Philadelphia Zoo to Begin Traffic and Safety Improvement Project Benefitting Zoo Visitors and Surrounding Communities

(December 13, 2010) – The Philadelphia Zoo, next month, will begin final design on much-anticipated traffic and access-related improvements.  Benefitting Philadelphia Zoo visitors and the neighboring cultural attractions and communities, improvements will ultimately include significant enhancements to traffic flow, pedestrian safety and the overall environment around the Zoo and its neighboring Centennial and Parkside Communities. A $7.18 million Federal Transportation grant previously awarded to the Zoo will provide the bulk of funding for the nearly $9 million Project.

This has been an outstanding effort on the part of many partners and stakeholders, including PennDOT, SEPTA, the City of Philadelphia Streets Department, and Fairmount Park, who have each supported this important transportation-improvement project,” says Vikram Dewan, Philadelphia Zoo President and CEO. “These traffic and safety improvements will support the continuing revitalization of the Centennial and Parkside Districts,” says Dewan.

Coming on the heels of unprecedented attendance at the Philadelphia Zoo and in light of the results of a just-completed Zoo Economic Impact Study, the physical improvements will be critical to the Zoo’s continued growth as an economic engine in this area and will provide substantial environmental benefits to the broader community.

Improvements will include:
  • Upgrades to traffic signals and signage, including changes that will improve traffic flow at the I-76 off-ramps, facilitate access to existing parking lots, and improve pedestrian safety.
  • Installation of new mass transit opportunities, including signaled crosswalks and bus pull-offs at existing SEPTA stops.
  • Creation of new environmental enhancements to streetscape and sidewalks, including landscaping and lighting.
The Philadelphia Zoo attracts over 1.2 million visitors each year, producing millions in local and state tax revenue and creating thousands of job opportunities both full and part-time. Providing quality programming to local, regional, national and international audiences, the Zoo is the largest paid ticketed cultural attraction and conservation organization in Philadelphia.