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Vibrant light display brightens dreary Spring Garden El underpass

As Hanukkah -- the Jewish Festival of Lights -- got underway this week, Philadelphians riders jumping on and off the Market Street El at Spring Garden Street experienced a different type of light show.

Last week, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) installed its Spring Garden Connector Project, which aims to brighten the historically dreary I-95 and El underpass between North Second Street and North Front Street.

The multi-colored light installation, which cost $2.4 million, was developed to improve the dank underpass that connects Northern Liberties to the Delaware River waterfront, according to the DRWC.

The group is hoping the installation will also serve as a gateway to Northern Liberties for both pedestrians and motorists traveling at night.

While some travelers Tuesday night remarked that the lights were aesthetically pleasing, others were skeptical that the artistic lighting would be enough to deter crime.

The lighting is another piece of the DRWC's efforts to make the waterfront more accessible and pedestrian-friendly.  Similar streetscape improvements have been made to piers along the river and to other underpasses that connect Delaware Avenue to Center City.

Tom Corcoran, president of the DRWC, said in a news release that the goal of these public improvement projects is to "activate and catalyze private investment around" the improved areas.