SEPTA slowly moving forward with City Hall station rebuild

Spurred on by the Center City District’s plans to remake Dilworth Plaza, SEPTA is slowly moving forward with its own project to reconstruct City Hall station ― despite the fact that there’s no money to pay for it.

SEPTA held a sparsely attended public meeting last night to discuss the status of the stalled project.

Senior project manager Terry Heiser said the CCD’s project has restarted SEPTA’s design work, so that both efforts can be coordinated.

To take into account the CCD development, which will replace the current Dilworth Plaza with a new lawn and a plaza with a water feature, the City Hall reconstruction has been split into three parts.

The first part, which would directly interact with the CCD project, is 75 percent designed.

The second phase, which would affect the Market-Frankord El and trolley platforms and reconfigure the corridor linking the El to the Broad Street Line, has yet to enter design.

And the final part, which would reconstruct the Broad Street Line platforms, is 25 percent designed.

The entire project is also undergoing federally mandated environmental and historic-site reviews.

The CCD effort got two large infusions of cash recently, in the form of a federal TIGER II grant and a state capital grant, that have catapulted it ahead of the SEPTA project, which has been put on hold given state subsidy cuts.

At the same time, Heiser and Sherman Aronson, a senior associate at BLT Architects (, which is designing the project for SEPTA, pointed out that both SEPTA’s station reconstruction and the Dilworth Plaza renovation are intimately connected.

The CCD, in its project, plans in installing two glass headhouses that will lead to a new transit concourse it will build underneath the plaza, which will in turn have SEPTA fare gates and steps that lead down to transit platforms.

It’s also planning on building two new elevators in the plaza that will service the concourse.

(After they’re completed, the elevators ― along with 9 or 10 others to be installed by SEPTA ― would be run by the authority.)

For its part, SEPTA needs to tear up swaths of the plaza to waterproof its station and build a new walkway between the El and Broad Street Line and widen and make handicapped accessible the existing one.

The authority also wants to punch a new shaft through to the plaza to provide the subway platforms with better ventilation.

“These [projects] all go together,” Heiser said.

Indeed, it’s unclear what will happen if SEPTA doesn’t have the money to move forward with portions of its project in tandem with the CCD development. The authority has said that it doesn’t want to be in the position of tearing up CCD’s work after the fact.

Still, if funding is secured for the project, it aims at remaking the rider experience at SEPTA’s busiest transit hub.

SEPTA plans to renovate the Broad Street Line platforms and provide more open space on them.

Heiser is inviting feedback on the project, which he said could still change based on outside input.

Riders can send in comments and questions about the plan to

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