New “Cultural Corridor Line” Would Speed Philadelphians Between City’s Top Attractions

The bright bloggers at the Philadelphia Planning Department offer a preview of the “Cultural Corridor Line,” a “rapid bus line” that would transfer passengers speedily between the Delaware Waterfront, past the Barnes and Philadelphia Art Museum, all the way to the Mann Music Center. The line is being proposed as part of the full Central District Plan scheduled for release on Tuesday.

The planners write:

The Cultural Corridor Line will not only connect important attractions, but its service will fill an important transit function – bringing rapid service to the northwestern Center City for the first time (the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Logan Square and Fairmount neighborhoods). To do this, the line will utilize the old railroad cut called the City Branch which lies largely below-grade from Broad Street west/northwest between Callowhill and Hamilton Streets then under Pennsylvania Avenue and along Fairmount Park near Kelly Drive.

By operating below the city streets in the City Branch, the buses can make-up any time lost when at street level – making “rapid” more than just a dream. Running in the tunnel will also mean that closures of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway won’t interfere with operations. No matter what event is happening at Eakins Oval, the transit line can run without any delays or reroutings.

The blog doesn’t say when say when the line would be up and running, though the Central District Plan is titled Philadelphia2035, suggesting it could awhile. But it sounds neat.


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  • better as a 3-mile pedestrian/bike art & industrial heritage Gardenpark- something doable (say before the ‘real world’ transportation priorities (Broad Street Subway to Navy Yard and Rt 100 King of Prussia Extension–ya know, that”s still decades away..) Holding it hostage for pie-in-the-sky BRT that should be on the Parkway-to-Stenton-to Girard-to Centennial District. Come for a walk to see!

    • DTurner

      Or you two could just share the damned tunnel; the tunnel originally had 4 tracks, correct? That seems like more than enough space to accommodate both uses.

      • Correct, four tracks and exactly why VIADUCTgreene works toward an International Ideas Competition. Preserving the right to develop the most creative results possible while acknowledging that not knowing the outcome at the outset is not only okay, it’s also better. Still, the views of the Parkway designed to move a variety of vehicles and serving the doorways to those cultural institutions seem to trump an imagined reality of ‘rapid transit.’

        • DTurner

          I’m still somewhat skeptical that this plan (or rather the tunnel portion) is not simply a Dilworth Plaza for the 21st century, providing a surplus of underground public space. Given that the concourse network in dense Center City is downright scary for large portions, how will Friends of the Rail Park ensure that this tunnel, which is likely to have far fewer users does not become an “imagined reality”, if integration with a BRT/LRT line is not considered?

          • no idea what Friends of the Rail Park propose; there are no rails. As for VIADUCTgreene, we propose active use and programing and always make note that the grade-seperated character of the site encourages hours and security. Working with Parks and Recreation and soliciting a wide variety of design alternatives encourages the making of a place people care to be, and a 3-mile corridor people care to use. Quality design and programing beget quality use and management.

  • Connect it to the Broad Street Subway. It would make more sense for 2035.