The university has announced a change in housing and transportation that will affect on- and off-campus students beginning next semester.
Not only will the Franklin House and the Kardon building no longer serve as off-campus university-sponsored housing options for students, but the Franklin House shuttle will not be offered after the end of this semester.
The Franklin House currently is home to more than 160 students, but an announcement last month that the Best Western Center City Hotel – where the Franklin House is located – would be renovated to accommodate a 47-story condo forced the university to make a decision about the future of the university’s housing plan.
According to a memo from Ainsley Carry, associate vice president and dean of students, because of the discontinuation of housing at the Franklin House, 458 students will be provided university-sponsored housing at The Edge, the apartment complex being built on the corner of Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue.
In an interview, Carry said that the university had been considering removing students from the Franklin House complex for some time.
“Franklin House is one of the properties that is very far from campus. One of our desires, as a university, is to bring students closer to campus, create housing opportunities for students closer to campus,” Carry said. “Parents feel better about students living closer to campus, and we can ensure a higher level of safety when students live closer to campus.”
The two-year contract that the university had to lease apartments in the Franklin House for university students is ending this year, according to Carry.
“We thought that with the possibility of Franklin House not being available in the future, and with the possibility of The Edge coming on line, this was a good opportunity for us to look at The Edge as a space that we could possibly house some students in,” Carry said.
The announcement that the Franklin House shuttle service, which both residents of the Franklin House as well as Temple students and faculty who live in the Art Museum area use, will be discontinued at the end of the semester angered some students who ride the shuttle almost daily.
Alison Lamory, a sophomore political science major who lives at 22d and Mount Vernon streets, said she uses the service nearly every day.
“I think it’s probably the best service Temple offers,” Lamory said. “It’s really beneficial to students, and the university spends a lot of money on things that probably aren’t as beneficial to students.”
Students who live in Park Town Place and Park Way apartments near the Ben Franklin Parkway also use the shuttle regularly to get to campus. Valerie Emig, a junior elementary education major who lives in Park Town Place, said that she and her roommate chose the apartment because of access to the shuttle service.
“It’s really going to inconvenience us,” Emig said. “We don’t have cars here. It’s so inconvenient. Plus, parking is so expensive.”
Carry said that when the Franklin House shuttle was established, the only responsibility the university had was to provide transportation to students were placed in the Franklin House.
“Now that that lease is no longer in existence, we’re no longer providing that service from Franklin House,” Carry said.
Carry said students, faculty and staff, and other Philadelphia residents often use the Franklin House shuttle to get a free ride to campus.
“The intention of the shuttle was not to replace the city of Philadelphia bus transportation system,” Carry said. “The intention of the shuttle was to provide transportation for students living in Franklin House. Since we no longer have students living there, we no longer provide that shuttle.”
Thomas Dinardo, a director of facilities management, said that the university and facilities management are now looking at “the whole picture” to decide what the next step will be, including possibly increasing the Broad Street shuttle service.
“Maybe the Broad Street line will be of service to them, if they want to walk to Broad Street,” Dinardo said.
According to Carry, there are no plans in the works to continue the Franklin House shuttle service after the end of the semester.
“We encourage students and everyone else who was kind of hopping on to use the Philadelphia transportation system,” Carry said. “And, if they could get to Broad Street, we still have the Broad Street shuttle that goes up and down to all of the Temple campuses.”
Dinardo said that there is a difference between students who live in Franklin House using the shuttle, and students and faculty who only live around the area and use the shuttle.
“Obviously, we have students living everywhere, students in Old City, students in Chinatown, and we don’t provide transportation to them,” Dinardo said.
“We’re not going to supplement Philadelphia transportation. We’re not going to supplement SEPTA,” Carry said. “That’s not our role or responsibility as an institution – it’s for the students that we place there.”
Senior nursing major Marissa Welsh, who lives at 24th Street and Fairmount Avenue, said that the only option she would have without the shuttle service is public transportation.
“It’s just such a huge expense,” Welsh said. “This is such a great thing to have.”
Welsh, who has one more semester at Temple before graduation, said she would rather use the university-provided shuttle services than public transportation when she is on campus late at night.
“It makes me feel safer, because it’s on campus and it’s well-lit.”
The university’s leasing agreement with the Kardon building also ended this year.
Carry said that it was the decision of the apartment management to end their agreement with the university.
“They’ve decided to go ahead and lease the spaces on their own,” Carry said. “So, university students still have access to it, it’s just not spaces that we control.”
Emily Catalano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.