Crafty financing and shrewd management allowed SEPTA to break ground on the reconstruction of the 23rd and Venango Bus Loop yesterday. The $1.4 million project is being done with federal funds left over from the 33rd and Dauphin Bus Loop that SEPTA rebuilt last September.
Today the bus loop is a featureless, pull-through parking lot with two bus shelters and a bathroom facility. When this 10-month overhaul is complete, the bus loop will have new bus boarding islands, passenger shelters, enhanced lighting, trash cans, recycling bins, improved signage and bicycle racks.
The sidewalks will be repaved, and a stormwater management infiltration basin will be installed below ground. The entire site will be ADA-accessible thanks to raised boarding platforms and new curb cuts.
New landscaping will help ensure that the transit hub “will not only be an important SEPTA bus loop, but a grand gateway,” SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey said.
The bus loop serves more than 5,000 riders daily on the routes 1, 33, 56 and R.
“This is an important [project] because this is a transit loop that is as important to the people who live here as any other development,” said U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah, who SEPTA officials said was instrumental in securing the funding for this and the 33rd and Dauphin Bus Loop.
Ronald Hinton, president of the Allegheny West Foundation, said Wednesday’s groundbreaking is one in a string of groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings the area has seen.
“You will be coming to more because we are working together to improve the neighborhood,” he said.
The bus loop will be closed during construction, and passengers will be directed to temporary stops nearby. SEPTA Deputy General Manager Jeff Knueppel thanked customers for their patience during construction.
“We believe the end product will definitely be worth the wait,” he said.
From 2012-2014 Christine covered transportation, writing about everything from pedestrian concerns to bicycle infrastructure, bridges, trail networks, public transit and more. Her favorite assignments sent her bushwhacking through Philadelphia’s yet-to-be-cleared bike trails, catching a glimpse of SEPTA’s inner workings or pounding the pavement to find out what pedestrians really think. Christine also covered community news for Eyes on the Street, where her work ranged from food sovereignty to public art and urban greening. She first joined PlanPhilly in fall 2011 as an intern through a partnership with Temple University’s Philadelphia Neighborhoods website.