Philly Hopes to Light the Way to New Business Corridor

Officials say fancy illumination is intended to boost the economic picture for a lagging avenue.

(Photo by Max Binder)

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Philadelphia’s central north-south thoroughfare is Broad Street. Head down it south from City Hall, and you’ll find buzzing restaurants, shops, hotels, theaters and performance venues, but walk north and things get quieter. In an attempt to level the playing field, the city will illuminate the northern section with 41 55-foot stainless steel light fixtures. The $8.7 million project, which includes landscaping too, will be funded with a mix of state, federal and city money and should cover 2.5 miles of North Broad Street by the end of Fall 2015.

Rendering of planned lighting for North Broad Street in Philadelphia (Credit: Philadelphia Streets Department)

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Mayor Michael Nutter suggested the addition would help make the area safer and highlight development in the works for the area (including a long-awaited renovation of the Divine Lorraine Hotel).

“As a government, we want do anything we can to support growth and development along this important corridor,” Nutter said in a press release. “The North Broad Streetscape project will give this area a cohesive look and make it a safer, more inviting place for customers and residents. This project will return North Broad Street to its former glory as a main thoroughfare for our great city.”

City Council President Darrell Clarke told the Inquirer that the project sends “the appropriate signal that North Broad Street, we are here, and we are here in a big way.” Clarke also said a new nonprofit (Avenue North Renaissance) is slated to help with long-term economic sustainability along the corridor.

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Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.

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Tags: small businessurban designdowntown revitalization

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