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View Poll Results: Is SEPTA doing a great job in regards to bus, subway, and commuter rail overall??????
YES 38 49.35%
NO 39 50.65%
Voters: 77. You may not vote on this poll

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  #61  
Old Posted Feb 4, 2009, 3:56 PM
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Wats, as a country highway, Sumneytown Pike (like Harleysville Pike) is, on average--especially north of Kulpsville--about two lanes wider than what it need be. An efficient utilization would be to use what is currently just the emergency shoulder as a BRT lane with the buses merging back into traffic around breakdowns, should they occur.

In addition, this BRT, unlike traditional busing, would only have limited-stop service: starting from Lansdale T.C., it would head up Main/Welsh to Ralph's Corner (stop 1), turn left on Forty Foot to Kulpsville (stop 2), turn right onto Sumneytown, head past Mainland (stop 4) to Henniong's (stop 5), on to central Harleysville (stop 6) and the shopping center on the north side (stop 7) (where it may connect with a BRT route heading out of Souderton towards Skippack), and then on up into more rural areas, with a stop at Sumneytown proper, where the pike crosses the Unami Creek (stop 8), and then to Green Lane (stop 9). From there, it may either terminate or head up Gravel Pike--Rt. 23--to Red Hill (stop 10) and thence Pennsburg (stop 11), at which point it terminates. The reason why I say BRT would be best along this route is that north of Kulpsville the environment becomes noticeably rural but that around the Green Lane area there is a small concentration of population. I believe that the wide margins of country highways are suitable for intermediate-to-long distance BRT routes.

Rail restoration to Quakertown would also offer BRT termini at Souderton/Telford, Sellersville/Perkasie, and Quakertown as well. BRTs from this line could access places like Trumbauersville, Nockamixon S.P., Dublin, Point Pleasant, Pennsburg, as well as other places. The point is to use BRT to provide transit access to citizens living in smaller towns far enough away from the rail mains that regular rail transit is not an option. Some of these routes can even have feeder buses running into them--for instance, a bus circulator from Mainland up Wambold (i.e., past Hagey Coach and Asher's) to Allentown through Elroy (past the beef place) on to Franconia, left onto Harleysville, past the NE Ext., and south by Keller's into Harleysville, where it terminates at the Harleysville/Sumneytown intersection.
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  #62  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2009, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammersklavier View Post
Wats, as a country highway, Sumneytown Pike (like Harleysville Pike) is, on average--especially north of Kulpsville--about two lanes wider than what it need be. An efficient utilization would be to use what is currently just the emergency shoulder as a BRT lane with the buses merging back into traffic around breakdowns, should they occur.
Sumneytown Pike West (geographic North) of Kulpsville is only two lanes, save for a few intersections with turning lanes, and Green Lane proper which has street parking. In most places (especially between 113 and Gerryville Pike, there is practically zero shoulder, let alone a breakdown lane.

Where the heck would you put a BRT lane?
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  #63  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2009, 9:41 AM
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hammer, I never expanded on my notion of higher capacity BRT connecting to currently existing rapid transit - I do indeed picture it on major arteries. I picture it as a happy medium between the infrastructure that should be there and improving the transit options that do exist wherever it would be installed. The choices for streets gets dicier the closer you get to Center City, obviously, but that's not the idea. Swiftly and efficienty moving people from a rapid transit stop to another destination is the important part of the equation that's lacking with SEPTA as it is now.

To be clear, I don't have a problem with trolleybuses. I just don't have faith that the additional infrastructure wouldn't be seen as an impediment to whomever seems to plan things around here. Anything that involves more than tires on asphalt seems to scare the hell out of the people with the money and the authority for laying out Philadelphia's transit network.
As a Bucks-Co-ian, I think a better use of money would be to simply improve the feeders to the existing subway and the subway itself. Keep in mind, both the MFL and BSS combined have less ridership than Atlanta's subway. Not to diss ATL, but when such a car-centric city passes you on heavy rail ridership like that, there is a serious problem. Brining back old trolleys on the 60, 56, 29, 79, 3, 18, 6, 52, etc would go a long way into making the subway more generally accessable. You're never going to get a subway dug under any of the numbered streets anyway for numerous reasons....

