GAHH, if only! As a staunch public transit rider who takes both a bus and the El to get from Northeast Philly to Center City (takes anywhere from 45 mins to an hour and a half, depending…well, more on that later), something like the above-pictured rapid transit system would be deeply appreciated by occasionally resentful, but always loyal, commuters like myself.
And no. Much like our Jaw Dropper of the Week home, this is not some silly April Fools’ joke. Rather, it’s a blast from the past found on Michael Krasulski’s Philadelphia Studies blog:
Back in 2002, while on medical leave, I attempted to abstract and post online the annual reports of the Philadelphia Department of City Transit. […] A fellow on the Main Line, whose name I have long forgotten, made this for my website. The map is, mostly, based on the original 1913 plan. He added the airport connection “just because.”
In other words, the map you’re looking at is a modern day illustration of the rapid transit lines proposed by Philadelphia Transit Commissioner A. Merritt Taylor between 1913 and 1915 (except for the airport line, of course). Philebrity notes that when Taylor was drawing up these routes the Market-Frankford Line was still “in its infancy” and the Broad Street Line would not be built for another ten years or so.
Still, as Jim Saksa points out in a tweet, this was all formulated at a time when “we still had streetcars everywhere.” SEPTA went on to acquire these after taking over the system in 1968, but only seven surface lines continued into the early 1970s, “along with the five Subway-Surface Lines that still serve West Philadelphia,” according to Jake Blumgart in this 2012 Inquirer article. Here’s what Blumgart says helped preserve those lines still running in West Philly:
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