While the types of public space and development created by this project are vital to its success, connectivity is the most important aspect of this concept. Public parks and development will not be successful if residents and visitors cannot get there. We’ve already talked about the new bridge over I-95 between Chestnut and Walnut and how that simple connection dramatically improves access to the waterfront; it is also the key multi-modal access to and from Penn’s Landing. Over the last few months, the design team has collaborated with SEPTA and other agencies to facilitate better multi-modal transportation options along the extended Delaware River waterfront, enhancing connectivity between Center City and the waterfront. To provide this connectivity to and along the waterfront, the plan calls for the addition of bus stops, new route extensions, and improved bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
The existing 2nd Street station of the SEPTA Market-Frankford line provides excellent rail service to Penn’s Landing and is less than ¼ mile from the Market Street Site in Penn’s Landing. In addition to this rail service, bus route modifications will provide patrons with more convenient options and closer access points to the waterfront. Routes 21, 33, and 42 will continue to service Penn’s Landing via Chestnut Street, Market Street, and the connecting viaduct, but current SEPTA layover areas will be strategically relocated and additional stops will be added at the future Penn’s Landing Park and the new Market Street Development site to provide additional points of entry to the waterfront. Additionally, a stairway and pedestrian ramp will be added at the intersection of Chestnut Street and Columbus Boulevard, to increase access to the Route 25 bus, which runs along Columbus Boulevard.
Planned bus route extensions will also enable visitors to more easily access the Penn’s Landing area, specifically along South, Lombard, Pine, and Spruce Streets. The Route 40 bus, which runs along South and Lombard Streets, will be extended to Front Street, creating an important link to the new South Street Pedestrian Bridge. The proposed Basin Park area will be better connected with the addition of two stops near Foglietta Plaza and the extension of Route 12 to Columbus Boulevard via Spruce and Pine Streets. This modification will allow for an easier transfer between Route 12 and Route 25 busses, addressing a service enhancement request that SEPTA frequently receives. These two route extensions are currently being considered for immediate implementation, which will help create better access to the waterfront and more convenient travel in the near term.
  • Bus Map
It is also important to note that, while this study could not investigate the addition of light rail along Columbus Boulevard, the design of the bridges and caps over I-95 took the necessary clearances needed for such transit into account. Nothing proposed in this plan will prevent future light rail on Columbus Boulevard. DRWC remains committed to pursuing improved transit along Columbus Boulevard and Delaware Avenue and recognizes the importance of transit along the waterfront in connecting the waterfront to the city.
In addition to transit route modifications, the plan also includes improvements and additions to bicycle and pedestrian facilities. These enhancements align with the Central Delaware River Master Plan and the City of Philadelphia’s Bicycle Master Plan and include provisions for the Delaware River Trail. New trail improvements will link patrons to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and New Jersey via Race Street, and also create on-street facilities, with both dedicated and shared lanes, on many of the east-west roadways that connect Center City to Penn’s Landing. A new ramp structure will provide access from Chestnut Street down to Columbus Boulevard and connect up with the Delaware River Trail, and a second ramp will establish a new entry point at the end of Market Street to the river’s edge. Additional north-south walkways and promenades in the park will create prominent site lines and great views of the waterfront, while providing links throughout the entire site that do not currently exist. DRWC has also already expressed interest in hosting several bike share stations as part of the City’s planned bike sharing system and those stations will be added to the waterfront in advance of Penn’s Landing improvements so that waterfront access can be improved in the near future.
  • Bicycle Map
  • Pedestrian Connections
As part of the initial public investment into the site, the entire length of the on-road portion of the Delaware River Trail will be constructed along Columbus Boulevard from Washington Avenue to Spring Garden Street where it will connect to the existing segment of the trail that DRWC opened in June 2013. It will be constructed to the same high standards of design as the Penn Street segment. The Delaware River Trail will provide both pedestrians and cyclists a separated, safe means of commuting along the waterfront and will clearly link Penn’s Landing to the existing, vibrant waterfront neighborhoods.
  • Penn's Landing - Columbus Blvd Rendering
The new South Street pedestrian bridge is also key to improving pedestrian and bicycle access to the waterfront and to increasing connections back into the city. A new South Street Pedestrian Bridge extension will become an iconic gateway to the waterfront. The bridge will be constructed at a five percent grade and be wide enough for both bikes and pedestrian crossers. The extension will lead visitors down to the South Street Pier, while also providing breathtaking views of the waterfront and the city.
  • South Street Bridge Rendering
  • South Street Bridge Rendering East
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The plan for Penn’s landing also includes support for the maintenance of the Riverlink Ferry to Camden, as well as two water taxi terminals located in the proposed Basin Park and near Penn’s Landing Park. These terminals are expected to be in service beginning in 2014.
  • Water Ferry Taxi Service Map
Finally, as part of the plan, vehicular access to and along the waterfront will be improved, based on a coordinated traffic study that was completed to address the redistribution of traffic along Columbus Boulevard. To improve access to the new development and parking areas for the residential buildings, a traffic signal will be added on Columbus Boulevard near Chestnut Street, and the seldom-used “scissor ramps” that currently connect Market and Chestnut Streets will be removed. Sections of Spruce Street to the south and Callowhill Street to the north will be converted into two-way operations, creating better connections into Center City. These vehicular access improvements are designed to be implemented by the spring of 2015.
  • Vehicular Access Map
While the Master Plan proposed a pedestrian-only Market Street bridge, this study concluded that maintaining a vehicular connection to the upper level of the Market Street site would allow SEPTA to provide a greater number of transit connections to the new development. This Chestnut-Market connection is not envisioned to see heavy vehicular traffic but limited car drop-offs and public transit access within the heart of the development. As noted in the earlier Public Realm section, this street is intended to be a vibrant, urban street bustling with activity and lined with development.
  • Penn's Landing Market Street Development Site
All of these modifications and enhancements work to provide more transportation options to and along the waterfront, while also establishing better and more access to the waterfront. Many of these changes can be implemented in the near term, enabling patrons to visit the waterfront along a convenient and enjoyable route, and paving the way for longer-term improvements that will create new and accessible destinations along the waterfront.