I live out in Langhorne, and while I feel the pain of CTD riders, it would be nice if SEPTA would actually make a half decent attempt at trying to provide transit service out here. Montgomery and Bucks Co service is woeful (Delaware Co is somewhat better) and Chester's is non-existant. Regional Rail is okay but could be more frequent.

But issue #1 is actually providing safe and reliable service. The subway beatings last year set SEPTA's public image back a couple milleniums among those who don't ride, and simply confirmed the attitudes of those at 1234 Market for those who do (like yours truly). I can't tell you how wonderful it is to go up to a token clerk to ask for a schedule and get drama becuase you had the audacity to ask her to do her f--king job. This attitude is rampant among the front end workers. Taking some NYer friends on the BSS is an embarresment. 15 minutes btw trains on a midday? Trains in Manhattan run more frequent at 2am .

Sorry for the rant, I rather ride than drive, but SEPTA is a sewer. Let us not lie to ourselves....
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  #64  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2009, 3:52 PM
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It's more than just a matter of the subways being accessible. They also have to go places people want to be. Other than Center City and the Sports Complex the system doesn't really take people to many places that have much drawing power outside their immediate neighborhoods. This goes back to my old point of how different a city this would be if even 1/3 of the originally planned subway system was built. As it is now the subway connects you to something that will take you to Main Street or Franklin Mills. Atlanta's numbers I can see as being higher because the system grew long after the city was well established and planners could put the routes where they'd work best. MARTA is also nearly double the size of SEPTA's system.
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  #65  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2009, 8:05 PM
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Just wanted to bring a little ray of sunshine to this thread: http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news...ght_track.html

Scroll to the bottom for the comments, to witness classic Philadelphia optimism.
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  #66  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2009, 8:16 PM
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They should extend the Market-Frankford line to Oxford Valley Mall via Franklin Mills and Neshaminy Malls.
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  #67  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2009, 8:22 PM
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Let me just say that the people on this thread are 10x more knowledgeable than me when it comes to improving our transit system. That said, I do want to make a few comments.

First, I feel like a lot of people (in general, not just here) feel that our transit system is already quite extensive considering the Regional Rail lines. However, as has been pointed out, those lines really just connect suburbs and some neighborhoods with Center City. I think the other problem is that RR is almost a whole separate transit system to itself. It has a separate (and higher) fee system, and there's no transferring from subway/el/bus/trolley to RR lines. This can limit use of RR and make it too much of a hassle if a trip requires, for example, taking a train and a bus.

On a separate note, it was personally frustrating for me to watch the recent construction on Germantown Avenue, thinking about how much money was being spent and how much people were being inconvenienced, knowing that originally there was supposed to be a subway line to Northwest Philly. Of course, there are probably more important transit projects than that (i.e. extending BSL south & north & into the NE), but the selfish side of me wishes that we had a subway line into Northwest Philly, and that money had been spent on that instead of new cobblestones and light posts.

Finally, I think this discussion is great, but I think a future step needs to be to put all of these ideas together prioritize them, and put pressure on the decision makers to pursue them. The current economic situation highlights this. If SEPTA and our current city leaders were focused on the real transit needs of the city, they would be using President Obama's stimulus package as an opportunity to seek federal dollars for the purpose of expansion. We should be looking at a triple-win of expanding transit, creating jobs, and stimulating economic growth in places that transit is expanded to. Instead, we're getting more of the same. We have to not just think about what to change, but also discuss how to change it.
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  #68  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2009, 8:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justremember View Post
Let me just say that the people on this thread are 10x more knowledgeable than me when it comes to improving our transit system. That said, I do want to make a few comments.

First, I feel like a lot of people (in general, not just here) feel that our transit system is already quite extensive considering the Regional Rail lines. However, as has been pointed out, those lines really just connect suburbs and some neighborhoods with Center City. I think the other problem is that RR is almost a whole separate transit system to itself. It has a separate (and higher) fee system, and there's no transferring from subway/el/bus/trolley to RR lines. This can limit use of RR and make it too much of a hassle if a trip requires, for example, taking a train and a bus.

On a separate note, it was personally frustrating for me to watch the recent construction on Germantown Avenue, thinking about how much money was being spent and how much people were being inconvenienced, knowing that originally there was supposed to be a subway line to Northwest Philly. Of course, there are probably more important transit projects than that (i.e. extending BSL south & north & into the NE), but the selfish side of me wishes that we had a subway line into Northwest Philly, and that money had been spent on that instead of new cobblestones and light posts.

