SEPTA Regional Rail Strike Begins; Corbett To Seek Federal Help

SEPTA logo with text

SEPTA logo with text (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SEPTA railroad engineers and electrical workers went on strike early Saturday, halting commuter rail service in the Philadelphia region, after last-ditch efforts by federal mediators failed to break an impasse in the long-running labor dispute.

The strike shut down 13 Regional Rail lines that provide 60,000 passengers with 126,000 rides on a typical weekday. That promised to snarl already clogged highways with additional cars and to hamper commuters and their employers throughout the region.

Service on SEPTA’s buses, subways, trolleys and the Norristown High-Speed Line – which carry about 85 percent of SEPTA’s riders – were not affected.

Gov. Corbett was prepared to ask President Obama to quickly appoint a presidential emergency board to mediate the rail labor dispute. Under federal railroad law, the creation of such a board would compel the workers to return to the job for 240 days.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20140614_Last-ditch_talks_pending_as_Regional_Rail_strike_looms.html#v26c8poq4F1xhoJB.99

SEPTA Aims For Happier Riders, Unveils 5-Year Plan

SEPTA logo

SEPTA logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With increased state funding and stable ridership, SEPTA officials are unveiling a five-year plan to attract more riders, repair crumbling infrastructure, and improve customer satisfaction.

Having emerged from last year’s doomsday scenarios into a hopeful era of what SEPTA planners call “innovation, integration and renewal,” the officials on Tuesday outlined a blueprint for the future that will be presented to the agency’s board for approval in July.

Meeting with transit users and supporters at SEPTA’s Center City headquarters, Byron Comati, director of strategic planning, said legislative approval late last year of a $2.3 billion boost in statewide transportation funding allows SEPTA to plan more boldly.

By 2018, the additional state funding will mean a boost of about $400 million annually for SEPTA to repair bridges, buy new vehicles and upgrade stations and equipment.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20140521_SEPTA_aims_for_happier_riders__unveils_5-year_plan.html#erJVxPXXeAuIyUU6.99

Enhanced by Zemanta

Widespread Flooding Submerges Cars, Causes Major Commute Problems

The logo of the United States National Weather...

The logo of the United States National Weather Service. The source page states that is not an “official” version but it looks very close to the version used on NWS’s website. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rain that pounded the Philadelphia region last night and into this morning left widespread flooding that stranded motorists and caused the shutdown of major routes from the western suburbs to South Jersey.

The National Weather Service said around 5 inches fell in most parts of the area, with some places seeing a bit more, such as the 6.56 inches recorded in Spring City, Chester County.

A weather service flood warning is in effect until 12:45 p.m. Authorities are warning that the flood situation is dangerous in many areas as motorists continued to underestimate the severity. Rescue crews were busy throughout the night rescuing stranded drivers.

Even though the flooding had started to recede, crews were still busy rescuing people this morning.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Widespread_flooding_submerges_cars_causes_major_commute_problems.html#mqwogWXh5swhAXoc.99

Enhanced by Zemanta

Elevated Park On Rail Viaduct Finally Firming Up In Philly

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Neighborhood volunteers first began cultivating the idea of converting the ruins of the Reading Viaduct into Philadelphia’s own elevated park more than a decade ago.

After years of organizing, raising money, and drafting proposals, their efforts – and those of the politicians and professional planners who joined the cause – finally appear ready to bear fruit. Without fanfare, the city and the state have included millions of dollars in their latest budgets toward the first phase of the project: transforming the quarter-mile railroad “spur” that curves through the city’s burgeoning Loft District and dead-ends onto North Broad Street.

Turning that section into a park with stunning Center City views is just a small part of the overall vision to “green” abandoned railroad infrastructure, transforming foreboding eyesores into amenities.

A larger, 4/5-mile section of the viaduct stretches with fortresslike walls from Fairmount Avenue to Vine Street. Across Broad, the old railroad line drops below street level, running through a subterranean channel from the former Inquirer and Daily News building to Fairmount Park at Girard Avenue.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140406_Elevated_park_on_rail_viaduct_finally_firming_up.html#Uh2WhMLXCYwVcP2B.99

Enhanced by Zemanta

Mass Transit Ridership In 2013 Highest In 57 Years

Ridership on buses, trains and subways in 2013 was the highest in 57 years, the American Public Transportation Association said Monday.

The growth in transit ridership continued a 20-year trend attributed to higher gasoline prices, a shift by young adults away from automobiles, increased use of mobile technology, and the increasing allure of urban areas.

“There is a fundamental shift going on in the way we move about our communities,” said APTA president Michael Melaniphy.

