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Let’s talk about traffic around 10th Street

Artblog friend, Edward Gruberg, writes a reasoned and elucidating essay on the impact on health and safety of the proposed 76ers Arena. Did you realize there is a Fire station on 10th St.? Or, how about the Hospital ER, also on 10th St.? Both of those safety and health providers would have big trouble -- lives might be lost -- serving people in an emergency, if it happened when there's a mass exodus of cars after a sports event and traffic is immobilized. No one has talked about the Fire Station or the Hospital in discussions of the arena, that we know of, which is shocking. Edward lays out the neighborhood maps and says when cars leave the area en masse after a sporting event, "They will leave the emergency room inaccessible and the fire station blockaded for critical periods of time. They will mess up Chinatown and Washington Square West." Read this essay and get in touch with your city council person to share your opinion.

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ESSAY BY EDWARD GRUBERG, PhD

A graphic of a map of downtown Philadelphia showing the locations of a Fire station on 10th St. in the Chinatown neighborhood and a Hospital Emergency Room nearby also on 10th Street, both of which would be impacted if a sports arena was built between 11th and 9th Streets, as is proposed, increasing traffic and disruption to the entire area shown on the map.
Map 1. Edward Gruberg

Dear Friends of No Arena,
For good reason, the Sixers have yet to unveil their analysis of traffic and parking. Let’s help them out. I have drawn maps of the Center City area around Chinatown and the maps extend into the Washington Square West neighborhood. The maps run east/west from 7th St. to 16th St. And north/south from Callowhill to Locust.

On the first map you can see two essential structures that the Sixers and their planners have conveniently not talked about. At the corner of 10th and Cherry there is a fire station (F) complete with fire trucks and hooks and ladders and an EMS contingent. Walk a few blocks south on 10th street past the Chinatown Gate, there is another essential structure, the Emergency Room of Jefferson Hospital (E). The fire station and the emergency room are so important that they are open 24/7 all year round. They never close. For each, timing is critical. You don’t want to impede fire trucks and ambulances to get to fires and to treat and transport patients. Conversely, people with medical emergencies need to get to the ER as quickly as possible.

A graphic of a map in Philadelphia showing the location of a proposed sports arena between 11th St. and 9th St., very close to a Fire station on 10th St. in the Chinatown neighborhood and a Hospital Emergency Room nearby also on 10th Street. Both the Fire station and the ER Room would be negatively impacted if a sports arena was built between 11th and 9th Streets, increasing traffic and disruption to the entire area shown on the map.
Map 2. Edward Gruberg

So what have the Sixers done? Proposed to build an arena between the fire station and the emergency room.

If you want to mess up access to both critical institutions you would propose building an arena at 10th and Market. It is hard to decide whether the billionaire owners and their hired hands are naturally ignorant or they have to practice. Or they just don’t care. Nonetheless, the location of the proposed arena is a health and safety menace. Instead, they try to distract by talking about the Fashion District. Ugh.

 graphic of a map in Philadelphia showing the location of a proposed sports arena between 11th St. and 9th St., and the increased traffic to the neighborhood during a sports or other event at the arena. The Fire station on 10th St. in the Chinatown neighborhood and the Jefferson Hospital Emergency Room also on 10th Street would be negatively impacted if a sports arena was built in the proposed area, increasing traffic and disruption to the entire area shown on the map.
Map 3. Edward Gruberg

For the third map, I have superimposed with red lines the spread of vehicles going to a Sixers game. I have used the Sixers own proposed Pollyana number of 3,700 vehicles. The vehicles have to be shoe-horned into a small space of narrow streets that are already congested. When you line them up that’s about 14 miles of vehicles (5 cars take up about 100 feet; 50 cars take up 1,000 feet; 500 cars take up 10,000 feet; you can check the math yourself). The Sixers suggest that only 30% of people will come by vehicle. There is likely to be many more cars actually coming to a sold-out game. At Philadelphia sports venues most (about 75%) fans come from the suburbs and they come by car. For the proposed arena, fans will all be trying to get to the arena before tip-off time. And they will all leave when the game is over. It is more likely that there will be 20 miles of cars converging on the area around the arena.

They will leave the emergency room inaccessible and the fire station blockaded for critical periods of time. They will mess up Chinatown and Washington Square West. For what reason? So the billionaires, who haven’t done a critical analysis, can get their way. Shame on them.

Finally, the Sixers have presented the proposed arena as all or nothing. Here at 10th and Market or nowhere else. Look at all the construction jobs that will be given up. That is just silly.

The Phillies looked into a downtown stadium in 1999. It didn’t work for them and they built Citizens Bank Park at the sports complex in South Philly. It has worked out well.

The Sixers can and should find a better location. The maps don’t lie.

Edward Gruberg, Ph.D.
Professor emeritus,
College of Science and Technology
Temple University

Photos Courtesy of No Arena Washington Square West

People march, holding up protest signs in opposition to a sports arena proposed for downtown Philadelphia that would negatively impact nearby Chinatown and Washington West neighborhoods.
Citywide No Arena march in June,2023, which drew more than 3,500 people to the streets. Photo by Joe Piette, with permission
Artblog No Arena Essay 2 19 music video 3 CREDIT JOE PIETTE
Photo from a music video shoot.  Photo by Joe Piette, with permission

No More Wrecking Balls Music Video

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