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Old 06-24-2016, 12:05 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,207 posts, read 3,046,307 times
Reputation: 3932

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jessemh431 View Post
Real time arrival times is a must.

Also, hey everybody. Just moved here for summer. Completely in love with the city and planning on making this move permanent ASAP so getting to really know the city well. I'm living on the border of Pennsport and QV. While I don't mind taking buses since it's easier than parking in most parts of the city and the 57 comes quite often during rush hour compared to what I'm used to in even cities like SF, a rail line would help a lot. Would it be possible for the city build a light rail line or something similar along Washington and Columbus?

I have to say though, I'm quite impressed with SEPTA. I've heard it being disparaged all over this thread and by random other people I've encountered. Yeah, the subways in NYC are more extensive and the L in Chicago is impressive also. But for an American transit system, SEPTA is amazing. The 57 is the bus I take during the morning rush hour. If I remember correctly, the 38 bus on SFMUNI came less than that and it's the most used bus line in the city. I commute to Trenton and being able to use the SEPTA pass to get all the way to NJ is amazing. I can use the same pass to take the bus to the MFL to the regional rail line. Not sure how the systems in NYC work, but I know in SF, you pay for MUNI, Caltrain, and BART all separately. In LA, passes exist that are good are any transit system county-wide, but let's be real...SEPTA is way better. I even spoke to a person through the grapevine of the family/friends who used to live in my area and he was telling me that the public transit sucks and I should invest in a bike. All this talk of SEPTA not being great had me worried, but it's honestly worked better than I ever imagined. A common theme I've personally noticed with people disliking SEPTA is that they either came from NYC or have only used the NYC subway and no other transit system before. Idk if this is a general consensus, but it's what I've noticed.

Tl;dr: SEPTA is a great system by US standards, idk why people hate on it, Philly is lucky it doesn't deal with SFMUNI.
Note my handle on these boards. It's also my Twitter handle. I'm off the transportation beat now at Phillymag, but still write about it for Next City, and they know who I am at 1234 Market Street (SEPTA HQ).

I'm generally known as a supporter of SEPTA, though not a blindly uncritical one, and I've been saying this to anyone who cares to listen over the years. I know we only got one-fourth of the subway and elevated lines the City Councils authorized way back in 1913 - I wrote about places where you can see where they would have gone - but the system we do have is extensive and gets you where you're going with reasonable efficiency. Part of the griping over subways is status anxiety, if you ask me.

It's also been reasonably well maintained. It's never fallen into the state of disrepair the New York and Chicago systems have in the past and the Washington Metro is now.

There's a reason the American Public Transportation Association named it the Best Large Transit System two years ago.

But you asked about light rail on Columbus Boulevard and Washington Avenue, didn't you?

There have been no proposals for the latter, but the idea of the Delaware River Port Authority running a light rail line along the Delaware riverfront and extending into Center City has been floated in the recent past. That idea's on ice now.
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Old 06-24-2016, 12:10 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,207 posts, read 3,046,307 times
Reputation: 3932
Quote:
Originally Posted by FamousBlueRaincoat View Post

An entirely electrified system is nothing to brag about in SEPTA's case, though. The only reason we have an entirely electric system is because the non-electric portions were abandoned. As recently as the 80's I believe I could have taken the train from Philly to go visit my family in Berks County (not a SEPTA service).
The non-electrified services were dropped in 1984 when the Commuter Tunnel opened. The tunnel has no forced ventilation, which would have been necessary to operate diesel trains through it.

Some of those services would be quite useful now, including the one that ran to Reading via Valley Forge. Most of these routes were on the Reading side of the system and operated out of the Reading Terminal.
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Old 06-24-2016, 07:30 AM
 
5,348 posts, read 5,569,227 times
Reputation: 3605
Quote:
Originally Posted by kyb01 View Post
It just looks AWFUL along with the connection to 15St station on the MFL. And,ugh, the water damage on floors in the 15th Station!

Oddly it looks better than it did years ago when Septa barely kept it clean and never did spot painting.
Yes, very true. Not a great image for one of the city's most prominent stations. The accessibility issue is a really big problem. I was on crutches for a few weeks recently and I couldn't take the BSL to that station because there's no way to go from the platforms to the street without dealing with stairs. And the stairs are steep, slick and narrow. It needs to be upgraded just to address that problem alone.
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Old 06-24-2016, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,207 posts, read 3,046,307 times
Reputation: 3932
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilliesPhan2013 View Post
Exactly! SEPTA is a world-class system. The City of Philadelphia has the only true commuter rail system in the U.S., meaning that commuters do not have to leave out of multiple termini.
^Fcommuter^Rregional

What distinguishes our system from all but a few others, the Commuter Tunnel aside, is that it provides more than sporadic service outside rush hour. New York is just about the only other city in the country of which that can be said; Boston and some Chicago lines come close too.


