SEPTA and City officials today gathered today to celebrate major progress in SEPTA’s effort to re-envision and overhaul the Center City Concourse. The event also served as the official renaming of the underground pedestrian corridor as the “Downtown Link.”
The Downtown Link is a gateway to the region’s multi-modal transit network with convenient connections to SEPTA’s Regional Rail lines, the Market-Frankford and Broad Street Lines, City Trolley routes and dozens of connecting bus routes, as well as the PATCO Hi-Speedline. It also provides access to the retail business, office buildings and historical attractions beneath one of the nation’s densest city centers.
SEPTA embarked on its ambitious Center City Concourse Improvement Program thanks to funding from Act 89, Pennsylvania’s comprehensive transportation funding plan. A lease agreement with the City of Philadelphia allowed SEPTA to take over operations of the 500,000-plus square foot concourse that spans from JFK Boulevard to Spruce Street, and from 8th Street to 18th Street, and launch work to revitalize this vast underground space.
“SEPTA has moved quickly to utilize Act 89 funds system-wide to make long-needed infrastructure upgrades, like we are doing with the Downtown Link,” said SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon Sr. “These efforts are critical to sustaining our transportation network, and growing economic development in the city and throughout the region.”
Since taking over the Concourse, SEPTA has completed a number of ADA improvements such as an upgraded elevator at 8th and Market Streets, and replaced escalators at 8th and 15th Street Stations. In the corridor running below the Clothespin to the Wannamaker Building, SEPTA recently completed structural repairs, water leak remediation, and architectural enhancements as part of the first of a multi-phase Concourse Improvement Program.
Additional improvements include safety and security enhancements, such as new emergency call boxes and upgrades to stairs, and new lighting to enhance safety and visibility, and illuminate artwork, pictures and signage. SEPTA has worked with its advertising agency, Intersection, a smart cities technology and media company, to install eight digital displays and 43 backlit panels throughout the improved Downtown Link. The displays will enhance the concourse experience by providing real-time transit information and new opportunities for advertisers to reach their audiences.
When completed, the planned improvements will create a safe and modernized pathway for SEPTA customers to connect to transit, and for other pedestrians to reach destinations throughout Center City.
“This project is aimed at making the concourse more inviting for everyone,” said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. “With the revitalized Downtown Link, we are investing in making the SEPTA system more accessible, and we believe this new environment will entice businesses and retailers to take a fresh look at re-entering this space.”
For more information about SEPTA, visit www.septa.org.