SEPTA has been awarded a total of $5.61 million in two federal grants, members of the southeastern Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation have announced.
The grants will be made through the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Railroad Safety Infrastructure Improvement Grant Program and the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Bus and Bus Facilities Grant Program. The awards will help fund a pedestrian railroad crossing safety project at Lawndale Station along the Fox Chase Regional Rail Line and capacity and operational improvements at Wissahickon Transportation Center.
“We are pleased that the FRA and FTA see the value of these projects,” said SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon Sr. “SEPTA looks forward to utilizing these grants to provide service improvements and enhance safety for our customers.”
“The grants will allow SEPTA to advance two critical capital improvement projects,” said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. “At Lawndale Station, we will greatly enhance safety and access for passengers with a new, open-air pedestrian underpass. The project at Wissahickon Transportation Center will allow one of our busiest transit hubs to meet current and future ridership demands.”
With the FRA grant funding, SEPTA will install a spacious passageway, which will improve and enhance access to the station. The 20 foot-wide passageway will also accommodate maintenance and emergency vehicles, when necessary. Currently, customers must cross SEPTA Regional Rail and CSX freight tracks at a signalized at-grade pedestrian crossing, and, at times, wait for stopped freight trains that can block access to and from the station. This project will also provide SEPTA the opportunity to improve security and passenger amenities at the station.
Wissahickon Transportation Center is a one of the authority’s busiest transportation facilities, with 11 bus routes serving approximately 7,000 riders each weekday. Located within walking distance of the Wissahickon Regional Rail Station, the Transportation Center is bordered by some of the region’s most heavily traveled roadways and is an anchor for Manayunk’s Main Street business corridor. In addition to expanding the Wissahickon Transportation Center to alleviate congestion and allow pedestrians and vehicles to more safety navigate the area, SEPTA’s project will also include the construction of a dynamic new passenger waiting facility. The Transportation Center sits at the convergence of the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Trails, and will support the City of Philadelphia’s efforts to close the only remaining gap in the City of the Schuylkill River Trail, which runs from Pottsville to Center City.
Funding for the grants came from the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the multi-year surface transportation authorization bill, and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, which were passed by Congress last December.
“These projects are the types of investments we aimed to leverage with increased funding made available in the FAST Act,” U. S. Sen. Bob Casey (Pa.) said. “SEPTA service is an important part of living and working in southeastern Pennsylvania, and I appreciate that SEPTA is investing in its safety and efficiency in ways that will also enhance the quality of life in the communities I represent.”
“These are important projects for my constituents living in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties,” said U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.). “The safety of SEPTA riders and residents in the surrounding communities is paramount. I am pleased that with the Lawndale Station project, SEPTA continues to focus on implementing meaningful safety enhancements.”
U.S. Rep. Brendan F. Boyle (Pa.-13), in whose district Lawndale Station is located, noted the importance of safety improvements for pedestrians at the station. “This important grant funding will vastly improve pedestrian and passenger safety for SEPTA customers and nearby residents,” Boyle said. “My constituents have voiced concern about the configuration of this station due to the frequent interaction between pedestrians and the train tracks, and I was proud to fight for this grant. I applaud SEPTA and the FRA for their commitment to safety, and I look forward to the completion of this important project.”