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RJ White, Manager of Media Relations & Interactive Marketing

Photos of the event are available on our Flickr page.

Center City District, SEPTA and PATCO Unveil New Transit Signage System

(October 27, 2008) -- “With gas prices as high as they’ve recently been and, when you have a transit system that can take you just about any place in the region, that’s something to shout about,” declared Paul R. Levy, president and CEO of the Center City District, who, joined by the heads of SEPTA and the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA), unveiled a distinctive, new sign system for transit in Philadelphia. “This new system, with an easily identifiable transit service mark, concourse map and directional signs, will make it much easier for new riders, visitors and all of us to use subways, trolleys and trains.”

Philadelphia’s extensive intermodal transportation network provides excellent access to downtown office buildings, retail shops, hotels, medical centers, schools and cultural destinations, carrying nearly 300,000 passengers to Center City each weekday. Yet the totally different appearance of over 100 different entrances to underground transit stations – some stand alone access points that open onto public sidewalks and others tucked into office buildings, retail stores, shopping malls and public plazas – coupled with the lack of clear and consistent signage or an easily identifiable transit service mark, makes navigating the transit system a challenge for even the veteran user.

To remedy these challenges, the Center City District, in partnership with SEPTA and PATCO, developed a new customer-friendly transit sign system that will be installed at entrances to train, subway and trolley lines throughout the 3 ½ mile underground concourse system over the next year. As a pilot, the system has been installed at six sites:
• 18th and JFK, southeast corner
• 19th and Market, northeast corner
• Broad and Walnut, southwest corner
• 13th and Market, northeast corner
• 1525 Locust
• The Clothespin, Centre Square plaza, 15th and Market

“With fuel costs rising, many new people are choosing transit to come to work, to school, to shop and dine, or to enjoy Center City's many arts and cultural institutions,” noted Joe Casey, general manager of SEPTA. “Enhancing on street visibility of transit in a welcoming and reassuring way is essential to the continued growth of ridership and to achieving our customer service goals.”

“PATCO has taken many recent steps to improve the service and visibility of our system,” noted John Matteussen, DRPA president and CEO. “We have a new fare system, a new logo, a new ambassador program to provide riders with assistance, and now this fully integrated signage system at our Center City portals. These positive changes are what will attract new riders and keep our long standing customers satisfied.”

“Great cities have great transit systems made memorable by their visibility, clarity of signage and direction, and ease of use,” added Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation. “Visitors worry about getting lost and good signage gives them confidence in the system and in the city. In many, such as Paris, Tokyo, and D.C., the transit system becomes an iconic part of the trip. This transit sign project is a wonderful step in this important process.”

The transit sign system was designed by Joel Katz Design Associates and Bresslergroup. Fabrication and installation was completed by Urban Sign & Crane and Gordon Electric. Funding was generously provided by a $375,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation and $10,000 from DRPA. SEPTA will provide $312,500 toward the installation of the system at the remaining Center City sites.

Between now and December 1st, the public is encouraged to comment on the new signs by taking an electronic survey accessed by visiting CenterCityPhila.org/transitsigns or visiting the SEPTA or PATCO websites at www.septa.org or www.RidePatco.org.

The Center City District, a private-sector organization dedicated to making Center City Philadelphia clean, safe and attractive, is committed to maintaining Center City’s competitive edge as a regional employment center, a quality place to live, and a premier regional destination for dining, shopping and cultural attractions.