One in a continuing series spotlighting real estate markets in the region's communities.
They call it the "Beep-Beep Tunnel," and when you come across it as you make your way through Glenolden Park on your walk to MacDade Boulevard, you'll immediately know why.
On either side of the one-lane tunnel that takes West Knowles Avenue under the CSX rail bed, motorists must stop and honk their horns to determine that no cars are starting in from the other side.
Glenolden Borough Council President Thomas Danzi said that while residents are fond of "Beep-Beep," the tunnel always posed a danger to children walking back and forth to the local elementary school.
"We kept asking CSX to do something about it, but they claimed it would be too expensive, so we got grant money and borrowed some, and, three years ago, built a pedestrian tunnel" that ended the danger for schoolchildren, Danzi says.
It cost the borough $3 million, but "CSX said widening the old tunnel would have cost $10 million," he says.
Roads, rails and the meandering Muckinapattis Creek define the geography of this one-square-mile Delaware County town, making it all the more interesting and a pleasant place to live.
SEPTA's Wilmington Line, which stops at Glenolden station and shares Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, is a big plus for home buyers looking for an easy train commute.
Glenolden has more of Chester Pike and MacDade Boulevard than any other community, but that fact makes the borough easily accessible to and from other parts of the region, including Philadelphia International Airport.
One block either side of the pike or the boulevard, prospective buyers will find a treasure-trove of homes of all sizes, styles and affordable prices.
"The housing in Glenolden covers a lot of tastes and needs," says Neva Jenkins, an agent with Coldwell Banker Preferred in Media, who grew up here and coaches swimming at Interboro High.
"There also are plenty of older homes being renovated, which is good for the market," Jenkins says.
Prices for active listings range from $35,000 for a condo to $219,000 for a single-family detached house, according to Jenkins.
That doesn't completely cover it, though, because there is a single-family home for sale for $70,000, and a single under contract for $229,000, Jenkins says.
The highest sale price of the 36 houses that closed in the last six months was $209,000, she says.
Glenolden suffered through the real estate downturn, as did just about every other community in the region, "but the fact that there are 15 pending sales right now is a good sign," she says.
Danzi, who has owned Suburban Collision Specialists on Chester Pike for 35 years, was born in Clifton Heights and has lived in Glenolden for the last 15 years. One of his grown sons lives here, as well.
"I like to call Glenolden 'the Main Line of Chester Pike,' " he says, even though it annoys officials of adjacent communities.
"It is a tight-knit community, blue-collar people living in an upscale area, who continue to be drawn here because of the school district," Danzi says, adding that "Interboro faces many challenges, as do all districts, and that is a point of concern."
Taxes, which are always a talking point in Delaware County, "have been pretty good as far as the borough is concerned, since we haven't had to raise them in a couple of years," Danzi says, adding that he couldn't promise they wouldn't be raised.
School taxes are high, he acknowledges.
A big worry is the growing number of older residents who cannot afford to maintain their homes, Danzi says.
"Keeping properties up to building code is important because as houses start to deteriorate, property values fall," he says.
The code enforcement officer "could write tickets all day, but we try to be understanding and we encourage residents to do their best to keep them up," Danzi says.
Among Glenolden's positives, Jenkins says, are its well-maintained parks and streets, a host of family-owned businesses, the public library, and "the fact I can go back to the neighborhood I grew up in and everyone still knows me."
"It is a community filled with a lot of pride," she says.
Population: 7,162 (2013)
Median household income: $49,343 (2012)
Area: One square mile
Settlements in the last three months: 15
Homes for sale: 36
Average days on market: 77
Median sale price: $125,000
Housing stock: 3,198 units, all sizes and styles, from late 19th century to present.
School district: Interboro
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau; City-Data.com; Neva Jenkins, Coldwell Banker Preferred, Media; Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors HomExpert Market ReportEndText