Finally, I think this discussion is great, but I think a future step needs to be to put all of these ideas together prioritize them, and put pressure on the decision makers to pursue them. The current economic situation highlights this. If SEPTA and our current city leaders were focused on the real transit needs of the city, they would be using President Obama's stimulus package as an opportunity to seek federal dollars for the purpose of expansion. We should be looking at a triple-win of expanding transit, creating jobs, and stimulating economic growth in places that transit is expanded to. Instead, we're getting more of the same. We have to not just think about what to change, but also discuss how to change it.
Great post, it's frustrating how myopic SEPTA can be sometimes. They have slowly began to improve, but there is such a long way to go. The fact that there are literaly zero concret plans for system expansion is downright despiriting. As far as Germantown ave, can we at least get the 23 trolley going? The infrastructure is already there, you don't need alot of upgrades to get the thing running, just get it going already!

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Originally Posted by miketoronto
They should extend the Market-Frankford line to Oxford Valley Mall via Franklin Mills and Neshaminy Malls.
I hope that's some kind of a joke.
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  #69  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2009, 8:43 PM
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I think that we should re-examine those Atlanta numbers, I find it hard ot believe. I believe philly has 25 miles of heavy rail? Or is it way less, like 13? Either way our density per track miles destroys Atlanta's.
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  #70  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2009, 8:43 PM
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miketoronto - no. Just, no.

justremember - The RR is more or less a separate entity. SEPTA oversees all public transit in SE PA and essentially operates four divisions - City Transit, Victory and Frontier (suburban bus and light rail routes) and Regional Rail. New York's MTA is laid out in a similar manner - city subways and buses run as a different part of MTA from the LIRR or Metro-North.

The problem with getting anything done with the system is the fact that there is too much bureaucracy to make big things happen. To get federal money for anything there are ten federal hoops to jump through, there is community input, there is overcoming SEPTA's congenital inertia, the issue of worker's unions and issuing contracts to say nothing of navigating the byzantine jungle of building anything larger than a rocking chair in the city of Philadelphia. A determined leader is an essential element to making such a thing happen but even with money so many other things have to operate in concert to make such a thing happen in this city. We've just gone for so long here without doing anything huge that the concept is totally foreign. There are tons of ideas out there for Philadelphia but where Philadelphia has ideas other cities have actions. They don't just plan - they build and some of them have governments and agencies no less ungainly than ours. But where other places just have had to deal with impotent municipal governments or lethargic planners or transit agencies that don't care or unions that decide who builds what and how, Philadelphia has had to deal with all of that at once. The last era of great building in this city occurred before the Great Depression and other than Penn Center, there really hasn't been anything of a grand, sweeping scale that ever ended up being executed. I wish I knew what the reason was.
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  #71  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2009, 8:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capsule F View Post
I think that we should re-examine those Atlanta numbers, I find it hard ot believe. I believe philly has 25 miles of heavy rail? Or is it way less, like 13? Either way our density per track miles destroys Atlanta's.
Philadelphia's system is 25.2 route miles including the Woodland Avenue subway.

I'm inclined to believe Atlanta's numbers because of all the places MARTA goes. Hartsfield, Buckhead - it goes to more places people in Atlanta are going. The El and Broad Street Subway - there are plenty of destinations they don't go directly to or even conveniently connect to. To say nothing of the fact that it's virtually not marketed by SEPTA at all to tourists (or anyone else) and is difficult to use. Also, Atlanta's population (and by extension, subway riders) is growing. Philadelphia's is not.
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  #72  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2009, 8:55 PM
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Want to learn about transit systems across the world, this is a great site.

http://www.urbanrail.net/am/phil/philadelphia.htm
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  #73  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2009, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by miketoronto View Post
They should extend the Market-Frankford line to Oxford Valley Mall via Franklin Mills and Neshaminy Malls.


