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I think 5th and Titan are right on this one. I live not far from Queen Village, a couple blocks west of the Italian Market on Christian. I work at Drexel so I don't drive (I just take the subway every day - and I have limited experience with regional rail but the subway/trolley system has been generally very good...certainly nowhere near as big a nightmare as Metro is), but whenever I am in a car heading to 95, I can be on I-95S in 5 minutes and Wilmington probably in 45 or so, assuming you're working normal hours and will generally be going against traffic. The Schuylkill is terrifying, if for no other reason than the short merges and lack of a shoulder. I'd rather walk to the airport than merge onto the Schuylkill at any of the Center City exits at any time of day.
As for the area around Drexel, it's getting built up a lot more over the next couple of years. If you're not looking for someplace really cheap, there are (or will be) several very nice apartment buildings right in the middle of the campus area (and if you're not familiar, Penn is literally right next to Drexel). Domus and the Left Bank come to mind, and I think they're building a new one on Chestnut (though that might be all student housing). Generally speaking, above 40th or 41st Street is a little sketchy, but the neighborhood just north of Drexel is nice. Also on the southern end of University City, near Chester Street, the nice area extends out to 46th or so, around Clark Park.
Here's one data point: I left from the West Chester area towards the city at 6AM today. Traffic was moving fine (speed limit) but looked like it was about to start getting heavy fairly soon.
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