Frequently Asked Questions

+ What is the District Plan?

The Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan is a master plan. A master plan is a planning document which offers a guiding vision and set of comprehensive goals for future projects and development in a specific area. The creation of the master plan is shaped by input from community members, public agencies, and related stakeholders. Combined with an analysis of existing conditions and evaluation of important precedents, this input is used to establish a framework that describes the desired future outcomes. The master plan is the written outcome of the planning process that ensures that the ideas and visions of the process can be put into practice as projects and developments are designed and completed.

+ Why does the 30th Street Station neighborhood need a District Plan?

The area around 30th Street Station is destined to become a great place: it has incredible transportation assets at its core, it is walking distance from the central business district, and there is land ripe for new development or redevelopment. Today, the area lacks the pedestrian-friendly environment and dense residential, office, retail, and food amenities that make other Philadelphia neighborhoods exciting places.

The area around the 30th Street Station needs a district plan for three major reasons: 1) Has great potential but lacks a sense of place and identity at its commercial core; 2) A growing number of new development initiatives are occurring or are planned throughout the district; and 3) An increasing demand on the transportation assets in the district requires better coordination of these assets. At this stage, a district plan can foster a cohesive vision for the overall neighborhood, shape how development happens, both support and protect its residential communities, and identify infrastructure investments needed to prepare for future growth. A good district plan will catalyze smart development.

The Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan will formulate a vision for the transportation and other built infrastructure supporting the station, 30th Street Station itself, the potential development of the air rights above the rail yards adjacent to the station, and the surrounding neighborhood. The District Plan represents one of the best opportunities in America for re-envisioning rail and transit services and supporting transportation-oriented development for urban transformation and economic growth.

Low Quality Pedestrian Environment and Vehicular Congestion Some of the issues the District Plan will address include the low-quality pedestrian environment near the station as well as problems related to vehicular congestion.

+ How is this funded?

Financial support for the Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan is provided by Drexel University, Brandywine Realty Trust, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and other partners. The financial support for future development and construction is not related to the District Plan.

+ When will it be completed?

The District Plan will be completed in 2016. The District Plan will include the vision for transportation, the station, and the neighborhood through 2040. Physical development of projects within the neighborhood will be ongoing and are not decided by the District Plan.

+ Are the rail yards going to be built over as part of this Plan?

The planning process will examine the financial viability of building over the rail yards and will make a recommendation on how or if that could happen. The final plan will offer a vision for the District, which may possibly include building over the rail yards; however, the District Plan will not guarantee specific construction activities.

+ What will happen to the 30th Street Station building?

The District Plan will honor this important piece of architecture which is one of Philadelphia’s great landmarks. Recommendations will be made for how the station could potentially reorganize retail and waiting areas to improve circulation and leverage new revenue generating opportunities, but the historic building will be preserved to protect the iconic character of the station.

+ How will the new plan impact the traveler experience?

Philadelphia 30th Street Station is a major multi-modal transportation hub in need of improvements to enhance the passenger experience. Guided by the project goals of Community, Connectivity and Identity, the project team will look at ways to improve the passenger experience including providing better connectivity between modes, increasing the retail mix inside the station and better utilizing space in the station to meet passenger needs. These improvements along with others developed during the planning process will have positive impacts on the traveler experience.

+ What is the impact to the nearby neighborhoods?

The primary focus of the District Plan is a 175- acre area that is owned by Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University and SEPTA (see the District map). The interventions for the primary study area will be influenced by the neighboring communities. As Philadelphia is a city made up of wonderfully unique neighborhoods, the planning process will respect that uniqueness and develop a plan that positively contributes to the surrounding neighborhoods.

+ Who is developing the District Plan?

The Principal Stakeholders (Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, and SEPTA) are leading the planning effort. They are supported by a Coordinating Committee and a Consultant Team.

The Coordinating Committee includes several interested parties, key stakeholders, and area entities: Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, SEPTA, the City of Philadelphia (Philadelphia City Planning Commission and the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities), the University City District, the University of Pennsylvania, NJTRANSIT, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), CSX Transportation Corporation (CSXT), The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, and the Schuylkill River Development Corporation (SRDC).

In addition to the Coordinating Committee there are three Technical Committees established to aid in the development of goals and visions specific to three areas: Transportation, Station and Facilities, and Real Estate and Development.

The Consultant Team is led by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) in association with Parsons Brinckerhoff, OLIN, and HR&A Advisors.

+ How do I participate?

There are many ways to participate and everybody’s input is important to the development of a comprehensive District Plan. You can subscribe to project updates under Contact Us. Announcements of public meeting dates and times will be published on this website and will be sent to the subscription list. We would love to see you at one of our public meetings with your feedback and questions. If you have any other questions please email info@PhillyDistrict30.com for more information. Media inquiries may be directed to MediaRelationsWIL@amtrak.com.

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