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Development News

New pedestrian scale lighting adds vitality, safety to Chinatown, Old City, Washington Square West

Ever walk a city block in Philly at night and wonder what gives that piece of street a sense of place? All too often, it’s the details that deliver; small fixtures or amenities in the urban realm that cater to the pedestrian user. Over the years, the Center City District has understood the importance of high quality pedestrian features on city blocks, something that hasn’t escaped their priority list to this day. More recently it has installed 124 pedestrian-scale light fixtures in three areas of Center City: Chinatown, Old City and Washington Square West.   
In Chinatown, ornamental pagoda lights were installed in the 900 and 1000 blocks of Arch Street plus 10th Street between Arch and Race Streets.  New lights were also added along Eighth Street between Market and Filbert Streets. 
In Old City, the CCD added pedestrian lighting to two blocks on Third Street between Market and Race Streets. And in Washington Square West, new lighting was added to the 1000 block of Spruce, and on 11th and 12th Streets, between Spruce and Pine Streets.
These recent improvements are the latest in a series of lighting installments the CCD has been implementing since 1996.  In all, $24 million has been spent and 2,179 ornamental lights have gone up, mostly around Rittenhouse, Washington and Logan Squares.  With 2/3 of all blocks finished in the district, CCD is always strategizing on where to implement the next round of lighting improvements.   “Our goal is to finish the balance of the blocks in the CCD,” explains Paul Levy, President and CEO of Center City District.
The purpose of the program has always been to “add vibrancy to the streetscape, improve safety and encourage people to visit businesses and restaurants,” says Levy.  Lighting is particularly important in fostering the ’24-hour downtown’ that Center City already is, a status Levy and others want to maintain and strengthen. 
Expect other parts of Chinatown and undeveloped areas within Center City to continue seeing pedestrian lighting improvements as development occurs.  “Since most of the remaining (unfinished) blocks are in areas where new development is still occurring, we usually partner with developers when they complete their projects,” says Levy, who says CCD's efforts to cover all blocks will be complete within five years. 

Source: Paul Levy, President and CEO of Center City District
WriterGreg Meckstroth
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