November 01, 2022
Reading Terminal Market's long-awaited expansion onto Filbert Street has finally been completed, creating a new public space in Center City for dining, shopping and cultural events.
The $1.5 million project, first announced in 2019, brings 15,000 square feet of multi-purpose space to the 1100 block of Filbert St., on the southeast side of the market. The widened, "curbless" space puts sidewalks and car lanes at equal height to the rest of the block.
Delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, construction on the streetscape project began earlier this year and was completed this month. A grand opening event on Tuesday morning featured a performance from the Quaker City String Band, a Mummers Parade mainstay.
The project on Filbert Street involved widening the sidewalk and improving access to public transportation, with more parking flexibility along the block. About 70% of visitors to Reading Terminal Market arrive by public transit, making easier access a priority for the new design. Those who arrive by car will be able to stop at one of several passenger loading and unloading stations for rideshares.
The new, traffic-calming layout will allow for increased dining capacity, pop-up retail kiosks, public art exhibitions and outdoor programming curated by Reading Terminal Market. In addition to the market's indoor seating, there are now high-top tables and other seating options on the widened sidewalk.
"As a cornerstone of the Philadelphia community and a diverse, welcoming hub for our city, providing a safe, engaging outdoor experience in addition to the extensive options indoors is critical," Annie Allman, CEO of Reading Terminal Market, said in June.
The project was funded by grants from the William Penn Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Multi-Modal Transportation Fund and the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority.
Reading Terminal Market is the nation's oldest, continuously-running farmer's market, voted best in the country by USA Today readers earlier this year.
It opened in 1893 in the space below the elevated train shed of the Reading Railroad Company, at 12th and Arch streets, and survived through lean economic times as a centralized bazaar for groceries, fresh food and other goods. The market today has more than 75 vendors, including iconic Philadelphia merchants such as DiNic's and Bassett's Ice Cream.
In February, the market will celebrate its 130th anniversary with a party including food and live entertainment.