Daily Dose is a new feature for chestnuthilllocal.com in which we will discuss interesting news from around the city and more every day.
A Philadelphia Magazine online story about SEPTA’s plans to overhaul its trolley system contained a mention of Germantown Avenue’s long defunct Route 23 line:
SEPTA is still considering reopening the old 23 trolley route—which ran between Chestnut Hill and South Philadelphia via Germantown Avenue and 11th and 12th Streets—perhaps in a truncated form. Otherwise, the routes and lines should stay the same, according to Comati.
That information came from an interview the magazine conducted with Byron Comati, SEPTA’s director of strategic planning and analysis. In that interview, Comati said SEPTA was planning to replace all of its old trolley cars with modern cars like those that can be found on the streets of Portland, Ore.
Those cars offer a lot of improvements — they are modern, quicker and can be boarded at ground level, making them full accessible.
The tradeoff, however, is that the city’s trolley infrastructure would need to be overhauled to accommodate the new cars.
Trolley supporters in Northwest Philadelphia have been trying to get the 23 line restored for a generation now (if not longer). I’m sure an investment in trolley infrastructure is welcome news.
Still, there is cause for skepticism.
A transformation of neighborhood intersections sounds like slow starter for the historic corridor of Germantown Avenue, where even the installation of solar composting trash receptacles is not without controversy. There’s also the issue of the tight and often traffic choked Avenue accommodating trolley cars that stop at least every other block.
We’d love to know what you think. Want to see streetcars back on the Avenue? Let us know in the comments below.