In 2013, riders made 10.7 billion trips on U.S. public transit systems, up 1.1 percent from 2012. That was the most since 1956.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20140311_Mass_transit_ridership_in_2013_highest_in_57_years.html#4DxdR5HbEf6VkPFv.99

Enhanced by Zemanta

Zoning Change Approved, Finally, For Franklin Mint Site

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP, PA –  A decade after the Franklin Mint closed, its round museum building still sits vacant along busy Baltimore Pike in Delaware County.

Development of the prominent property has been plagued by opposition from residents, a slow economy, and – most recently – a legal battle among the developers.

But the plan took a step forward this week when a revised zoning ordinance won approval from the Middletown Township Council. The site, with more than 170 acres, could now have 350 townhouses, offices, retail space, and a hotel.

Its completion could take years. By that time, the site could become just one piece in a transformation of the heavily traveled Route 1 through Middletown.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140301_Zoning_change_approved__finally__for_Franklin_Mint_site.html#61TJpi4ej4yS7q3Z.99

Enhanced by Zemanta

PECO: Montgomery County Ice Storm Second Worst For Power Outages Since Hurricane Sandy

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN, PA — A PECO spokesperson said they are looking into a multiple day restoration process for 67 percent of customers without power in Montgomery County.

At 1 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, 181,902 of the 302,600 PECO customers in Montgomery County are without power—not all Montgomery County residents are PECO customers— and crews are in the area trying to turn the lights back on.

“We’re looking at the second worst storm for power outages since Hurricane Sandy,” PECO Spokesperson Cathy Engel Mendez said on Wednesday.

Mendez said the most common cause of the outages have to do with tree limbs coming down on power lines.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140205/peco-montgomery-county-ice-storm-second-worst-for-power-outages-since-hurricane-sandy

Enhanced by Zemanta

Double-Decker Train Cars For SEPTA?

SEPTA logo with text

SEPTA logo with text (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Things are looking up for regional rail.

In an attempt to increase passenger capacity, SEPTA is in the early stages of considering bi-level coaches. With an upstairs and a downstairs, these coaches could transport anywhere from 120 to 170 passengers. Most important to SEPTA, they would provide an efficient remedy to booming regional rail ridership. Silverliner Vs can seat 109 passengers.

Last year alone, SEPTA passengers took 36 million regional rail trips – a record high on the system that has seen 50 percent regional rail ridership growth in the last 15 years. Now, aided by Act 89 funding, SEPTA is looking to increase its capacity and better serve those customers. One way the authority plans to do so is to build up.

“The real elegant solution to dealing with capacity issues, the most efficient one is to utilize the infrastructure you have but go up in the air with the cars so you can increase seating,” said Jeff Knueppel, deputy general manager.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/Double-decker_train_cars_for_SEPTA_.html#KFDcsf7hhy75jl8B.99

Enhanced by Zemanta

King Of Prussia Rail Project Public Meeting / Open House – January 30th!

SEPTA logo

SEPTA logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SEPTA has scheduled a Public Meeting/Open House for the King of Prussia Rail Project. The King of Prussia Rail Project will evaluate various alternative alignments to make the connection to the NHSL and destinations in King of Prussia.

Date: Thursday, January 30, 2014
Time: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Open House) | 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. (Presentations)
Location: Radisson Hotel at Valley Forge – South Ballroom 1160 First Avenue, King of Prussia, PA 19406

Meeting attendees should use the hotel entrance to reach the South Ballroom.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) welcomes your interest and participation in the King of Prussia Rail Project. Early in fall 2012, SEPTA initiated this study to evaluate an extension of the Norristown High Speed Line (NHSL) to the King of Prussia area. The NHSL currently provides service between the 69th Street Transportation Center and Norristown Transportation Center, serving the Main Line area in Delaware and Montgomery Counties, and connecting to Center City Philadelphia. While the transit system is expansive, a rail connection to the King of Prussia area is missing.

The project will evaluate various alignments to provide increased transit service to the King of Prussia area. The project need stems from deficiencies in area transit services that result in long travel times, delays due to roadway congestion, and transfers between services. In addition, there are many destinations in the King of Prussia/Valley Forge area that are underserved or currently not served by public transit.

SEPTA invites you to participate in the project development process and provide input.

Website: http://www.kingofprussiarail.com/

Enhanced by Zemanta

Storm Causes Big Problems; 1 Dead In Crash

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich http://www.flickr.com/photos/10396190@N04 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The large storm that blew through overnight – churning up high winds and causing local flooding – is causing major traffic problems early on throughout the Philadelphia regions on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

A string of crashes, one deadly, were reported through the night and into the early morning. Airports have also begun reporting delays and canceling flights due to the weather.

One person was killed in a crash shortly before 5 a.m. on the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76) at West Girard Ave., severely impacting traffic. It was not clear if weather was the main factor, but flooding was reported on the roadway prior to the crash.

