Study: Reopening PATCO ‘Ghost Station’ Will Cost $18.5M

The estimated cost to reopen PATCO’s long-shuttered Franklin Square subway station in Old City will be at least $18.5 million, a new study says.

That’s about 50 percent more than transit officials expected.

The study, requested last year by PATCO’s parent Delaware River Port Authority, estimates 1,300 riders would use the station each day, but that nearly all of them would be current riders who now use the 8th and Market Street station.

The DRPA has been considering reopening the “ghost station” beneath Sixth and Race streets for years, and the agency included $500,000 in its current capital budget to reexamine the issue.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20150317_Study__Reopening_PATCO__ghost_station__will_cost__18_5M.html#ClKKXBqGrsKBxEf7.99

The Lonely Road To Work

The vice president of finance spends his time doing it listening to the radio, most preferably BBC Radio 2, the station he grew used to listening to when living in the United Kingdom.

The attorney recalls doing work and reading the paper while so engaged, except for the time that someone died.

The contractor said he was able to sleep and hold a book at the same time while he was doing it, and the construction supervisor has learned to calculate the amount of time he’ll be involved in it down to the minute — depending on the time of day he gets started.

What is it? The mundane but almost necessary practice of commuting to work.

Read more:

http://www.dailylocal.com/general-news/20150314/the-lonely-road-to-work

Another Delay For New PATCO Cars

PATCO’s long-delayed rebuilt commuter cars won’t be rolled out this month as planned, as continuing glitches in signal systems have forced another delay, PATCO officials said Tuesday.

Last month, PATCO executives had said the first eight of 120 refurbished cars would be put into customer service in February.

But PATCO president John Hanson said Tuesday, “They’re not going to be ready by the end of this month.”

PATCO is withholding millions of dollars in payments to Alstom Transport Inc. while the manufacturer tries to fix the problem, Hanson said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150225_Another_delay_for_new_PATCO_cars.html#EAwF5emuLcpmrJV8.99

NY Times: Millennials Driving Apartment Boom In Wilmington

Wilmington is becoming quite the hot spot for young professionals.

In Delaware’s largest city, about 30 miles south on I-95 from Philadelphia, the downtown is expanding with several hundred apartments on the way.

These new apartments, profiled in a New York Times article this week, are aimed at millennials who are “driving increased demand for city-center living, car-free commutes and transit oriented development in cities around the country,” the article states.

To build these residential units, developers are taking vacant or underused buildings and either demolishing or renovating them.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/philadelphia-real-estate/NY-Times-Millennials-driving-apartment-boom-in-Wilmington.html#LYzMk5JseugGvOJ3.99

PennDOT To Study Creating Northeast Pennsylvania Transit Authority

Northeastern Pennsylvania public transit riders may eventually take buses directly between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, rather than having to transfer to a different bus in Pittston to make the trip.

Lackawanna and Luzerne County officials envision new travel options — like a direct bus link between the cities — among many benefits of merging several mass transit agencies in both counties into a single Lackawanna-Luzerne Regional Transportation Authority.

The state Department of Transportation hired consultant HNTB Corp. to study the move, which would create the state’s third largest transportation authority. The cost of the study was not available Monday.

If it happens, Lackawanna and Luzerne county officials foresee having more clout to attract state and federal grant money to improve Northeastern Pennsylvania’s transportation network for buses, the region’s growing rail industry and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/penndot-to-study-creating-northeast-pennsylvania-transit-authority-1.1819613

TCN Membership Meeting

Pottstown: A Community on the Move

Learn about the ways Pottstown Area Rapid Transit (PART) is coordinating with nonprofit organizations, Bike Pottstown, and SEPTA to expand the level and quality of transportation services in the greater Pottstown area.

Presented by Erica Weekley, Assistant Borough Manager

&

Kourtney High, Grants Administrator

Tuesday, January 20th, 8am-10:30am
Montgomery County Community College, West Campus

South Hall Community Room
101 College Drive, Pottstown

 

Join a TCN Committee.  Committees will meet 9am-10:30am.

Caregivers Support  Community Partners Against Abuse  Environmental Health & Safety  Homeless Services  Workforce Development  Youth Development 

 

    Registration required. Click here to register or call 610-705-3301, Ext. 2.