Quote:
When it comes to my dream expansions for SEPTA, extend the Broad Street Line to Cheltenham and Ogontz Avenues via Stenton Avenue. Other extensions on the Broad Street Line should go south to the Navy Yard and northeast on Roosevelt Boulevard to Southampton Road. The Market-Frankford Line should either be extended to meet the Roosevelt Boulevard Subway, or further down Frankford Avenue to Rhawn Street. The current Broad-Ridge Spur should be extended northwest to Bells Mills Road in Andorra via Ridge Avenue, and to South Philly via South Street, Grays Ferry Avenue (northeast of Washington Avenue), and the 25th Street Viaduct. Finally, PATCO should be extended to 38th and Walnut in University City, with new stations at Rittenhouse Square, 22nd/23rd and Walnut, 34th and Walnut (University of Pennsylvania), and 38th and Walnut (University City).
Thank you, Mr. Taylor. (Your first three sentences describe several of the lines proposed in the first Commissioner of City Transit's report of 1913; the City Councils voted that same year to authorize construction of all of them. Only the Frankford Elevated to Bridge Street and the Broad Street Line from Olney to (eventually) Pattison got built.)

Right now, SEPTA's attitude towards restored or expanded suburban service is: If we can't run it using juice, we won't consider it. Can someone out there work on dual-mode locomotives that can run off overhead catenary? All of the models I know use third rail power.

Quote:
Finally, I would LOVE to see the return of 24/7 service on the MFL and BSL. There was 24/7 service up until the 1990s, but that service was terminated due to crime concerns. If there ridership strong enough to warrant 24 hour service on Friday and Saturday, then 24/7 service should be investigated. Shorter headways on the Regional Rail lines would be great as well, but cannot happen unless there are complete 3-track sections between Wayne Junction and Jenkintown.
SEPTA reinstituted 24/7 weekend subway service last spring in response to demand from the late-night carousers in (mainly) Center City. Some of us out here in the boonies suggested the money would be better spent bringing 24/7 bus service to parts of the city that lack it now, but the overnight subway service appears to be doing well, so...
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Old 06-24-2016, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,207 posts, read 3,046,307 times
Reputation: 3932
Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
Yes, very true. Not a great image for one of the city's most prominent stations. The accessibility issue is a really big problem. I was on crutches for a few weeks recently and I couldn't take the BSL to that station because there's no way to go from the platforms to the street without dealing with stairs. And the stairs are steep, slick and narrow. It needs to be upgraded just to address that problem alone.
City Hall station will get elevators. The challenge is carving out space for them while keeping the building above the station from falling into the hole. That's the reason for those thick center walls on the platforms in the first place.
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Old 06-24-2016, 11:09 AM
 
10,265 posts, read 5,931,280 times
Reputation: 3628
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
City Hall station will get elevators. The challenge is carving out space for them while keeping the building above the station from falling into the hole. That's the reason for those thick center walls on the platforms in the first place.
It still astonishes me that the station was built it in the first place for much the same reason: keep the building above it from falling into any holes.

I don't think Septa gets very much credit for re-building the western MFL as another example of a tremendous engineering effort. People just take it for granted.
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Old 06-24-2016, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Montco PA
2,065 posts, read 4,289,577 times
Reputation: 1478
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl
Right now, SEPTA's attitude towards restored or expanded suburban service is: If we can't run it using juice, we won't consider it. Can someone out there work on dual-mode locomotives that can run off overhead catenary? All of the models I know use third rail power.

..
They exist:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ALP-45DP

NJ Transit has them. I believe that SEPTA's response when asked why the procurement of a few of these is not on their capital budget was that "these locomotives aren't proven technology." This is the problem with SEPTA; though they are good at running their current system, they are a devious organization that lies because their riding public doesn't know or care enough to realize what is going on elsewhere. (In that regard they are a lot like Philadelphia politicians).

They need to spend another 2-3 years bringing the worst of their system up to a state of good repair, then they need to look at restoration of service. Of course after they acquire new buses and fix the worst of their bridges, they'll probably start gold-plating subarban train stations in an attempt to spend money to fend off expansion/restoration.

I'm pretty sure that no other American transit organization has presided over more system cuts and service reductions than SEPTA. As other transit systems build extensions, SEPTA turns unwanted rail (think north of Quakertown and the line past Fox Chase all the way to Newtown) into trails. Corrupt, short-sighted, and wrong. All the while, our local and state politicians turn a blind eye.

So I support SEPTA as well and want them funded as they are vitally important to this region. But strategically they are a disaster and they don't seem interested in advocating for themselves or Greater Philadelphia.
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Old 06-24-2016, 11:36 AM
 
Location: The City of Brotherly Love
1,142 posts, read 810,774 times
Reputation: 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
City Hall station will get elevators. The challenge is carving out space for them while keeping the building above the station from falling into the hole. That's the reason for those thick center walls on the platforms in the first place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kyb01 View Post
It still astonishes me that the station was built it in the first place for much the same reason: keep the building above it from falling into any holes.

