Trolley Portal Gardens is the culmination of years of fundraising, planning, and construction to transform the 40th Street Trolley Portal into a welcoming, inclusive neighborhood amenity. Enjoy our native plants, pull up a seat, or head to Renata's Kitchen for a meal or beverage! 

Trolley Portal Gardens


Through a unique public-private partnership with SEPTA, the City of Philadelphia, and neighborhood stakeholders, UCD raised $2.1 million to transform the 40th Street Trolley Portal, the busiest at-grade rail station in the city. By combining great urban design, infrastructure renewal and community engagement, UCD transformed the space from an unsightly expanse of concrete into a vibrant and social space featuring beautiful landscaping, movable seating, and a new restaurant that serves as a community asset for thousands of neighbors, commuters and local employees.
Trolley Portal Gardens serves as a beautiful gateway for West Philadelphia trolley passengers and a welcoming public space for neighbors. The site design emphasizes safety and comfort for the estimated 5,000 riders who board or exit trolleys at the Portal each day. The project improves pedestrian circulation while using cutting-edge stormwater management techniques that replace impervious surfaces with lush wildflower meadow-like mounds planted with native species. The overall aesthetic improvements enhances the commutes of nearly 60,000 riders who pass through the Portal each day. Green City Works, UCD’s full-service landscaping social venture, maintains the space, ensuring that the neighborhood’s beautification is tied to growth and opportunity for local residents.   

In the fall and winter of 2021, we updated the planting scheme at Trolley Portal Gardens. Below is a timeline and additional details about the project. The mounds will begin to fill in with new plants and should look lush and beautiful by June of 2022.  

  • October: Removal of a dead linden tree 
  • Late October/early November: Tilling and weeding of the planting mounds. Our crews will be removing the temporary black plastic coverings, tilling the soil to remove weed roots, and spraying the area with Avenger, an environmentally safe herbicide that uses citrus oil to strip away waxy plant cuticles, causing weeds to dehydrate and die 
  • November: Planting ornamental grasses and shrubs and flower bulbs for spring growth, and covering exposed soil with triple-shredded hardwood bark mulch to reduce weed growth. Install crepe myrtle tree and shrubs along dining terrace and then install all herbaceous plants as plugs to complete the meadow replanting 


Stop by Trolley Portal Gardens for free and fun activations! 


June 21st from 6 - 7 PM: Amber Peirce Presented by Make Music Philly 

Don't miss up-and-comer Amber Peirce playing an eclectic mix of covers and originals ranging from the 60s to today's hits. Amber is a young musician going into her senior year at the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts. 

Make Music Philly is an all-day, open-access, free “do it yourself” festival taking place in various neighborhoods in Philadelphia, PA on June 21st every year. Participation is encouraged from all ages, genres, and abilities, from indie rock to bluegrass to a cappella, from music students to professional artists, and everything in between. Learn more here.


June 30th from 6 - 8 PM: Picture Me Philly Drawing Class with Artsi Philly 

Artsi and University City District partner to bring Artsi's Picture Me Philly pastel drawing series to a NEW location! 

Express yourself and channel your inner artist with a FREE pastel drawing class. Picture Me Philly is an outdoor pastel drawing series open to all levels. Taught by visual artist Jessica Cantone, this class teaches the essentials of landscape and cityscape drawing and different pastel drawing techniques that will expand your range of artistic expression. All art supplies included. 

Just a few steps away is Renata's Kitchen, a restaurant featuring refreshing interpretations on traditional culinary classics. Class takers are encouraged to enjoy the delicious food and refreshing drinks for purchase from Renata’s Kitchen’s menu. 

**Class is limited to 25 guests - RSVP here to reserve your seat!** 


Thank You!

This project would not be possible without the support and collaboration of the neighborhood. UCD is excited to realize the dream of upgrading this area into a magnificent public space for thousands of neighbors, commuters, and local employees


Watch a video of the transformation of the site:


To learn about sponsorship opportunities or to host an event, contact Margaret Starke at 215-243-555 x227 or [email protected].