This past Saturday, October 9, 2021, SEPTA teamed up with the Streets Sanitation Division and other city agencies and community groups to clean up the Grays Avenue Corridor: a stretch of Southwest Philadelphia that’s the site of our year-long Complete Streets study and home to the Route 36 Trolley. We also hosted an information fair with city and community partners and collected feedback from residents on the corridor currently.
Earlier this year, SEPTA received a grant from the Federal Transit Administration to take a holistic look at all modes and users on the Grays Avenue Corridor to improve safety, public health, and livability. This is critically important along this corridor, which is part of Philadelphia’s High Injury Network—meaning that some of the highest rates of crash injuries and deaths occur along this stretch of roadway.
The unsafe conditions make it difficult for people to access the Route 36 Trolley; as a result, the trolley stops along this corridor are some of the lowest ridership stops along the route. Major changes are needed for this roadway—especially for Trolley Modernization, our multi-year effort to make the trolley system accessible to people with disabilities and improve service, to succeed.
In our initial outreach with community groups about this corridor—which stretches along Grays Avenue and Lindbergh Boulevard between 49th Street and 56th Street (see the project map here)—we learned that illegal dumping, abandoned vehicles, and overgrown weeds on sidewalks are major quality of life and safety issues for residents. Trash makes it difficult and uncomfortable for residents to safely use sidewalks, bike lanes, and board the trolley.
We realized that all the project stakeholders—city agencies, community development groups, and advocates—needed to address these pressing issues the beginning of the Complete Streets study to open up community conversations about the future vision for the corridor. That’s where the kick-off clean-up and information fair came in.
The kick-off event was designed to raise awareness of the project and bring government agencies together to address these quality of life issues while also planning for the future. Twenty-six volunteers from SEPTA, the City of Philadelphia, and various partners worked together to clean-up four blocks of Lindbergh Boulevard adjacent to Bartram Village, a large housing complex.
SEPTA, PIDC, Empowered Community Development Corporation, the Philadelphia Housing Authority, Bartram’s Garden, and the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (oTIS) hosted tables with community information. An HR representative from SEPTA spoke with residents about job opportunities at the Authority and answered questions about the hiring process.
We also collected input from residents on the existing conditions along the corridor, focusing on traffic safety, quality of life issues, opportunities for greenery, and locations for trolley stations. Safety was residents’ primary concern, especially the ability to cross Lindbergh and Grays Avenue safely. Enthusiasm for Trolley Modernization was high. Residents also expressed desires for improved retail options on the corridor, especially food options. SEPTA will have a full recap of community feedback on our project website shortly.
We’re thrilled that we kicked-off the Complete Streets study with city agencies, community groups, and advocates volunteering their time to make an immediate improvement to this corridor. If you want to keep up with updates on this study, sign up for emails from ISEPTAPHILLY or email [email protected].