12th Street repaving covers inactive Route 23 trolley tracks

Over the summer we told you about a portion of the inactive Route 23 trolley tracks being removed at 11th and Reed.

Photo of the repaving underway from the Bicycle Coalition.

Now even more of the unnecessary trolley tracks have been covered thanks to the repaving of 12th Street from South Street to Snyder Avenue.

More from the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia:

The project to repave 12th Street had been ongoing throughout the fall, and is in part a safety improvement project. The unused trolley tracks along 12th Street have been a hazard to bicyclists, many of whom have reported getting their tires caught in the tracks, before flipping over their handlebars and getting injured.

Service to the Route 23 trolley was suspended back in 1992, so repaving over the trolley track is a much-needed improvement for anyone traveling on 12th Street.

The next step in the improvements here involves the striping of the road, which should happen by Thanksgiving.

11 thoughts on “12th Street repaving covers inactive Route 23 trolley tracks

  • October 29, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Covering the tracks is a BS half measure that ends up costing more than just removing them in the first place. Black top over steel rails doesn’t last, the rails “resurface”, especially with bus traffic. Add to that, by paving over them, SEPTA is no longer responsible for maintaining the area between the rails. Win-win for SEPTA, all costs covered by the city.

    • October 29, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      Better than repaving while leaving the tracks like on 11th Street. In spots like that, the rails still pose a cycling hazard and causes the pavement to degrade along the length of the rails.

      • October 29, 2015 at 1:37 pm

        That’s why they should do it right, and remove the rails. And why they’re at it, take down all the crappy overhead power lines and poles.

        • October 30, 2015 at 8:54 am

          You stole my thunder with the lines and poles.

    • October 30, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      You act like SEPTA kept up with maintaining of the street and track. I have lived on 12th my whole life and it’s not only an issue for bikes but for cars as well. You make a wrong move and you slice your tire. I also worked on the repaving of Snyder Ave and they actually had to skip over the tracks between 12th and 11th street due to the fact it was a septa issue. Lets see how long it takes for them to patch that spot.

  • October 30, 2015 at 11:04 am

    You can already see the trolley tracks “surfacing” after just a couple of days. All of the workers were commenting on what a mistake that was, and talking about how it would have been possible to scrap the tracks to help finance the repaving. Its incredibly frustrating that repaving was permitted to happen this way, because it probably won’t happen again for many years.

    • October 30, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      Exactly. Paving over rail tracks is retarded engineering. The whole point of using asphalt is that it is flexible. Unlike concrete, it will move, not crack.
      BUT, when you put it on top of a steel rail, that can support trains, it has now where to “move”. So, when the bus rolls over it, slowly it gets squished out from on top of the rails.

      Utterly stupid, shortsightedness, and ultimately a big waste of dollars.

  • October 30, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    I love how its easier to drive down 12th street now without hitting the many potholes that seemed to always spring up around the tracks. However, I’m a little annoyed that it wasn’t until a bunch of cyclists started clamming about it that something was done… I’m torn because I thought a revival of the trolleys could be a great historical object-art of sorts.. But if that pipe dream was never going to happen, then YES, the unmaintained tracks and wires have become a terrible eye sore! But people have been talking about this for years! Only now that cyclists are being affected is something done about it? Thats kind of annoying… Grew up around here and rode my bike all the damn time. Ya learn to ride and be careful around the tracks. Just like ya learned to cross the street safely. No need for dirt island quagmires like the travesty at 16th & Snyder…

    Whatever. The outcome is a positive. The reasoning that finally got it done is just annoying…

    • October 30, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      The old 16th & Snyder complaint is back! Part of being able to cross a street safely is building safe places to cross to and from. City streets shouldn’t resemble highways.

      • November 2, 2015 at 4:07 pm

        City street corners also shouldn’t resemble suburban or jersey style residential developments…

        Here’s how you cross the street when you live in the city… You look left, then right, then left again. When it looks safe to cross, you proceed across the street while still being aware of oncoming bikes or vehicles… If you want your mom to hold your hand still, thats not against the law either…

    • October 31, 2015 at 8:56 am

      Regarding revitalizing the old trolleys on Route 23 or South Philly in general, every time I’m in San Fran, I see a few of Philly’s old trolleys. They are completely refurbished, looking alive and well, and they are always packed with people. It would be a miracle if any of Philly’s lines were put back into service, but I know that will never happen. Especially with some of the close-minded, car loving, parking enthusiasts that live here…
      I was interested in learning more about Philly’s trolley and I stumbled upon http://www.phillytrolley.org/, which has extensive information about their history. There are actually some great pictures of them riding through South Philly back in the late 80s. Apparently trolleys ran along Passyunk Ave too!


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