Tuesday, February 07, 2012

SEPTA Nonsense

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I live fairly close to possibly the highest demand regional rail station SEPTA operates. It's a great station because 3-4 (depending on how you count) lines converge and go through it, and it's about a 25 min ride to downtown, 50 min to the airport, ~40 min to the sports complexes (drive times from this point are very similar).

Naturally, therefore, SEPTA wants to take advantage and build luxury mid-rise apartments a parking garage. I think park and ride is fine, and unlike some of the protesters, I don't think the parking garage is ugly, or will result in lots of crime. However, looking at the map what should be really clear is that this station is surrounded by residential with NO MAJOR ROADS.

All of the roads that lead here are narrow, 2-lane, 25 mph, and some with street parking and/or no painted lines! This is not an area to try and bring extra traffic to, not because [NIMBY] but because the roads don't support it, and while the plans do improve traffic in and out of the lot/across the bridge, they don't do anything about the feeder roads--because they can't.

On top of this the cost is something insane (in the neighborhood of $100k/parking space added), and SEPTA refuses to even attempt simple fixes to the problem that the garage is supposed to address (lowering fares from further out, increasing parking tolls). It's a giant clusterfuck of a bad idea that just won't die (though it has been pushed back).

The ideal solution would be luxury mid-rise (even low-rise) apartments or condos, which could, if done right, sell for a mint. They could also help to accelerate the revitalization of the nearby downtowns (there are 3). Oh, and the closed bar/restaurant in the station--the one SEPTA wants $6k/mo rent for--could conceivably be opened and operated at a profit as well.

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