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30th St. Station District Plan Releases Latest Renderings

New renderings reveal more parks, bridges, and a new-and-improved train station

The fourth draft of the 30th Street District Plan has been released to the public ahead of tomorrow's open house at 30th Street Station, and there are renderings galore to go over. And so you don't have to read through the 30-page document (although, you can here if you so desire), we pulled eight important developments on the ambitious project that you need to know.

1. Improvements to 30th Street Station will likely happen first.

In a effort to increase accessibility to the train station, the plan proposes a number of upgrades: Access on all four sides of the building and reopening the North Concourse to increase platform access to Amtrak by 50 percent. The report says these improvements should be "achievable in the near term."

2. Megabus and Bolt will actually have a real bus stop.

Right now, these bus stops are located across the street from the station along a sidewalk. The new plan proposes to move the stops to the north side of Arch Street—one of the new entrances to the station. The bus stop will be covered, and be connected via pedestrian bridge to the station.

3. Commuters won't have to go outside to transfer to SEPTA.

In the new proposal, commuters transferring to SEPTA from Amtrak will be able to reach the subway or trolley via a new stairway in the Main Hall of 30th St. Station. The concourse will have a massive skylight and retail.

4. There will be more green space—lots of it.

The new plan proposes Station Plaza, a civic space designed to be a gateway to University City and Drexel's proposed Schuylkill Yards. The Porch, already installed at 30th St. Station, will be expanded, and there will be pockets of green spaces all around the station. There's also a proposal to built a park underneath the highline that connects South Street bridge to Penn Park.

5. The new neighborhood above the rail yards is still an option.

In the last public comment periods, most folks were in favor of capping the rail yards at 30th St. Station, though one version called Innovation City proved to be the least promising. The fourth draft still proposes building a new neighborhood above the rail yards, 10 million square feet of development to be exact. It also proposes 8 million square feet of development adjacent to the station.

6. A large park called "Schuylkill Bluffs" is proposed for above the tracks.

The plan calls for another park along the eastern edge of the rail yards. Dubbed Schuylkill Bluffs, it'll sit above the Northeast Corridor tracks, and serve as another connection to the river and extra green space for the surrounding neighborhoods.

7. Pedestrian bridges are still in the works, too.

As a way to promote easier access to and from Center City, the plan proposes creating two pedestrian- and bike-only bridges across the Schuylkill River, including one at Race Street. Another pedestrian-and-car bridge is proposed from Powelton Village to Center City.

8. Yes, you absolutely have a say in all of this.

This is the fourth version of this $5.25 million study. The public has the opportunity to weigh in on these revised plans tomorrow, March 16 at the 30th Street Station Open House from 4 to 7 PM. A fifth and final draft will be presented this summer.