Indeed, the expressway was closed eastbound and westbound at Montgomery Drive because of flooding. Police were being asked to prevent motorists from getting on at the nearby entrance ramps.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Noreasters_winds_rain_impacting_commute.html#mBMC5O16HHDpHVKp.99

Casey Calls For Subway Extension To Navy Yard

Riders board Philadelphia's Broad Street Subwa...

Riders board Philadelphia’s Broad Street Subway on the Southbound platform of City Hall Station. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WHAT DO YOU get for the corporate hot spot that seems like it has everything?

How ’bout some underground transit?

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey called yesterday for extending SEPTA’s Broad Street subway line into the Navy Yard, given the area’s dramatic rebirth as a sprawling office park that’s home to about 10,000 workers.

Casey sent a letter to Brigid Hynes-Cherin, the Federal Transportation Agency’s (FTA) regional administrator, urging her to discuss the potential project with SEPTA, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 and the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20131124_Casey_calls_for_subway_extension_to_Navy_Yard.html#mcdBvPyeYgAHg5K4.99

Officials: Transportation Will Suffer With Bill’s Defeat

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Commuter rail service is likely to be cut next year, and Pennsylvania’s highways and bridges will continue to deteriorate, transportation officials said Tuesday, following the narrow legislative defeat of a major transportation funding increase.

Most lawmakers from southeastern Pennsylvania supported the funding measure, but eight area Democrats and five Republicans voted against it. And a key supporter, Rep. Louise Bishop (D., Phila.), was out sick, the only legislator not voting on the measure, which was defeated 103-98 Monday night.

Supporters of the bill, which would have increased gas taxes and motorists’ fees to provide about $2.4 billion in additional funding, said negotiations were continuing Tuesday to try to revive the bill, which was one of Gov. Corbett’s key legislative priorities.

Republican opponents cited the increased taxes and fees as a prime reason for their “no” votes, while Democratic opponents said they objected to a provision that would have increased the prevailing-wage exemption on government construction projects, which some labor unions opposed.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20131120_Officials__Transportation_will_suffer_with_bill_s_defeat.html#QyFtCBDquPww1RMr.99

On The House: SEPTA Rail Lines Boost Suburban Home Prices, Study Finds

SEPTA logo with text

SEPTA logo with text (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Transit-oriented development is not new, especially to older metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia.

Whether in anticipation of the arrival of public transit or in its wake, homes and commercial enterprises have sprung up near rail stations, trolley stops, and subway entrances since 1858, with the advent of horse-car service on Fifth and Sixth Streets between Southwark and Kensington.

The first steam train began running from Philadelphia to Germantown in 1832, igniting a mass-transit boom that would dictate how and where the region would grow.

As rickety as public transit sometimes seems, this region still has an infrastructure that cities such as Los Angeles; Portland, Ore.; and Atlanta have spent billions trying to replicate to ease their dependence on the automobile.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/classifieds/real_estate/20131110_On_the_House__SEPTA_rail_lines_boost_suburban_home_prices__study_finds.html#dQrjgA3E9CWrv1xb.99

SEPTA Warns Of ‘Devastating’ Cuts

SEPTA logo with text

SEPTA logo with text (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With a showdown looming in Harrisburg, SEPTA officials made a final pitch Thursday for millions more in state aid to avoid a “devastating” cutback in service.

A House vote is expected as early as next week on statewide transportation funding, and SEPTA says it is prepared to enact a doomsday plan to eliminate nine of its 13 rail lines, close a subway line, and convert all trolley routes to bus lines.

Deputy general manager Jeffrey Knueppel told the SEPTA board that old rail bridges, power stations, vehicles, and train stations could no longer be maintained and must be replaced.

Without more state funding for those capital needs, SEPTA will begin a “rational progression” of cutbacks over a decade, starting next year, Kneuppel said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20130927_SEPTA_warns_of__devastating__cuts.html#0mpGuZ38YSbrJSk6.99

Road Flooding Leads To Rescues In Southeastern PA And New Jersey

Stranded motorists needed rescue from flooded roads this morning, as heavy rains caused havoc around the area, disrupting airport and SEPTA service.

Montgomery County reported about 30 calls to assist motorists from vehicles on flooded roads, with about eight to 10 involving threateningly high water, according to a 911 supervisor. No injuries were reported.

Stranded cars were also reported in Southampton, Bucks County; Gloucester City, Camden County; and Woodbury and Deptford, Gloucester County, according to the Breaking News Network, a tip service.

Part of a roof collapsed at the Virtua Center for Health & Wellness in Washington Township, Gloucester County, spurring evacuation of the building.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/Thunderstorms_bring_tornado_alert.html#70IEl9w79bJ7LSrU.99

Legislators: Montco, SE Pa. Need More Transportation Funding

SEPTA logo with text

SEPTA logo with text (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  This is obvious.  Just try and drive to work in Montgomery County. Traffic is horrendous!

