• Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.
      Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.

South Street Bridge lighting gone wild



With the flip of a giant ceremonial switch on Monday night, the South Street Bridge's light towers were finally illuminated. Their initial bright blue glow led into a 12-minute long audio/visual presentation that showed off the capacities of the bridge's new programmable LED lights.

Have you ever thought that the South Street Bridge’s light towers should feature waving American flags or dancing people or falling leaves or fire or snowflakes or kaleidoscopic patterns? You name it, the bridge’s LED lights can do it. But, man, should they? Decide for yourself by checking out the video above - presented at warp-speed - to get an idea of what Monday night's strange demo was like.

On my way home from the bridge, I wondered if Philly's programmable LED-fever (see Avenue of the Arts, Cira Center, Symphony House's crown) is making our city look like a disco nightmare. And in the case of the South Street Bridge, I felt deflated. Here was an opportunity to add beauty to the bridge, but instead our first taste of these swanky new lights was far from creative.

Please Streets Department, use your bridge lighting powers wisely. Let there be art, not tacky jumbotron junk.

About the author

Ashley Hahn, Contributor

Ashley Hahn is an independent writer with a background in historic preservation and city planning. She started Eyes on the Street for PlanPhilly in 2011 and was PlanPhilly's managing editor from 2015-2017. Ashley has lived in 12 zip codes that she can think of, including neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and New York. She is a Philadelphian by choice.

Contact Ashley via email or find her on twitter: @ashleyjhahn.


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