RRTA, Berks Transit Merger Complete

It is the state’s largest transit merger, and it is now official.

Lancaster County officials and Red Red Rose Transit Authority leaders took a little trip just over the Berks County line Thursday morning to meet with their Berks counterparts — and celebrate a transit consolidation nearly a year in the making.

They have established the new South Central Transit Authority to oversee both the Lancaster-area RRTA and the Berks Area Regional Transit Authority.

The RRTA name and logo on buses, as with BARTA in Berks, will not change, and the public may not notice much of a difference, transit official David Kilmer said Thursday, “We’re on a good track, and ready to move forward,” said Kilmer, who was named executive director of the new SCTA, which will oversee operations of both RRTA and BARTA.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/rrta-berks-transit-merger-complete/article_dc4c0840-817c-11e4-b535-1b031a28a372.html

Easton Business Owners Excited About Parking, Patrons From Intermodal Center

The photographer was snapping, the baby was smiling and the mother was beaming. Everything was running smoothly at Time Photo Studios in Easton’s Centre Square until the mother brought the shoot to an abrupt halt.

“She had to run down to Second Street to feed the meter,” said studio co-owner Tara Hawthorne.

Customers won’t have to worry so much about parking when the new intermodal center opens at 123 S. Third St. The 350-space parking deck is blocks away from businesses like Hawthorne’s, and the business community says its customers and employees will appreciate new parking options.

“People can go Downtown and not worry about getting a parking ticket,” agreed Pasquale Crisci, owner of Antonio’s Pizzeria across South Third Street from the new intermodal center.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/easton/index.ssf/2014/12/easton_business_owners_excited.html

Light Up Night, Games, Shows, Concert To Attract 400,000 To Downtown Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh from Mt. Washington

Pittsburgh from Mt. Washington

Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership expects more than 400,000 people to jam Downtown on Friday night as Light Up Night coincides with a Penguins game, WPIAL championships at Heinz Field and a crowded Petersen Events Center in Oakland likely triggering traffic headaches and a parking shortage.

The Andy Warhol Bridge will close at 9 a.m.; the Roberto Clemente Bridge will close at 10 a.m., both remaining closed until midnight. A host of roads Downtown will close in the afternoon.

“With Light Up Night, we encourage people to use public transportation. People can look at parking on the North Shore and taking T,” said Leigh White, vice president of marketing and communications for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

“There’s a lot of different, good options like parking at Station Square. People can come in early and have dinner, and it’s a great day to take in other things around town.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/aande/moreaande/7174806-74/downtown-pittsburgh-garage#ixzz3JdGYCXfM
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Public Meetings Set To Air SEPTA Rail Extension Of Norristown High-Speed Line To Upper Merion

Location of Upper Merion Township in Montgomer...

Location of Upper Merion Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

UPPER MERION TOWNSHIP, PA – Residents in both Upper Merion and Norristown will be presented this week with four alternative routes to extend the Norristown high-speed rail line into Upper Merion in a proposed, $500 million, SEPTA rail project.

Both meetings will run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday. The Upper Merion meeting on Monday will be held at the Radisson Hotel at Valley Forge, 1160 First Ave. and the Norristown meeting on Wednesday will be held at Norristown municipal hall, 235 E. Airy St.

Byron Comati, director of strategic planning and analysis for SEPTA, will present the four alternative routes winnowed down from 16 route variations. He will be joined by project manager and engineer Elizabeth Smith, an AECOM consulting engineer and Burt Cossaboon, a vice president of McCormick Taylor.

Read more:  http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20141114/public-meetings-set-to-air-septa-rail-extension-of-norristown-high-speed-line-to-upper-merion

Amid Ridership Surge, SEPTA Trains Are Packed

English: personal photo

English: personal photo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SEPTA is shuffling equipment and workers to try to deal with chronic crowding problems on Regional Rail trains, as ridership rises and old cars and locomotives break down more frequently.

Even the 120 new Silverliner V cars that have arrived since 2010 to replace 73 old cars have not solved the overcrowding issue.

About 15 percent of SEPTA’s rail cars are out of service on any given day, while passenger counts are up 4 percent from last year and 50 percent from 15 years ago.

