Amtrak, SEPTA and NJ Transit passengers traveling through 30th Street Station during the busy holiday season will once again be able to access the 30th Street side of the iconic building via a newly-reconstructed West Plaza. The plaza re-opens on Friday, November 22 and features additional bike racks, expanded parking and new outdoor seating options, among other improvements.
The installation of nine new bicycle racks plaza will expand bike parking capacity to nearly 100 spaces on the west side of the station. Six more bike racks, provided by the City of Philadelphia, are being installed on the 29th Street (east) side of the station.
The new West Plaza improves pedestrian connections to the University City neighborhood and features energy-efficient LED lighting that will improve visibility and security through safer walking and driving conditions. Drivers will also find expanded vehicle lanes and additional kiosk-based metered parking, including 14 new spaces along “Little Market Street” in areas that had previously been restricted, along with six new spaces south of the portico.
“The new West Plaza is an impressive link between historic 30th Street Station and the vibrant University City neighborhood,” said Stephen Gardner, Amtrak vice president of Northeast Corridor infrastructure and investment development. “As we progress a master plan for the station precinct, improvements like these that improve connectivity for our passengers and further integrate 30th Street Station into the community will be crucial to realizing the maximum development potential of the area.”
In addition to the limestone-cast and granite materials used in the construction, architectural refinements can be seen throughout the new plaza including 20-inch bronze inlaid lettering spelling out the word “Philadelphia” arched over a five-foot diameter medallion featuring the Amtrak logo. This ornamental gateway serves as a welcome point for visitors accessing the station from Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania and the rest of University City.
From that point, near the curb at 30th Street to the station entrance, an at-grade pedestrian crosswalk has been installed – an improvement directly benefitting passengers with disabilities who had trouble navigating some of the raised features of the old plaza. New planters with landscaping, some of which feature built-in seating, will enhance the visitor experience for passengers and members of the community who choose to utilize the public areas of the plaza for recreation or other purposes.
The $30 million Amtrak-funded project also includes renovation of the steel infrastructure beneath the pedestrian plaza, which will continue into 2014.
More information about the project, including a video presentation of some of the new features, can be found on the Amtrak blog. An attached aerial photo gives a birds-eye view of the completed project.