This is a very interesting move for several reasons.
The train “station” at Coatesville is presently crap and ridership is low in part because the station is a shack with no amenities like a ticket booth or bathrooms for starters. Having been there once it totally creeped me out.
Once the new station is built SEPTA has no plans to increase service. They will “wait and see” if the “build it and they will come” mentality works. If ridership increases, SEPTA will increase service. SEPTA feels it makes no sense to expand ridership at a little-used station but it DOES make sense to spent $16.3 million dollars to build a new station, platforms, pedestrian overpass etc… Hmmmmmm…
PennDOT wants to get in on the project with transit-oriented development that will hopefully stabilize the neighborhood and bring economic development to Coatesville. PennDOT is committing $15 million dollars to the project and the station is not even designed yet. (BUT THERE IS NO MONEY TO REBUILD THE KEIM STREET BRIDGE WHICH CARRIED 9400 VEHICLES PER DAY OVER THE SCHUYLKILL RIVER.)
Another goal is to make SEPTA riders feel safe while waiting for a train. Okay, you get a point for that since presently it is scary.
The coolest part is that PennDOT is conferring with elected leadership in Coatesville, Chester County and taking the pulse of the neighborhood. What a concept! Getting ideas from residents. (Pottstown might want to consider this approach instead of “Father Knows Best”.)
It is commendable that PennDOT wants to be involved in economic development. Coatesville has demonstrated needs. But, so does Pottstown which is MUCH larger and has a critical bridge which is indefinitely closed with no money allocated to repair or replace it. I would think the Keim Street Bridge should be a priority over giving $15 million dollars to build a new train station, not even in the development stage, at a little-used SEPTA stop. $15 million dollars should pay for a new bridge!