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  • Writer's pictureNice Guy Realty

Could the I-95 collapse impact real estate in Philadelphia?

In Philadelphia, a disaster is declared as crews organize to repair the bridge collapse on RT I-95. Commuters and supply chains from Boston to Washington DC have been disrupted. Local traffic patterns are changing. The economic impact is immeasurable, for now.

News outlets are reporting on how this road collapse will impact the quality of cheesesteaks in the region. This staple food, and Philadelphians’ main source of nutrition, relies on daily bread deliveries. For me this is devastating. Will wooder ice be the next casualty? Pretzels?

Fresh rolls being diverted from I-95 on their way to your favorite deli.

What does all of this have to do with real estate? Your wiz-wit-jawn-sandwich may not be as fresh, but that shouldn’t make too many waves in the real estate market. Road closures and detours will. Let’s dive in.

Pennsylvania is known as The Keystone State. What this means is, we hold shit together here. Pennsylvania's geographic location places it at the crossroads of major transportation routes, including Interstate 95. These highways intersect within Pennsylvania, anchoring its importance as a transportation hub and facilitating travel and commerce between Washington, D.C., and New York City. This makes Philadelphia an attractive city for commuters and businesses alike. Because of the closure, some detours are estimated to be 40 miles long and include up to 60 more stoplights and intersections.

Just as PA is known as The Keystone State, Philadelphia is known as The City of Neighborhoods. Residents identify strongly with their neighborhoods and consider them an essential part of their personal identity. As a working-class city, residents live in areas where they have easy access to transportation. Many Philadelphians leave their neighborhood only to get on the highway, go to work, then come right back home. Or to head 'down the shore' or 'up the mountains'.

This road closure will impact traffic patterns, forcing people to find alternate routes. While driving through adjacent neighborhoods, commuters will see new sights. Parks, cafes, restaurants, other people. They will notice things... new jawns. Each neighborhood in Philadelphia has its own distinct characteristics, such as architectural styles, landmarks, parks, and local businesses.

Neighborhoods are known for their vibrant art, or recognized for their culinary offerings and historic sites. Detours will create opportunities for the mundane, bored commuter, to experience new and different parts of the city.

Police directing a new traffic pattern through the Tacony section of Philadelphia

Think about Tacony and Torresdale. Then Mayfair, Rhawnhurst and Oxford Circle. Have you ever thought about them? We often zip past these areas on I-95, without even knowing they exist. Now, more people will be passing through, seeing characteristics of the north east that would have gone unnoticed.

The housing stock in NE Philly is unique and incredible. Drivers will be scratching their heads saying, “People have front lawns in Philadelphia?!?” The added attention will bring eyes to the small businesses here. Travelers regularly detour for gas or lunch. The now forced detours in this area will bring new money to the small businesses who are thriving here. Rituals will change over the coming months. Many people will find their new favorite pizza joint, their new favorite hoagie shop, and maybe even their new favorite neighborhood.

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