This line fills a real need in South Philadelphia. Currently, transportation access in western South Philadelphia (west of 20th Street) is relatively limited and serviced mainly by the 2, 7, and 17 north-south buses, as well as the various east-west feeder buses (7 and G on Oregon, for example). However, South Philadelphia hosts the city's most-densely populated neighborhoods (by tract) and the neighborhoods themselves are very much inherently transit-oriented, when not unbuilt with suburban-style small-box Rite Aids and other such dross. South Philadelphia is, indeed, considered a North American example of European-style urbanity, and neighborhoods such as East Passyunk and Southwest Center City are booming, while Point Breeze is gentrifying.
|Existing elevated line. Formerly electrified.|
The running of mass transit and freight trains side-by-side is feasible: it is commonly done in Chicago. 25th Street offers the best access of any alignment in South Philly--directly servicing SWCC, Point Breeze, Grays Ferry, Girard Estates, and Packer Park--and the formerly industrial badlands surrounding the trestle offer abundant opportunities for upzoning in the city's fastest-improving section. Finally, since one of the propositions of Philadelphia2050 is that the city is both large and dense enough to support heavy rail mass transit within the most-urban core, this heavy-rail running is accomplished via the least expensive means available, and that is the repurposing of existing infrastructure.