The City of Philadelphia (Broad St/Old York Road)

File:PA-611.svg - Wikipedia

Broad Street has a mix of classic and modern signal equipment, some of the signals are original, with some Poles Inc era mast-arm signals still in place that were installed as part of the TOPICS project, while the other portion of the route was redone in 2009 (Every intersection between and Glenwood Avenue and Grange Avenue), and all the TOPICS project Poles Inc installs were replaced with Peeks on brown mast-arms.

First, we have a rather classic Poles Inc era intersection, with some 12″ Eagle flatbacks (the garden variety choice of signal back when these were installed). Nothing specials about this intersection here, originally there were two 12″ Eagle signals mounted on the side of the mast-arm, but one of them got replaced with an 8″ McCain sometime after the turn of the century. This is at the corner of Broad Street at Nedro Avenue:

The opposite side of the intersection (facing the southbound corner of Broad Street, has an Eagle flatback with improperly inserted LED modules). The side-mounted signals were originally both Eagles as well, but also got replaced with some aluminum McCains with tunnel visors. The LED modules are Gxr11s.

Next intersection up, has an extremely rare gem, probably the oldest signal in the main part of the city. If you want to be technical, the oldest signals in the entire city are the pedestal mounted Art Decos on Kitty Hawk Avenue in the Naval Base. Here is a New Old Stock 12″ Marbelite type L traffic signal mounted at the intersection of Broad Street and Champlost Avenue. Not too much is known about this signal, all I know is that it was a prototype of the last generation 12″ head that Marbelite made before they went out of business. This signal, is still in relatively good shape…..and has Eagle visors for some reason, and since the visors are a different color than the rest of the housing, it’s likely that they’re not original to the signal. The only other type L that I’m aware of, is the one in Pittsburgh. This is one of the most uncommon signals that could ever be spotted, and I could probably count on one hand how many of these existed. Another thing that stands out about this type L signal is that each section is finned, with the body possesses a distinctive slight bugle shape. Yeah, it has LEDs, but I’m thankful that I was able to document such a rare gem!

At the intersection of Broad Street at Chelten Avenue, we have a mix of classic and modern signals. The mast-arm facing the northbound part of Broad Street has the original Poles Inc era specs, while the other mast-arm was added in 2019, which was the result of an emergency replacement. The overhead signal on the old Poles Inc mast-arm is a Highway Signal & Sign Co., with the side-mounted signal being an Eagle flatback paired up with a McCain, while the signals on the newer mast-arm are an ovehead McCain, an 12″ Econolite, and a recycled Mark IV.

The next intersection over, Broad Street at 65th Avemue, has a some square-door Econolite Bullseyes (which are not commonly seen in the eastern side of Pennsylvania, despite being once common in Philadelphia at the time these were installed). The two side mounted 12″ signals are a Crouse-Hinds type R and a Crouse-Hinds type M.

On the section connected to this, which is Old York Road and 66th Avenue, are a pair of 12″ Crouse-Hinds type Rs, with a Crouse-Hinds type M mounted on the side:

A few signals mounted where Broad Street merges out of PA 611 and becomes Old York Road in Philadelphia, PA. The McCains facing the southbound end of PA 611 replaced some Eagles, while the McCains facing the northbound end of Broad Street (the part not signed off as PA 611) replaced some Crouse-Hinds type Ms, these were added in 2014, when the Philadelphia Streets Department decided to touch ups on a few intersections along Broad Street. Like the previous intersection the original Poles Inc era mast-arms remain in place. The other signals include a couple of Eagle Siemens heads, and a McCain doghouse.

At Broad Street and 68th Avenue are more Poles Inc era installs, with a majority of the signals being 12″ Eagle flatbacks, one of them being paired with an 8″ Crouse-Hinds type R, and older 8″ signals are very uncommon in Philadelphia.

The next intersection over has some more Eagle flatbacks and an 8″ type R, Broad Street at 69th Avenue:

The next intersection over has some McCain pedestrian signals guarding the pedestrians, instead of 8″ signals, like before a mix of signals, these include Econolite, Mark IV, McCain, and Eagle flatbacks. The Eagles are original to the intersection along with the Poles Inc mast-arms:

And some more Eagle flatbacks at the intersection of Broad Street at 71st Avenue (these were installed back when the city was mostly flatback). There’s also a brand new Econolite 8″ signal, with a pair of aluminum McCain pedestrian heads:

Now back to Old York Road (that’s now singed off as PA 611), at the intersection of Old York Road and 68th Avenue, we have some non-flatback Poles Inc era throwback Philly signals thrown in the mix, an overhead 12″ Crouse-Hinds type M facing the northbound side of PA 611, with a pair of last-generation parallelogram logo 12″ Marbelites, on the opposite side of the intersection, we have a garden variety Eagle flatback, with a Marbelite and a Highway Signal & Sign Co on the side:

The next intersection is not too different, with a few more Poles Inc era signals, a Marbelite facing the northbound end of PA 611, an Eagle flatback facing the soutbound end, with a Highway Signal Sign Co, and YET ANTOHER Eagle mounted next to it, and more Eagles flatbacks side-mounted on the opposite end of the intersection! Yeah, Philly abused flatbacks to death back when these were installed. Here are some close-up shots of the 1970’s Parallelogram logo Marbelite in this intersection:

2 thoughts on “The City of Philadelphia (Broad St/Old York Road)

  1. These old signals are a testament to just how tough, safe, reliable, and long lasting these lights truly are. With proper maintenance these signals could last for several more decades with no trouble. Just clean the mast arms and occasionally upgrade the controller and your good to go. That would be way more cost effective in the long run as well, considering the cost of new signals, poles, and controllers.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s