We know a lot has happened in the past months in our City, and we would like to provide an update of the on-going transportation safety and improvement project around Broad, Germantown, and Erie (BGE), the heart of North Philadelphia. We were quiet on this project as the city and its communities dealt with the tumultuous events of the last few months. But we have still been hard at work to bring restoration, beautification, traffic safety, and investment to this area.
Why Broad, Germantown, and Erie?
The intersection is a public transportation hub and shopping district, with remarkable architecture, rich history, and a strong community. Previous investment in the area has not reflected this. In 2017, the Mayor formed the Broad, Germantown, and Erie Task Force to build on the community’s work to correct this disparity. The Task Force is working on upgrades to the streets, sidewalks, buildings, businesses, and parks. Its members include community groups, government, residents, and merchants.
The work described below are some of the City’s contributions to this task force. We will be rolling out a series of updates on the ongoing activity in this area. Future posts will also highlight work being done by non-City organizations active in the community.
What’s happening with the businesses on Germantown Avenue and Broad Street?
Broad, Germantown, and Erie Task Force members were helping businesses on Germantown Avenue and Broad Street before the COVID-19 pandemic and the unrest in response to police brutality. These events have created challenges for everyone working on the commercial corridor, but they have only strengthened our commitment to deliver significant improvements for the community around BGE.
Community organizations and Task Force members have been very active in responding to the ongoing challenges 2020 has brought to the area. These include, but are certainly not limited to, the following actions:
- Task Force members Called to Serve CDC, Nicetown CDC, and North Broad Renaissance connected business owners to the federal Paycheck Protection Program, Philadelphia’s COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund, and the new Restore Reopen Small Business Grant and the Statewide Small Business Assistance .
- Called to Serve CDC also connected businesses to a construction company that boarded businesses’ windows for free. North 10 has been purchasing meals from local restaurants for Temple Hospital Emergency Room workers.
- After break-ins occurred on Germantown Avenue, Task Force members turned out to join volunteers to help clean up. Those Task Force Members include the Commerce Department and the organizations that make up the Broad, Germantown, and Erie Collaborative.
What’s next for the shopping district?
Cleaning on Germantown Avenue and Broad Street has continued through the pandemic. Called to Serve CDC, North Broad Renaissance, and Nicetown CDC clean streets and sidewalks will continue through the City’s TCB Clean Corridors Program that focuses on clean commercial corridors as well as workforce development.
The plan is not only to restore Germantown Avenue and Broad Street to what they were before these crises. We are committed to making it the shopping district the neighborhood wants.
The restoration of these shopping streets will continue. The Task Force will continue with plans to work with owners of the former Black and Nobel building, Dwight’s Barbeque, and Caribbean Feast on storefront and internal renovations.
We will also assist Tops Beauty with renovating the Broad Street side of their building. We previously helped with the Germantown Avenue renovations of Tops Beauty. Called to Serve CDC is fundraising for improvements for additional storefronts.
What’s going on with the other projects at BGE?
Our next blog post will provide updates about the project to improve the safety of BGE and create nicer parks, plazas, and sidewalks around the intersection.
Here is a preview of this work:
- We heard a lot of feedback at the January 2020 community resource fair. We’ll share what we heard in the next update.
- We have incorporated that feedback into the design for BGE, but our public outreach efforts this Spring were canceled due to COVID-19.
- We will be doing public engagement the rest of the Summer to refine the designs. We will focus on the design of the park, plaza, and sidewalks around the intersection, including public art, seating, and lighting.
- By this fall, we will have a final design plan for the intersection that we will start installing in Spring 2021 with some early improvements. Larger scale construction is planned for 2022 and 2023.
How to get involved?
If you know a business interested in upgrading its storefront or a business seeking help located at BGE, please contact Commerce at 215-683-2100 or Business@phila.gov.
This Summer, we will be engaging the community on the design for the BGE intersection on things like public art, seating and lighting. You can sign-up to receive email updates here, or email questions or feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.