City concourse gets a breath of fresh air
Warren of tunnels is now scrubbed daily.
By Joseph A. Slobodzian
Inquirer Staff Writer
As a sensory experience, few things can match Philadelphia's Sherwood Forest in August.
For the uninitiated, Sherwood Forest is what police and public works crews call part of the concourse below 15th Street linking Suburban Station with tunnels to City Hall, the Municipal Services Building, and the Broad Street Subway.
It's a copse of concrete columns inhabited not by Robin Hood's Merry Men but by a band of homeless people seeking shelter from the elements. And in August, when Philly's temperature and humidity soar, the pungent odor of urine-soaked concrete is unforgettable.
But help is here.
The Center City District, the privately funded organization created to improve cleanliness, safety and the quality of life downtown, has begun tackling the quality of life below ground along 31/2 miles of corridors connecting the subways, Market East Station and the Gallery, Suburban Station, and much of South Broad Street's Avenue of the Arts.
For the first time, at least in anyone's memory, crews are cleaning the concourses 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.