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Cars traveling northbound on Broad Street will have to navigate a slight squeeze in South Philly starting Monday, as SEPTA shuts down a lane along a one-block stretch to install elevators and other improvements at Tasker-Morris Station.
The construction closure, which PennDOT expects to last through spring 2024, is part of an effort by the transit authority to extend ADA accessibility throughout Philly’s subway system.
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“SEPTA is investing more than $500 million to continue to focus on our commitment to make all stations on the Broad Street Line and Market Frankford Line accessible within the next decade,” the agency said in its capital budget plan for the current fiscal year. “These investments make the system easier to use and more accessible for all, including seniors, anyone with mobility disabilities, and those with baby strollers or groceries.”
The block of Broad where a lane is shutting down runs between Tasker and Morris streets, right near the Dolphin Tavern and the PGW office with the iconic 1941 sign on its facade.
Navigating the city’s public transit system with limited mobility is not currently easy, residents say. One woman who uses a wheelchair last year crowdfunded a van to get around, calling the alternatives “a nightmare” and noting that at one station with an elevator, buttons were too high for her to reach.
Most BSL and MFL stations were built a century ago, and have steep stairways leading below ground or up to elevated tracks. Over a third of the 53 stations were not accessible as of 2015, according to The Inquirer.
Work has continued since then, but it doesn’t necessarily progress quickly.
SEPTA’s budget outlines plans to add elevators to 14 stations along both lines, plus other improvements like renovation of platforms, new signage (there’s a system-wide redesign happening on this), waterproofing (no more inside rain?), and new lighting and security cameras. Some of the funding is expected to come from federal programs, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The stations all have varying timelines, per the capital budget plan, with target completion dates and approximate estimated costs as follows:
Broad Street Line
- Tasker-Morris by 2023 ($19M)
- Susquehanna Dauphin by 2023 ($24M)
- Erie by 2025 ($23M)
- Snyder by 2026 ($30M)
- Fairmount by 2028 ($35M)
- Chinatown (Spur) by 2028 ($10M)
- Wyoming by 2029 ($25M)
- Hunting Park by 2030 ($25M)
- Logan by 2030 ($25M)
- Ellsworth-Federal by 2031 ($20M)
- Lombard-South by 2032 ($20M)
- 11th Street by 2025 ($24M)
- Spring Garden by 2026 ($7.4M)
- 34th Street by 2028 ($31M)