OPTION A - On Surface
The proposal for conversion of Route 48 into a Subway-Surface line would build the in-street segments in compliance with the design standards planned for the future Subway-Surface system improvement project. These standards would result in reduced travel time.
Extention of the Route 48 service north and east beyond Allegheny Avenue to the intersection of Ontario Street and Old York Road (the site of a previously existing Route 23 track loop adjacent to Temple University Hospital) would provide access to reverse commutation options. The extension could also potentially reduce travel time (via Broad Street Subway express service at Erie Station) to & from Center City for passengers boarding or alighting near the northern end of the route. The Temple healthcare complex provides health services to a significant portion of North Philadelphia residents and is a large center of employment.
Further south, the former Reading Railroad City Branch right-of-way, previously used for access to Reading Terminal, is extant between 29th Street at Pennsylvania Avenue and Broad Street. The City Branch, largely unused except for a small segment at the western end, consists of both open trench and tunnel. This grade-seperated former railroad alignment provides an opportunity to reduce travel time and increase the service reliability of Route 48 (one of the slowest routes in the SEPTA system) between 29th Street and Center City.
Many passenger traffic generators are located near the City Branch including the Philadelphia School District headquarters, Community College of Philadelphia, museums adjacent to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and several high-rise apartment buildings on Pennsylvania Avenue. Significant residential redevelopment has occured in the vicinity of Callowhill Street west of Broad Street during the past decade.
The City Branch right-of-way terminates just east of Broad Street, including space formerly occupied by freight railroad sidings beneath the Terminal Commere Building (located at 401 North Broad Street). The surrounding area (colloquially known as Callowhill East or Eraserhood) is undergoing transformation as underutilized industrial buildings and open parcels of land are being redeveloped into residential or mixed-use space. It is proposed to connect the City Branch right-of-way with the existing Subway Surface system via a new tunnel under the alignment of Juniper Street between the Terminal Commerce Building and the stub tunnel leading north from the northeast corner of the Subway-Surface loop at Filbert Street. This new tunnel would be approximately 1/2 mile in length.
New stations in the below-grade segment would include:
A) Callowhill / Eraserhood (in new tunnel at Callowhill Street and the alignment of Juniper Street)
B) Community College of Philadelphia (between 17th & 18th Streets in the City Branch trench)
C) Rodin (between 21st and 22nd Streets in the City Branch tunnel)
D) Art Museum/Fairmount (between 25th Street and Fairmount Avenue in the City Branch tunnel)
Route 48 access to Center City destinations would be provided by way of existing Subway Surface stations or intermodal transfers to the Market Frankford Subway Elevated and the Broad Street Subway. It is proposed to combine Route 48 with Route 36 for through operation in Center City Philadelphia. Bus Route 32 would be modified in Center City to cover the current Route 48 service on Market and Arch Streets.
Additionally, a new service to the Philadelphia Zoo with limited hours would operate as an extension of Route 34 to a track loop at 40th Street and Girard Avenue. The Zoo extension would require a junction to be built at the intersection of 29th Street and Girard Avenue.