A South Philly Strip Mall Is Now Running a Trolley In Its Parking Lot

Whitman Plaza has a trolley running around its parking lot for the holiday season. We ask the realty company: Why?

Whitman Plaza

Photo courtesy Breslin Realty

It was big news in South Philly late this summer when the ShopRite moved into Whitman Plaza on Oregon Avenue. The supermarket, perhaps best known for its painting of the Dr. J mural, was the centerpiece of the newly-renovated Whitman Plaza.

Whitman Plaza, located at 330 West Oregon Avenue, has approximately 300,000 square feet. Breslin Realty, the New York realty company that has been involved at Whitman Plaza since the 1970s, says landlord South Whit Shopping Center Associates wanted to try something different for this holiday season.

“The landlord wanted to try running a trolley around the plaza,” says Breslin Realty’s Karen Siegel. “He thought maybe it would be a great little thing for the customers and the shoppers. And the tenants also can use it.”

Yes, a shopping center in South Philadelphia is running a trolley around its parking lot for the holiday season. The trolley, run by Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours, currently runs Thursdays to Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

This sounds a little silly, of course. It’s not a trolley taking riders from neighborhoods in South Philadelphia to the shopping center. It’s a trolley literally taking people around the parking lot. But let’s be fair here: This is a big parking lot, and plenty of older people live in Whitman Plaza and go to this strip mall. For those with mobility issues, the trolley may be helpful for getting to the supermarket, the Ross Dress for Less, the Burlington Coat Factory or even the Villa. Patrons of the PennDOT Drivers License Center are, one would expect, less likely to use the trolley.

And, yeah, it’s still a trolley designed to go around a parking lot. Laugh if you want to.

Siegel said 12 people used the trolley on its first day, and everyone was still “working out the kinks.” It can hold up to 23 passengers at a time. If you want to joyride through the Whitman Plaza parking lot, the trolley runs through December 31st.

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