Market Street Bridge Receives Major Enhancement

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

For Immediate Release
Contact: Lori Brennan, 215-243-0555 or [email protected] 



 Iconic Philadelphia bridge receives major facelift through partnership effort by University City District, Center City District, and the Schuylkill River Development Corporation; will serve as verdant link between University City and Center City.

(Philadelphia, PA) – A partnership among University City District (UCD), Center City District (CCD), the Schuylkill River Development Corporation (SRDC), and the design group Groundswell will bring a major enhancement to the Market Street Bridge, one of the key gateways between University City and Center City. 

“We’ve entered into a golden era of civic infrastructure investments in Philadelphia’s urban core,” said University City District Executive Director Matt Bergheiser.  “Improvements to the bridge - along with the ongoing development of the adjacent Porch at 30th Street Station and the wonderful partnership among UCD, CCD and SRDC - are all signals that Philadelphia is knitting together the pedestrian fabric of University City and Center City.”

UCD engaged Groundswell Design Group—the landscape architecture firm behind Spruce Street Harbor Park, the Independence Beer Garden and, most recently, the revamped Porch at 30th Street Station—to enhance the walking experience, and to extend the design style of The Porch across the Market Street Bridge. The improvements will provide a welcoming connection between the eastern edge of University City, Center City, and the banks of the Schuylkill River. 

“We needed a partner able to come up with a design using custom, locally fabricated elements in a very short amount of time,” said Nate Hommel, UCD’s Director of Planning and Design. “We were confident Groundswell was the team to turn to.” The new elements include: lush greenery; 120 custom, lightweight planters; bleacher seating that offers optimal views of the Schuylkill River; and four large gateway pergolas positioned at the main points of entry. The new elements will also help soften vehicular traffic noise, and are designed to be reversible. 

The project came about due to a collaborative planning effort between University City District, Center City District, and the Schuylkill Development Corporation. More than six thousand people walk across the Market Street Bridge every day, making it a critical connection between University City and Center City, and a key gateway to the Schuylkill River Trail.  “University City and Center City are Philadelphia’s two largest employment centers, each with a growing share of residents, visitors and students,” said Paul Levy, President and CEO of Center City District. “The CCD is pleased to support efforts to enhance the pedestrian connections between these two dynamic centers and the improvements at AMTRAK’s 30th Street station.” 

Joseph Syrnick, President and CEO of the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, agreed, saying, “This project furthers the goal of seamlessly connecting Center City with University City while recognizing the importance of the Schuylkill River.”

The improvements to the Market Street Bridge were made possible in part thanks to grants made to the University City District by the William Penn Foundation and the Joanna McNeil Trust.  The William Penn Foundation funding is part of a larger UCD effort to study and improve civic infrastructure in eastern University City.  
About University City District (UCD): UCD promotes a world class, vibrant University City through major investments in public space development, public maintenance and public safety, by connecting entrepreneurs and residents to economic opportunity, and through the creation and management of destination events.

About the William Penn Foundation: The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that increase educational opportunities for children from low-income families, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. With assets of over $2 billion, the Foundation distributes approximately $90 million in grants annually. Learn more about the Foundation at 

About Center City District (CCD):  Center City District is a business improvement district whose mission is to keep Philadelphia's downtown clean, safe, and attractive. They provide security, cleaning and promotional services that supplement, but do not replace, basic services provided by the City of Philadelphia and the fundamental responsibilities of property owners. CCD also makes physical improvements to the downtown, installing and maintaining lighting, signs, banners, trees and landscape elements. Since 2008, the CCD has renovated and now manages Sister Cities Park, Cret Park, Collins Park and Dilworth. The district encompasses 120 blocks and more than 1,700 individual properties.

About the Schuylkill River Development Corporation (SRDC): SRDC is a non-profit organization leading the revitalization of the tidal Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. SRDC works with federal, state, city and private agencies to coordinate, plan and implement economic, recreational, environmental and cultural improvements and tourism initiatives on the Schuylkill River between the Fairmount Dam and the Delaware River. 

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