface parking lots and chain business establishments.
The city’s plan to beautify the bus stops for the Boulevard Direct route will mean installing a battery of benches, pedestrian scale light poles, wayfinding pylons with maps, and shelters sporting digital advertisements. A small stand of trees and shrubberies will be planted to enliven the scene as well.
Most stop will feature two shelters, one colored blue for the direct route and one grey for the normal bus service. (The Route 14 and the other normal bus routes that periodically lace onto the boulevard will not be discontinued as part of the BRT proposal