Monday, May 23, 2011

Without a City Hall station makeover, the remake of Dilworth Plaza is a waste

Paul Levy, head of the Center City District, has done more to improve Center City in the past twenty-odd years than almost anyone else. His current project is a revitalization of Dilworth Plaza, originally built in the 1960s, Vincent Kling's multitier monument to his architecture (at one point, nearly every building flanking the plaza--City Hall excepted--was a Kling), a cold granite fortress on the former sites of the Arcade Building and Broad Street Station's headhouse.

It's a good project. But it must also depend on SEPTA's participation, since this project is being done (or is supposed to be done) hand-in-hand with a total revitalization and renovation of SEPTA's dilapidated busiest subway station, the City Hall/15th Street complex. The logistics of this renovation are challenging, in no small part due to the station's being interwoven clean around City Hall's foundations--giant pylons running the middle of the Broad Street Line's two platforms--and the incredible density of infrastructure and pedestrian passageways underground.

SEPTA, once again cash-strapped, has recently announced its plan to push back the renovation, one of the most important projects in the current system, undersized as it may be. If this plan is pushed back, though, and Dilworth Plaza goes forward, that would be a major travesty.

For when City Hall station does get revitalized, the renovation would, by necessity, need to tear up large parts of the plaza--parts which would have just been put down.

What we are seeing in action is a breakdown in communication between two entities which have been working together for years now on this plan. If the breakdown reaches its final stage, and Dilworth Plaza goes forward before the station reno, it will result in double the work on the plaza--and double the expense.

So, Paul Levy, please put Dilworth Plaza on hold until SEPTA can get the funding for its part!

1 comment:

  1. Steve, ccd does not care about public transportation. That's all propaganda in order to misuse taxpayer money. CCD serves the large corporate real estate developers who get extraordinary profits because of tax abatements. CCD/UCD, etc want control of all public spaces. People don't generally know that they want these to be redesigned as corporate rental venues. Permits are being redesigned to be unaffordable for grassroots events or protests. We lose our rights to assembly and speech when our public spaces are controlled by these dishonest unaccountable "special service districts." by Glenn