Friday, February 13, 2009
Our team ventured into Fishtown on Monday to see how the locals get around. By far, most Fishtowners use the recently restored Route 15 trolley line, which runs along Girard Avenue through North and West Philadelphia and directly through the heart of Fishtown.
Route 15 first opened in 1859 as a horse-drawn line operated by the Richmond and Schuylkill River Passenger Railway. It was electrified in 1895 and used streetcars until 1992 when they were replaced by busses due to a deteriorating trolley fleet. Then in 2005, SEPTA reintroduced the rail system with refurbished 1947 Presidential Conference Committee streetcars, painted in their traditional green and cream colors.
While walking along Girard Avenue, we noticed that the Route 15 trolley ran pretty frequently, even during off-peak hours. We talked to many Fishtown residents who are regulars on the trolley. Most agreed that the service of the Route 15 is outstanding. They said it is extremely convenient and takes them wherever they need to go - home, work, school, the grocery store, etc. - whenever they need to go. And all of them agreed that the historic PCC II cars are far more attractive that SEPTA's typical trolleys and buses. Gary Preston, life-long resident of Fishtown and owner of Les 'n' Doreen's Happy Tap on East Susquehanna Avenue, called them streetcars named desire.
However, while most Fishtowners were happy to brag about the streetcars that run through their neighborhood, it was difficult to get many to agree to give an interview on camera. We joked that as soon as Brian (our team's broadcast major) took out his camera, everyone went running in the opposite direction. Eventually we were able to interview enough residents - on camera - to get a sense of how Fishtowners like the Route 15 trolleys. Of all the residents we spoke to, only one disliked the service. Greg McClausa, who has lived in Fishtown all his life, said that he has to wait a while for a trolley to come whenever he uses the Route 15.
Group 7: Katie Dirkx, Brian Gatti and Katie Hutton
Posted by Katie Hutton at 11:42 AM