about as useful a suggestion as building a maglev train from Gilbertsville to New Hope
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  #74  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2009, 1:25 AM
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Why stop at Oxford Valley? Why not go to the Quaker Bridge Mall in Trenton?
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  #75  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2009, 6:34 PM
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Originally Posted by SoundOfPhiladelphia View Post
But issue #1 is actually providing safe and reliable service. The subway beatings last year set SEPTA's public image back a couple milleniums among those who don't ride, and simply confirmed the attitudes of those at 1234 Market for those who do (like yours truly). I can't tell you how wonderful it is to go up to a token clerk to ask for a schedule and get drama becuase you had the audacity to ask her to do her f--king job. This attitude is rampant among the front end workers. Taking some NYer friends on the BSS is an embarresment. 15 minutes btw trains on a midday? Trains in Manhattan run more frequent at 2am
Yeah I'd have to agree with you across the board here. As a daily rider, SEPTA needs to invest more money in safety and customer service, hopefully the forthcoming stimulus package will enable that, however from what I've seen they have no priority of doing so. In two or three years SEPTA is planning on implementing an electronic payment system for each stop/station, this would be a good point to turn their service around.

Maybe we should complain more to someone at City Hall? Ha.
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  #76  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2009, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by miketoronto View Post

CREDITVIEW RD?!?!?!??!



You have got to be joking.

Reason #5,289 why the suburbs suck!
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  #77  
Old Posted Feb 8, 2009, 1:25 AM
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Its named that because of the Credit River that runs near that road.

The reason I said to extend the subway to the malls is because it serves two of the regions major malls, and also covers a route that is covered by a 24 hour bus line. It also brings the subway to some of the most critical suburbs of the city in the region, and might help tie the region together.
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  #78  
Old Posted Feb 8, 2009, 2:21 AM
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Originally Posted by volguus zildrohar View Post
The RR is more or less a separate entity. SEPTA oversees all public transit in SE PA and essentially operates four divisions - City Transit, Victory and Frontier (suburban bus and light rail routes) and Regional Rail. New York's MTA is laid out in a similar manner - city subways and buses run as a different part of MTA from the LIRR or Metro-North.
Point taken. But I still think that such a structure detracts from the overall transit situation in the city. Ideally, it would all operate as one system, and I think if it did, more people would use the system. I'm not sure if that's a realistic hope, just something I've observed.

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Originally Posted by miketoronto View Post
The reason I said to extend the subway to the malls is because it serves two of the regions major malls, and also covers a route that is covered by a 24 hour bus line. It also brings the subway to some of the most critical suburbs of the city in the region, and might help tie the region together.
Having grown up by the Willow Grove Mall, I can see where you're coming from with this. There are people who would utilize such a line, but I think potential projects within the city should have higher priority. I think the need is greater, and there will be a greater return on investment. But I think that using transit to bring city and suburb closer sometime in the distant future is a worthwhile goal, just lower on the list than some other goals.
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  #79  
Old Posted Feb 8, 2009, 3:27 AM
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It really is effectively one system. It has the same governing body and operates under the same name. I may have overreached with my original answer. Each part of SEPTA is simply differentiated because they're physically separated but that's about it. However, I'm not sure that a single overseeing authority is best. I do believe Chicago's CTA operates independently of Metra, the city's commuter rail system. Perhaps it simply depends on who's running it and how well.
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Old Posted Feb 8, 2009, 4:38 AM
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Originally Posted by volguus zildrohar View Post
It really is effectively one system. It has the same governing body and operates under the same name. I may have overreached with my original answer. Each part of SEPTA is simply differentiated because they're physically separated but that's about it. However, I'm not sure that a single overseeing authority is best. I do believe Chicago's CTA operates independently of Metra, the city's commuter rail system. Perhaps it simply depends on who's running it and how well.
As a rail fanatic, some retiered SEPTA heads told me it's set up the way it is becuase if the Suburban counties had their way, they'd trash suburban service and leave reverse-communting Philadelphian's in a bind.

Philly is very segregated on almost every level between ever increasing poverty in the center of town with steps in wealth until you reach the old money/upper class on the edges of the built-out area. Most areas outside the city and parts of DelCo do not want transit becuase of their fears of the "wrong people" becoming accessable to their neighborhoods. Ignorant? yes. but that seems to be the view. Even if MikeToronto's vision was remotley realisitic, the patriarchal views of the citizenry will shoot that bird straight out of the sky.

At the end of the day, SEPTA is a horror to ride. The only thing they do go the distance in is graffiti cleaning (<i>Are you listening, NYC</i>?). Other than that, the people on Market St do. not. care. 90% of the ridership is people who have no choice, so therefore, this is what you get.

But this goes back to the Philadelphia mentality in general. People seem not to believe in their city, themselves, the future, or really anything outside the Eagles. Bitter, angry, and close minded....
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