Inquirer Editorial: No desire for streetcars

A plan to restore trolley service along East Market Street to link Center City with the Delaware River waterfront seems problematic on several fronts.

Beyond the danger of snarling downtown traffic, the surface line would duplicate service provided by buses and the Market-Frankford subway.

Another big-picture concern is that any plan to run trolleys up and over I-95 would saddle the waterfront for decades with the ugly, existing scissor ramps leading down to Columbus Boulevard.

Straddling I-95 with a new rail bridge might also deter city officials from pursuing a better solution for the highway: to bury or cover it. As long as I-95 stands as a barrier to Center City, it will complicate and possibly stymie efforts to create the thriving waterfront envisioned by Mayor Nutter and city planners.

There are other problems as well: The projected ridership is low. As such, the project fails to qualify for federal funding. At an estimated cost of $500 million, a big question is where will the money come from?


About the author

Andrew Goodman, Community Engagement Director, New Kensington Community Development Corporation

Goodman is currently the Community Engagement Director at the New Kensington Community Development Corporation.

Previously, Goodman worked as a city planner and project manager for PennPraxis. His focus was on projects that combined community engagement and public space design, including the Central Delaware Waterfront Planning Process, the Green2015 initiative for Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, and the Bartram’s Mile project in Southwest Philadelphia.  Goodman was an early contributor to PlanPhilly and helped shape the site in its first iteration.  As PlanPhilly grew, Goodman represented the publisher and provided professional planning input and project management support as the site expanded its beat coverage, went through multiple redesigns, conducted an internal strategic plan, and researched revenue generation opportunities.

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