23rd & Venango: An Example of Sustainable Design

June 1, 2015

SEPTA's bus loop renovation at 23rd and Venango in Upper North Philadelphia is the most recent example of sustainable design at SEPTA. The design for the new bus loop supports SEPTA's "triple- bottom-line" approach to sustainability.

The renovation began in the spring of 2014 as part of SEPTA's Rebuilding for the Future Program. The bus loop, which serves bus routes 33, 56, 1, and R was redesigned to address accessibility, safety, aesthetic and environmental concerns.

The 23rd and Venango bus loop before the renovation.

SEPTA incorporated curb cuts that enable customers in wheelchairs to easily access the bus loop. The bus loop was made safer by reconfiguring the foot print of the loop and designating safe passenger loading areas. Aesthetically, the bus loop was transformed by adding plant beds, new lighting and shelters. By addressing accessibility, safety and aesthetic improvements in the design of the bus loop, SEPTA makes it easier for customers to utilize transportation and has invested in an important assets in the Upper North Philadelphia neighborhood . Investment in our customer safety and the revitalization of a neighborhood supports the "social" pillar of sustainable development.

The environmental benefit of the bus loop will not be as obvious to customers. That is because the environmental benefit is hidden by the pavement of the bus loop. Underneath the non- porous pavement, there is a collection point for stormwater that allows water to infiltrate the ground instead of going into Philadelphia's sewer system. According to the Philadelphia Water Department, "when it rains and the volume of combined stormwater and wastewater is larger than the combined sewer system's capacity, the mixed stormwater and waste water is discharged into the city's streams". When SEPTA incorporates green stormwater infrastructure like the holding area at 23rd and Venango, it reduces the amount of stormwater entering Philadelphia's sewer system. This is an example of "environmental" sustainability.

Additionally, because the bus loop manages stormwater onsite, SEPTA's stormwater fees are reduced at the 23rd and Venango location. This is an example of the "economic "sustainability.

You can watch a video to learn more about the social, economic and environmental benefits by clicking here. As SEPTA continues to invest in infrastructure there will be more examples of sustainability design. To read about all upcoming Rebuilding for the Future Program projects click here.