Philadelphia Zoo unveils new parking garage

April 5, 2013 3:11:38 PM PDT
Hunting for a parking spot just got a bit easier at the Philadelphia Zoo.

Zoo officials unveiled the new four-story parking garage Friday morning - and the timing was perfect.

It's that time of year again when kids flock to the Philadelphia Zoo by the bus load.

Eight-year-old Albany from Delaware loves her yearly trip. "You get to meet the animals you've never seen in the world," she told Action News.

Some parents, like Tannia Schrieber of Wynnewood, Pa., come every week.

That's why the ribbon cutting held Friday for the Centennial District Intermodal Transportation Center is music to parents' ears.

It includes spaces for 683 vehicles, plus new traffic signals, bus pull-off areas and pedestrian crosswalks.

Parents say as much as they love it here, getting here can be a hassle.

Just last week, Chopper 6 HD captured a major zoo traffic backup.

"All of these improvements will ease traffic flow, create a more sustainable landscape and create an increase in parking capacity," said the chairman of the zoo's board of directors, Jay Calvert.

"A five-minute getting in and out of your car to the front gate would be fantastic," said Tannia Schreiber.

Philadelphia Zoo President and C.E.O. Vikram Dewan unveiled the project Friday along with board members and lawmakers.

"It's going to be a very busy year for us," Dewan said.

Friday's unveiling also coincides with next week's opening of KidZooU, an exhibit that is expected to draw tons of people - especially since over the past four years the zoo has seen record attendance.

But there is more to this than parking and traffic.

Trees planted here will grow food that zoo animals will actually eat. While building this, the environment was a top priority.

"Today we have a younger generation interested in issues of nature," said Dewan, "and sustainability of the planet."