“The trains are so full that it’s even hard to find room to stand,” said Katrina Claghorn, a dietitian who commutes daily from Wayne to 30th Street Station. “It started getting bad over the summer, and now the trains are packed when they pull into 30th Street Station on the Paoli line.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20141009_Amid_ridership_surge__SEPTA_shuffles_workers__trains_to_ease_crowding.html#WCQjedUsbj5PMw5Y.99

High Hopes For $38 Million Project In Pleasantville

Map of New Jersey highlighting Atlantic County

Map of New Jersey highlighting Atlantic County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PLEASANTVILLE, N.J. – This down-on-its-luck stepsister town to neighboring Atlantic City has struggled economically for decades, languishing without a redevelopment plan or the ability to attract private investment.

But a $38 million project that includes two apartment buildings and retail space on a vacant Main Street block is expected to set the cornerstone for economic growth and expanded development in the Atlantic County city, according to Jacqueline Amado-Belton, economic development director for the City of Pleasantville.

“We feel like we have borne the brunt of a lot of issues that have spilled over from Atlantic City over the years,” Amado-Belton said. “In terms of perception and other factors, it’s been a struggle and a challenge to get to this point.”

The Pleasantville City Center, expected to be completed by next summer, will add 135 apartments and 18,000 square feet of retail space and will be bordered by Main Street, Washington Avenue, Milan Avenue, and South Second Street.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20141006_High_hopes_for__38_million_project_in_Pleasantville.html#ZlSiLKCqFZQAdj9H.99

Changes Coming To Lancaster And Berks Transit, But A Combined New Authority Won’t Look Different To Bus Riders

Picture 565Lancaster’s Red Rose Transit Authority board took its first formal step toward a merger with Berks County’s BARTA system on Wednesday.

But the combined South Central Transit Authority will be indistinguishable from the present RRTA and BARTA.

“We’ll form a new authority and nobody will know the difference,” RRTA Executive Director David Kilmer said.

The single authority will operate RRTA and BARTA buses in their respective counties. The names on the buses will not change, nor will their colors.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/changes-coming-to-lancaster-and-berks-transit-but-a-combined/article_090e5798-3ec5-11e4-a7b4-001a4bcf6878.html

MCCC Earns GVF Platinum Sustainability Award For Transportation Initiatives

MCCC

GVF Assistant Director Maureen Farrell (far right) and Action News Anchor Matt O’Donnell (far left) present (from left) Peggy Lee-Clark, MCCC executive director of government relations, and Dr. Celeste Schwartz, MCCC vice president for information technology and college services, with a platinum level sustainability award.

King of Prussia, Pa.— For the fourth consecutive year, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) earned a platinum-level sustainability award from the Greater Valley Forge Management Association (GVF) on Sept. 8 during the organization’s annual Sustainability Breakfast. MCCC was one of 32 organizations recognized for sustainability efforts in 2014.

MCCC partners with GVF to operate a campus shuttle service between its Blue Bell and Pottstown campuses and, for the first time this fall, between its Blue Bell campus and Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale. Last year, more than 10,400 riders took advantage of the free, 20-passenger shuttle, which is equipped with wi-fi to support student success.

On Earth Day 2014, MCCC and GVF introduced a new vehicle that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG), which, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, will further reduce emissions by 11 tons of carbon dioxide over the next year based on the 28,560 miles driven and 3,483 gallons of diesel fuel used in 2013. Prior to the introduction of the CNG vehicle, MCCC’s shuttle program helped to eliminate approximately 54,527 metric tons of carbon emissions and reduce vehicle usage by 522,144 miles annually.

In addition to the shuttle program, MCCC also employs Zimride, an industry leading rideshare service that provides a safe and easy way for students and staff to arrange carpooling through college community network that fully integrates with Facebook. Since launching Zimride in 2011, MCCC’s network has logged 1,461,492 carpool miles.

At the College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell, drivers of electric, hybrid, and conventional vehicles that average 25 MPG or greater, as well as carpoolers and shuttle riders, have the opportunity to park in a designated, convenient 185-space parking lot adjacent to the Advanced Technology Center. Electric vehicle charging stations are available in the Green Lot, as well as in the South Hall parking lot at the West Campus in Pottstown.