WHITEMARSH ­­— The House Democratic Policy Committee held a two-hour Wednesday morning at the township building to draw attention to the need to increase transportation funding in the region.

The general consensus among the experts offering testimony was that Pennsylvania, and Southeastern Pennsylvania in particular, needs more state funding for mass transit, road and bridge repairs.

State Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-148th Dist., said Whitemarsh is a center of transportation with major roadways including Germantown Pike and Ridge Pike and six train stations on the regional rail lines.  Daley moderated the hearing.

“I have been a SEPTA rider my entire life,” Daley said. “I’m not sure what it would be like to not have public transportation.  It is a really flexible system that benefits the area.”

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130731/NEWS03/130739823/legislators-montco-se-pa-need-more-transportation-funding#full_story

SEPTA Ridership At All-Time High

SEPTA logo

SEPTA logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SEPTA commuter trains had more passengers than ever in the year that ended June 30, carrying just over 36 million riders, SEPTA officials said Monday.

The trend was mirrored nationwide, as public transit in general and trains in particular have been gaining riders in recent years.

High gas prices, congested highways, relatively low fares, and a growing preference among young people for transit have all contributed to the rising number of passengers, transportation officials said Monday.

SEPTA Regional Rail trains carried 36.0 million riders, up from 35.3 million in fiscal 2012 and above the previous record of 35.5 million in 2008.  As recently as 1993, SEPTA carried just 19.2 million riders.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20130723_SEPTA_ridership_at_all-time_high.html#IwbTqaSRLXv0KHyh.99

SEPTA Mulls Rail Service To King Of Prussia, Valley Forge

SEPTA logo with text

SEPTA logo with text (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  This only makes sense. There are a tremendous number of jobs in King of Prussia/Valley Forge.  Rail service would encourage people to use mass transit who otherwise drive and don’t currently view the Norristown R6 or the High Speed Line as an option.  It could also be a precursor to extending service further west toward Pottstown.

WILL THOUSANDS OF workers finally be able to ride high-speed rail to King of Prussia and Valley Forge instead of a bus that relies on the Jekyll/Hyde, highway to heaven/hell, Russian-roulette insanity of I-76 traffic?

SEPTA will reveal plans for long-awaited rail service to King of Prussia Mall and Valley Forge at a four-hour public meeting tomorrow.

Several alternative extensions of the Norristown High Speed Line to King of Prussia and Valley Forge will be presented.  Public comment is invited.

This “scoping meeting” at the Radisson Hotel Valley Forge – open house at 4 p.m.; presentation at 6 p.m. – is an early stage of the federal process for new-start rail service.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20130715_SEPTA_mulls_rail_service_to_King_of_Prussia__Valley_Forge.html#ZJcEo1i9KeQpPV41.99

Public Wants More Transit Funding, Officials Say

SEPTA logo with text

SEPTA logo with text (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Amid state and federal wrangling over transportation funding, transit leaders meeting in Center City said growing public support should mean more money for trains, buses, and subways.

“The people of the nation are way ahead of some of their elected leaders,” Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said Monday, citing a new survey for the American Public Transportation Association that showed 74 percent of respondents supported using tax dollars to “create, expand and improve public transportation.”  That was up from 69 percent last year.

In Washington and Harrisburg, lawmakers are debating how to pay for mass transit as well as highways and bridges.  Transit agencies, which typically get at least half of their budgets from taxpayers, are lobbying for increases to replace outdated equipment and vehicles and to bring derelict systems into a state of good repair.

A vote is expected this week in the Pennsylvania state Senate on a transportation-funding bill that would increase the gas tax on wholesalers (who likely would pass it on to motorists at the pump), and raise most vehicle fees and fines for traffic violations.  The measure would produce about $2.5 billion in additional transportation funding after three years, according to its sponsor, Senate transportation chairman John Rafferty (R., Montgomery).

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20130604_Public_wants_more_transit_funding__officials_contend.html#Ygr2fvsOhvgMWo0W.99

Town By Town: Why A Lot Of People Want To Live In Lansdale

Location of Lansdale in Montgomery County

Location of Lansdale in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note: This is the desired effect of revitalization in case anybody in Pottstown Borough government cares!

One in a continuing series spotlighting real estate markets in this region’s communities.

If you’ve been house-hunting and Lansdale is on your list of possibilities, consider setting aside Saturday to give this Montgomery County borough the once-over.

Don’t expect to be alone, though, because June 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is Lansdale Day, which typically attracts up to 5,000 people downtown, from Green Street to Cannon Avenue, to a fund-raiser for the Rotary of North Penn.

Even without the lure of a day of fun along West Main Street, a lot of people – especially younger ones and first-time buyers in search of affordable housing – have been heading to Lansdale lately.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/classifieds/real_estate/town-by-town/20130526_Town_By_Town___Lansdale_is_a_small_town_in_itself_.html#tC7Fk3Og5huI6fhJ.99