Don't let mobs crush North Broad revival

In June 2009, Philadelphia police kept a heavy presence on South Street after a blitz of young people to the area. ( John Costello/File)

Nothing will stall the North Broad Street renaissance faster than a repeat of the violence that hit Saturday night when a mob of teens wantonly attacked pedestrians, breaking one woman’s leg and leaving several others injured.

Similar attacks occurred later in Center City. The fact that the North Broad assaults took place so early, around 9:30 p.m., and near soon-to-open loft apartments and night spots should be a serious concern to police and Mayor Nutter’s commerce aides.

Yet, the stretch of Broad between Spring Garden Street and Fairmount Avenue has a great deal of promise, as evidenced by the success of lofts that are fully occupied as well as Marc Vetri’s popular restaurant, Osteria.

With the addition of two more eateries by Vetri and Stephen Starr, and a ballroom and catering facility by Joe Volpe at the old Wilkie dealership, the prospects look even better. Another 98 loft apartments to open at 15th and Mount Vernon Streets will swell the nearby residential population.

Several North Broad projects have benefited from sizable government investments, so the public has an even bigger stake in assuring that the emerging corridor is perceived to be safe.

Patrons for these businesses will have ample alternatives elsewhere in the city, should they come to doubt the Police Department’s ability to adequately patrol the North Broad area.

Having arrested several suspects in the downtown attacks, police now need to consider what redeployment steps can be taken to establish a greater presence on North Broad and any other trouble spot, especially during summer.

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