Other transportation initiatives include a Segway program for public safety officers in Pottstown, electric and hybrid vehicles for public safety and facilities staff in Blue Bell, and an increased effort to promote bicycle accessibility at all MCCC locations.

Since signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, Montgomery County Community College has put into place policies and procedures to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. As a result of its efforts, MCCC is a two-time recipient of Second Nature’s national Climate Leadership Award.  To learn more about MCCC’s sustainability initiative, visit http://www.mc3green.wordpress.com.

Mon Valley Transit Merger Decision Might Come Next Month

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County

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

The future of transit services in the Mon Valley and throughout Washington County likely will be decided in the next month.

The Middle Monongahela Transit Authority provides services for 21 Valley municipalities. It has been studying a possible merger with Washington County Transportation – also known as Washington County Rides – and the City of Washington Transit Authority.

The MMVTA board will discuss a possible merger in a closed-door meeting this week.

By the end of September, each transit agency is expected to vote on consolidation. The MMVTA board could vote either at its Aug. 28 or Sept. 25 public meetings.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmonvalley/yourmonvalleymore/6623980-74/transit-board-valley#ixzz3AlflikFi
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Website Ranks Centre Area Transportation Authority 8th In Nation For Per Capita Usage

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

— Steven Maria caught a few rays of Wednesday afternoon sunshine while waiting for his ride.

Maria, a 19-year-old Penn State student, sat on a bench along Beaver Avenue in front of the Centre Area Transportation Authority office — the nerve center for one of the nation’s busiest transit systems.

“I use the bus all the time to get home,” he said.

He’s one of the thousands of riders each day who prove that just because State College is a small town, it doesn’t mean it can’t hold its own with a major metropolis.

Testimony: Luzerne County Transit Authority Employees Worked In Fear

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

ROYALTON, PA — Employees at the Luzerne County Transportation Authority worked in constant fear of losing their jobs unless they fraudulently inflated ridership numbers, and the former chairman of the board knew about it years ago, according to testimony heard Monday.

Prosecutors began laying out their case against Executive Director Stanley J. Strelish, 60, and Operations Manager Robb Alan Henderson, 58, who were charged last month with conspiring to inflate senior citizen ridership numbers in the “ghost rider” scandal.

Both men, who are free on unsecured bond and remain suspended without pay, declined to comment following an all-day preliminary hearing held Monday before Magisterial District Judge David Judy. The hearing, which continues today, represents the first public testimony in the case.

Robert Turinski, former LCTA board chairman, testified that he suspected Strelish was inflating senior ridership numbers as far back as 2007.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/testimony-lcta-employees-worked-in-fear-1.1719124

LCTA Officials Placed On Leave After Charges

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

Two key Luzerne County Transportation Authority figures charged Wednesday in the “ghost rider” scandal have been placed on administrative leave pending an emergency board meeting next week, according to a memo leaked to the media.

Executive Director Stanley J. Strelish, 60, is facing charges including theft by deception, tampering with public records, unsworn falsification, false swearing and obstructing justice. Operations Manager Robb Alan Henderson, 58, is charged with conspiring to tamper with public records, aiding the commission of a crime and conspiring to obstruct justice.

Prosecutors say the men’s orders led drivers to count hundreds of thousands of riders who didn’t exist, resulting in millions of dollars in overfunding from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

According to a memo to the board from authority solicitor Joseph M. Blazosek, Strelish and Henderson were placed on administrative leave during a personnel committee meeting Wednesday pending board action at an emergency meeting set for 5 p.m. Tuesday. The memo does not disclose whether the leave is paid or unpaid, and Blazosek did not return a message seeking comment Thursday.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/lcta-officials-placed-on-leave-after-charges-1.1698699

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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

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Lehigh University South Side Initiative Looking To Get Campus Bus Into City

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

Lehigh University runs buses to the Lehigh Valley Mall and The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley.

But not into South Side Bethlehem.

Some at Lehigh are looking to change that. It’s an idea that came out of an open community meeting held last month by Lehigh’s South Side Initiative.

“So many here at Lehigh depend on the bus or the bus system that wraps through the upper and lower campus,” said John Pettegrew, the initiative’s director. “It would just be a practical addition to include a route that goes into Third Street and possibly SteelStacks or any other destinations.”

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/04/lehigh_university_south_side_i.html

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