New name for Fifth Street subway stop

The name for Fifth Street's subway stop got longer but more descriptive at a ceremony Thursday.

The Market-Frankford Line stop is now called Fifth Street Independence Hall Station. The change highlights the stop as a gateway to some of Philadelphia's most famous landmarks and makes using the subway easier for tourists unfamiliar with the city, officials said.

"Naming this station will make public transit even more embedded in our city," said Mayor Kenney.

SEPTA will be updating its station maps to reflect the change in the near future, said Jeff Knueppel, the authority's general manager.

The renaming is part of a more ambitious beautification plan for the station and the corner of Fifth and Market Streets. SEPTA is seeking a federal transportation grant to provide $7.8 million for a nearly $20 million renovation that will improve disabled access to the station, and add bike racks and cobblestones and bus lanes to the intersection.

Plans include glass canopies over the stairways leading into the station and remodeled platforms that include brick facades to give the station a Colonial-style accent. SEPTA applied for the grant last year, but wasn't among the winners. SEPTA is seeking the grant money again this year.

The federal funding, a Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery grant, is highly competitive, with 585 applicants seeking a piece of the $550 million available.

Riders board and depart trains at Fifth Street about 3,300 times a day, officials said. If bus passengers are included, there are 59,000 trips each day that begin or end there.

"We can now point to Fifth Street Independence Hall Station as a hub for travel to and from America's birthplace," said Pasquale Deon, chairman of SEPTA's board.

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