I don't think Septa gets very much credit for re-building the western MFL as another example of a tremendous engineering effort. People just take it for granted.
People do not realize the true extent of the engineering involved in much of Philadelphia's transportation infrastructure. Every time I am in City Hall station, I always become perplexed by the thick walls and the curved nature of the tracks. Unlike what one would think, the Broad Street Line goes down North Broad, bears right after Arch, and makes a sharp left under City Hall to reach the station. It then straightens out as it approaches Walnut-Locust. This is all because of the sheer weight of City Hall (the curved nature of the tracks probably also have something to do with the proposed subway loop). The Schuylkill Expressway, as hated as it is, is also an engineering feat. I-76 is squeezed between the hills of Northwest Philly/Montgomery County, Fairmount Park, active railroads, the Schuylkill River itself, a complicated interchange with the Vine Street Expressway, and has roadways on top of it under University City.

When it comes to the Market Street elevated section of the El, I remember it well. I was 8/9 when it started in 2003, and 13/14 when it ended in 2009. Back then, I hated getting off at 40th Street and taking a shuttle bus to 52nd and Walnut, only to walk back to 53rd and Ogden. Doing research on it years later, I questioned why it could not have been continued as a subway since there is a shorts section of box culvert before the El goes above ground. Unfortunately, the Mill Creek Sewer cuts directly in the path of the El at 43rd Street. Going under Cobbs Creek at the city line probably would have been an issue too.

One thing that I forgot to mention in my previous post is that the Paoli/Thorndale Line should be extended as far as Atglen, but at least to Parkesburg. Service to Parkesburg was truncated to Thorndale since SEPTA trains had to deadhead to Lancaster in order to reach an interlocking. I believe that Amtrak has installed an interlocking at Parkesburg ever since, however.
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Old 06-24-2016, 11:48 AM
 
Location: The City of Brotherly Love
1,142 posts, read 810,774 times
Reputation: 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by BPP1999 View Post
They exist:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ALP-45DP

NJ Transit has them. I believe that SEPTA's response when asked why the procurement of a few of these is not on their capital budget was that "these locomotives aren't proven technology." This is the problem with SEPTA; though they are good at running their current system, they are a devious organization that lies because their riding public doesn't know or care enough to realize what is going on elsewhere. (In that regard they are a lot like Philadelphia politicians).

They need to spend another 2-3 years bringing the worst of their system up to a state of good repair, then they need to look at restoration of service. Of course after they acquire new buses and fix the worst of their bridges, they'll probably start gold-plating subarban train stations in an attempt to spend money to fend off expansion/restoration.

I believe that no other American transit organization has presided over more system cuts and service reductions. As other transit systems build extensions, SEPTA turns unwanted rail (think north of Quakertown and the line past Fox Chase all the way to Newtown) into trails. Corrupt, short-sighted, and wrong. All the while, our local and state politicians turn a blind eye.

So I support SEPTA as well and want them funded as they are vitally important to this region. But strategically they are a disaster and they don't seem interested in advocating for themselves or Greater Philadelphia.
The ALP-45DP would indeed solve the problem of non-electrified sections of rail in SEPTA's system, which has shrunk hundreds of miles. Service to Quakertown (I believe that the Perkasie Tunnel would need repairs, however), at least Pottstown, Newtown, New Hope, West Chester, and even Bound Brook, NJ (via the West Trenton Line. SEPTA could connect with the NJT Raritan Valley Line) would all suddenly be possible. It is truly shameful, however, that SEPTA removed tracks towards Bethlehem and Newtown. The Lehigh Valley is the most populous region in the United States that lacks rail service. I have lived in the Leigh Valley for the last 3 years before returning home, and it is possible to see the growth occurring through all of the new construction, businesses, and jobs. Newtown is another area that needs rail service, as I always hear about the congestion on PA 532 and 332. Even dream expansions, such as SEPTA service to Kennett Square/Oxford, would be possible.

As much as I love and support SEPTA, there is way too much underutilized ROW that could be used. I could talk about SEPTA rail service for hours.
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Old 06-24-2016, 12:06 PM
 
10,265 posts, read 5,931,280 times
Reputation: 3628
Quote:
Originally Posted by BPP1999 View Post
They exist:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ALP-45DP

NJ Transit has them. I believe that SEPTA's response when asked why the procurement of a few of these is not on their capital budget was that "these locomotives aren't proven technology." This is the problem with SEPTA; though they are good at running their current system, they are a devious organization that lies because their riding public doesn't know or care enough to realize what is going on elsewhere. (In that regard they are a lot like Philadelphia politicians).

They need to spend another 2-3 years bringing the worst of their system up to a state of good repair, then they need to look at restoration of service. Of course after they acquire new buses and fix the worst of their bridges, they'll probably start gold-plating subarban train stations in an attempt to spend money to fend off expansion/restoration.

I'm pretty sure that no other American transit organization has presided over more system cuts and service reductions than SEPTA. As other transit systems build extensions, SEPTA turns unwanted rail (think north of Quakertown and the line past Fox Chase all the way to Newtown) into trails. Corrupt, short-sighted, and wrong. All the while, our local and state politicians turn a blind eye.

So I support SEPTA as well and want them funded as they are vitally important to this region. But strategically they are a disaster and they don't seem interested in advocating for themselves or Greater Philadelphia.
To be blunt I think it's more the state politicians turning a blind eye. I mean that crowd, generally, loathes the blue part of the state and is NEVER anxious about supporting us about anything. NJ is, mostly, a blue state. That's not who/what we are as Pennsylvanians.
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