Changes, both definite and immediate as well as tentative and eventual were discussed at the Nov. 21 meeting of the Port Richmond Community Group.
First, the definite and immediate — Lucille Songhai, a representative from SEPTA was present to discuss the changes to the Route 15 line.
Beginning around Dec. 23, Richmond Street will become completely off-limits to all traffic due to the I-95 construction in the area. SEPTA has had to move Route 15 shuttle bus from Richmond Street. Now, the Route 15 bus will follow this route:
The bus will pick up in Port Richmond at Richmond Street and Westmoreland Street, go south down Richmond Street to Allegheny, and will now make a right onto Allegheny Avenue instead of continuing down Richmond Street. It will then turn left onto Belgrade Street, continuing to Aramingo Avenue, and then continue down Aramingo Avenue to where it splits at I-95 South to continue onto Girard Avenue. It will continue down Girard Avenue to Front Street, where the trolley picks up at Front Street and Girard Avenue.
On the way back from Front Street an d Girard Avenue, the 15 will go down Girard Avenue, continue to Aramingo Avenue and York Street right next to the Port Richmond Village shopping center, continue up Thompson Street until it makes a right on Allegheny Avenue, go down Allegheny to Richmond Street, will take a left on Richmond Street, and back up to the Westmoreland Street loop, where Byrne’s Tavern is.
SEPTA will begin working on revitalizing the new roads on which the 15 will travel between now and Dec. 23. Some of the more residential roads on the route need fixing up due to potholes and other issues.
For more information on the new route, which will last approximately two years, visit septa.org/alert/15.html.
As far as tentative and eventual plans for the PRCG general area, Angela Taurino of NKCDC was present at the meeting to discuss a potential grant NKCDC could receive which will revitalize an area of the city that shares borders with PRCG.
If NKCDC is awarded grant money for its “North of Lehigh” revitalization plan, the area bound by Lehigh Avenue to the south, Clearfield Street to the north, Aramingo Avenue to the east and Kensington Avenue to the west will see tremendous changes including land use, lighting, public space and building renovations and reuse.
Port Richmond shares a general border with this proposed area, particularly along Aramingo Avenue.
The NKCDC plan for North of Lehigh study area is approximately 259 acres in size and is made up of 188 blocks, according to the proposed plan. Said Taurino, “The planning process incorporated the community’s voice through community input meetings, door-to-door surveying of 200 residents, and is heavily data-driven.”
The plan is included in a grant application for Wells Fargo; NKCDC will know if it is awarded the funds by early 2014.
NKCDC has collected some very interesting facts about the area from its study, like:
—The commercial type of land use that numbers the highest, at 33, is auto repair and sales.
—In the study area, there are enough vacant lots to create 29 football fields.
—There are 3,708 buildings in the study area, and eight percent of them are qualified as “distressed” and in need of major repairs. The majority of buildings, 57 percent, are considered in “average” condition, with minor repairs needed. There is a greater collection of buildings listed in “above average” condition along Aramingo Avenue, toward Clearfield Street.
Also at the meeting, Energy Coordinating Agency representative Ellen Chapman spoke to attendees about energy use issues, as winter approaches.
Two important things Chapman mentioned:
For low-income families, with an income of up to $35,280 for a family of four, there is a heater hotline available — if during the winter your home’s heater breaks, ECA may be able to repair or replace your heating system for lower rates. The hotline number is 215-609-1028.
Families can also benefit from a “weatherization” program to weather strip areas of their homes where heat is leaking out. PGW is giving rebates and incentives to some homeowners who take advantage of such measures. The weatherization program hotline can be reached at 215-427-0350.