July 17, 2015 |
THE MULTITIERED granite steps from the concourse of the Municipal Services Building provide more than just an egress from SEPTA's underground rail line to the Center City streets above. The steps, or rather the cavernous space beneath them, offer refuge from the rain for Philadelphia's homeless. "This is the only dry place we can go in Center City," George Creamer said yesterday after yet another soaker left puddles near his cardboard sleeping mat. "Trust me, I'd rather sleep out underneath the stars, but on nights like tonight, when it's going to rain, there is going to be 20 people down here.
March 14, 2015 |
Two hours behind schedule, Beth Heinly finally located a working electrical outlet in the echoing cavern of the Broad Street concourse and settled in, wearing a puffy chef's hat, to cook pasta. The mac-and-cheese giveaway was Heinly's take on site-specific performance art - meant to engage a space that mostly lies vacant, except for occasional skateboarders, scuttling rainy-day commuters, and covert smokers of marijuana. "I wanted to do a really loving thing in a scary place," she said.
February 5, 2015 |
One of the most heavily traveled pavements in Philadelphia runs not along any street, but through the busy Gallery shopping center. Its basement-level concourse stretches more than three blocks, from Jefferson Station (formerly Market East) to the subway lines that converge beneath the old Strawbridge's building. Each workday, thousands of commuters, shoppers, and others surge through this convenient all-weather thoroughfare, which also provides vital access for the disabled. But with the Gallery, one of the nation's oldest urban malls, soon to undergo a major overhaul, those Philadelphians in their thousands face the prospect that this long-standing right-of-way will be blocked for as long as a year or more.
January 9, 2015 |
BY NOW, the Hub of Hope, Project HOME's seasonal social-service center for the homeless in Suburban Station, should be buzzing with men and women wanting to see a case worker or a doctor or just get a short reprieve from the cold with a tepid cup of coffee or a pair of socks. But in a cruel irony, the Hub of Hope is homeless. In November, the landlord who had donated the space for the past three winters sent word that he would no longer be able to "due to complaints from tenants and brokers.
June 18, 2014 |
The 11 workers who clean the gritty subway concourses under Center City fear that they will lose their jobs when SEPTA takes control of the miles of concourses from the city on July 1. The workers, who do the dirty work of cleaning up after nighttime revelers and homeless people before the morning rush of commuters, work for a janitorial company that is a subcontractor for the Center City District. Under a contract approved last month, the city - owner of the concourses - and the CCD will relinquish responsibility for cleaning, maintenance, and repairs to SEPTA.
May 24, 2014 |
SEPTA will spend about 3 percent more for transit operations in the fiscal year that begins July 1, and it will nearly double its spending on major construction and repair projects, thanks to an infusion of state money. The SEPTA board unanimously approved a $1.33 billion operating budget and a $572 million capital budget Thursday, without discussion. The operating budget, which includes no fare increases, provides money for a pilot program to resume 24-hour-a-day subway service on weekends, beginning this summer.
May 17, 2014 |
Ending decades of divided control of the subterranean realm beneath Center City, SEPTA soon will be in charge of cleaning, maintaining, and repairing almost everything under the streets. That should mean improved cleanliness, lighting, and safety as SEPTA uses new state funding to upgrade the long-neglected passageways, agency officials said Thursday. A new 30-year lease with the city gives SEPTA responsibility for the 3.5 miles of city-owned concourses along Market Street from Eighth to 18th Streets and south to the Walnut-Locust subway station, as well as the elevators and escalators that serve the Broad Street and Market-Frankford Lines.
May 3, 2014 |
The downtown shopping mall is another of those bright ideas from the urban-renewal era that didn't turn out so well. Take Philadelphia's own Gallery at Market East. When it opened 37 years ago, it was hailed as a miracle cure for that fading shopping street. Today, poor East Market Street is holding on by its fingernails, and it's the Gallery that now needs reviving. Maybe that explains the excitement over last week's news that a high-end clothing discounter out of New York was setting up shop in the old Strawbridge & Clothier.
June 11, 2013 |
CHANGE IS COMING to Lincoln Financial Field beginning this fall. A 2-year project, which will cost an estimated $125 million, will add high-definition video boards, upgrade club and suite boxes, create numerous entry points for fans and additional seating and celebrate the team's history with art throughout both levels of the stadium. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said the upgrades are a direct result of feedback from the fans and will improve the overall experience while at the stadium.
March 8, 2013 |
RAFIQ SMITH was a neighborhood nuisance with a long criminal history, arrested for everything from loitering and shoplifting to robbery and even rape. In most cases, he got off, as frustrated prosecutors often withdrew charges when witnesses failed to show up in court. On Tuesday, he beat another case, walking free from a city jail after a robbery victim - a man Smith allegedly ordered to strip at simulated gunpoint at Broad and Locust before stealing his clothes, cash and cellphone - failed to come to court, too. Smith apparently followed his release with another crime: He robbed and raped a woman in an underground city concourse on Wednesday night, police said.