SEPTA King of Prussia (KOP) rail project dead

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Septa9739

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 12, 2022
Messages
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It’s rare that I bash a public transportation system for attempting an extension, but this one deserves it. With cost estimates of $3,000,000,000 and climbing for a 4 mile extension that MIGHT have seen 7,500 riders per day, the Federal Transportation Administration has rightly elected not to fund this project. I have included a link below for fuller details. It should not be paywalled.

https://www.phillyvoice.com/septa-king-of-prussia-rail-extension-canceled/
I think SEPTA deserves particular shame for this because it wanted to pursue this project while:
1. 2/3 of the cars in the Regional Rail fleet will turn 50 in the next 4 years,
2. the Market Frankfort Line can’t maintain intervals due to incessant equipment failures because the cars are lemons and need to be replaced,
3. the entire Broad Street Line fleet is over 40 years old
4. the trolleys are all almost 40 years old, not ADA compliant and require considerable modernization
5. Insisting The Roosevelt Boulevard Subway costs too much at almost the same price and almost 20x the ridership, and
6. I’m sure I’m missing something.

My hope is that some of this money might be able to be allocated to some of these more pressing (and prudent) uses.
 
It’s rare that I bash a public transportation system for attempting an extension, but this one deserves it. With cost estimates of $3,000,000,000 and climbing for a 4 mile extension that MIGHT have seen 7,500 riders per day, the Federal Transportation Administration has rightly elected not to fund this project. I have included a link below for fuller details. It should not be paywalled.

https://www.phillyvoice.com/septa-king-of-prussia-rail-extension-canceled/
I think SEPTA deserves particular shame for this because it wanted to pursue this project while:
1. 2/3 of the cars in the Regional Rail fleet will turn 50 in the next 4 years,
2. the Market Frankfort Line can’t maintain intervals due to incessant equipment failures because the cars are lemons and need to be replaced,
3. the entire Broad Street Line fleet is over 40 years old
4. the trolleys are all almost 40 years old, not ADA compliant and require considerable modernization
5. Insisting The Roosevelt Boulevard Subway costs too much at almost the same price and almost 20x the ridership, and
6. I’m sure I’m missing something.

My hope is that some of this money might be able to be allocated to some of these more pressing (and prudent) uses.


I agree.

The only reason I’ve ever heard for anyone to go to King of Prussia is to go to the mall, and people drive there so they can cart back all the stuff they bought.

Much better to use money for projects that benefit people who really need it.
 
I agree.

The only reason I’ve ever heard for anyone to go to King of Prussia is to go to the mall, and people drive there so they can cart back all the stuff they bought.

Much better to use money for projects that benefit people who really need it.
I do believe there are lots of office buildings up there now, though I do not know how close the station would be to them.
 
The only reason I’ve ever heard for anyone to go to King of Prussia is to go to the mall, and people drive there so they can cart back all the stuff they bought.
Do people even go to malls anymore? The last one I went to had half the stores closed and looked derelict. Online shopping and Wal-Mart have I think killed off a lot of them.

As SEPTA9739 there are a lot more worthwhile projects that are crying out for SEPTA to pursue.

I wonder if any consideration has ever been given to a short extension to the NHSL to a suburban park and ride location say North of Norristown or the Plymouth Meeting area? That would make it a lot more accessible to commuters in suburban areas that otherwise have to drive into Norristown.
 
At one point, it was one of the biggest malls on the east coast. Even though the mall itself may soon be obsolete, the parcel of land and area around it is ripe for repurposing. I never considered the shoppers to be that much of an consideration in the scope of the project.
There's sure a lot of traffic around there, and it would be great for the area to be repurposed as a "new urbanist" downtown plus lots of residential. But I don't think extending the P&W would provide adequate rail transit. It might be better to run a branch of the regional rail out from Norristown. (And also get regional rail frequencies up to a point that regional rail is a useful transportation option.) That at least connect you to the county seat and provides a one-set trip into Philadelphia and connection to Amtrak and the airport. Also, a dense network of frequent bus lines on routes that are useful to people.
 
The KOP Mall is the largest mall in the US (by retail space) after a major expansion that connected the two different buildings of the mall. It is thriving. That isn't the issue. The biggest problems with the project aside from cost were that is integrated poorly into an area with poor land use (I heard the 'mall' station was going to be like a 10 minute walk from the mall) and the fact that there was not going to be direct service to Center City. Riders would board a trolley, change at 69th Street TC to the El (neither of which are exactly safe at the moment and the El is having serious mechanical problems consistently) to get to CC. The middle two words of Norristown High Speed Line are also arguably a misnomer. This led to NIMBYism stronger than otherwise because almost no one from the KOP side of the world would dream of using it. For most people it would be better and cheaper to just up the frequencies of the 120 series busses. I think the video sums up the perspective of most transit using locals and the problem at 1234 Market pretty well:

 
It’s rare that I bash a public transportation system for attempting an extension, but this one deserves it. With cost estimates of $3,000,000,000 and climbing for a 4 mile extension that MIGHT have seen 7,500 riders per day, the Federal Transportation Administration has rightly elected not to fund this project. I have included a link below for fuller details. It should not be paywalled.

https://www.phillyvoice.com/septa-king-of-prussia-rail-extension-canceled/
I think SEPTA deserves particular shame for this because it wanted to pursue this project while:
1. 2/3 of the cars in the Regional Rail fleet will turn 50 in the next 4 years,
2. the Market Frankfort Line can’t maintain intervals due to incessant equipment failures because the cars are lemons and need to be replaced,
3. the entire Broad Street Line fleet is over 40 years old
4. the trolleys are all almost 40 years old, not ADA compliant and require considerable modernization
5. Insisting The Roosevelt Boulevard Subway costs too much at almost the same price and almost 20x the ridership, and
6. I’m sure I’m missing something.

My hope is that some of this money might be able to be allocated to some of these more pressing (and prudent) uses.

In my adult life, I have lived in several metro areas, 4 with transit options (Boston, Chicago, Philly, and the Bay Area and 1 where transit is a joke (Tampa Bay). I also lived in NYC briefly but the city is too big for me.

SEPTA in the early 80s was in rough shape and they were actually looking at using retired MBTA cars for the BSL but couldn't make the specs work.

The Roosevelt Boulevard Subway checks all the boxes but the NIMBYs stopped it. The same thing happened in Chicago with the Orange Line going to Ford City.

1680596967030.png

What Philly got right was the Center City Tunnel 40 years ago while Boston whiffed a decade later when the Big Dig was built and chose not to connect North and South Stations. Just look at how lower Market Street in Philly was transformed.

When a Boston TV station suggests that the MBTA needs to look at SEPTA for help.......................


 
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