On Monday, retail writer Suzette Parmley reported that Suburban Station will undergo its first upgrade in 15 years. Suburban Station is the city’s busiest transit hub, where all main Pennsylvania rail transit lines converge, including Regional Rail, the Broad Street and Market-Frankford Lines, and the trolleys. The $3.75 million transformation will include a new name — Station Shops at Suburban — and a major retail reboot to install new food venues and shops.
Philly.com spent time at Suburban Station during Tuesday’s rush hour to ask commuters: What would you like to see in the revamped Suburban Station?
Plugging in is important to commuters, says Dante Carter, assistant manager at Philly Team Store, a pop-up sports gear shop currently in the Station. He suggests charging stations and free wifi for the entire station. And when it comes to food, he’s got specifics: “I would like to see a Honeygrow or some type of vegan restaurant.”
Erica March, who works in an office above the station, wants better options for her lunch break and suggests a sushi restaurant. “I’d also be interested in accessories stores, not necessarily clothes. Scarves, purses, sunglasses,” she says, noting that the current shopping options at Suburban aren’t very appealing. “I wouldn’t shop for clothes here.”
Lenny Haberman, an attorney, who commutes to Center City daily from Newtown Square, hopes for family-owned businesses rather than the chains that dominate the current retail space in the station. “I don’t think there are many people who leave their house and say, ‘I’d sure like to give a dollar bill to Olive Garden today, or to Barnes and Noble, or to Wal-mart, because I’d really like to support this international conglomerate,’” he says. “I think, if given the choice, people would like to give their dollar bill to a store or shop or restaurant that’s owned by a human being or a family.” He’d specifically like to see a well-curated book shop that hosts events and discussions about books.
“I’m a street performer. I play the violin. So I think there should be more spots for performers,” says Blair Kidd, a West Chester University student, who commutes through Suburban several times a week and plays in the station every weekend.
Are you one of the roughly 100,000 commuters who come through Suburban Station each day? Join the conversation and tell us: What kinds of upgrades would you like to see?