Franklin Square Station to Open for Third Time

PATCO officials outline plans to reopen old station

What is old will be new once again at Franklin Square -- well, actually under Franklin Square.

PATCO officials gave a tour of the twice-closed subway station located under the Old City square Monday, detailing their plans to reopen the stop.

Originally christened in 1936, the 6th and Race station was closed several decades later due to a lack of ridership. It was renovated and reopened for the 1976 Bicentennial celebration, but then mothballed for a second time in 1979.

Initial plans are to improve lighting, update signage and install an elevator at the stop, which has two entrances along 6th Street, according to officials. They plan to keep the station's original tile work in tact and may even add mosaics of historic Philadelphia icons.

The planned reopening comes after a recent development explosion along Independence Mall and at Franklin Square. Over the past two decades, the mall has seen the addition of the National Constitution Center, a new visitors center and Liberty Bell pavilion and will soon add a National Jewish-American museum. The square, which sits above the station, now boasts a mini-golf course, carousel, playground and even a Stephen Starr burger joint.

Officials hope to tap into the area's visitor traffic as well as increase inter-city travel. Initially, they expect 500 riders walk through the turnstiles at 6th and Race. Currently, officials are working on a design for the station. They hope to have it operational by late 2010 or early 2011.

The 14-mile train line runs from 16th and Locust Streets in Philadelphia to Lindenwold, New Jersey, crossing the river via the Ben Franklin Bridge. The Delaware River Port Authority, the agency that owns the line, recently announced ambitious plans to expand the high-speed line within the city and deep into South Jersey.

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