Rainy Days and SEPTA Mondays

Whoops! Looks like SEPTA started off on the wrong foot this morning and sent a Regional Rail train down the wrong track for a mile or so:

From Twitter:

Jesus christ. My train just went the down the wrong track for over a mile. Now backing up.

And speaking of Regional Rail, WHYY’s new Newsworks site has a story about Mt. Airy and other stations and the debate regarding what the ADA requires from any renovations.

For those keeping track, these are the same ADA requirements that have been holding up any renovation work on City Hall Station:

This issue was in the news earlier this year, when a federal judge declared SEPTA’s renovation of the City Hall station was not in compliance, since the nearest elevators are blocks away in Suburban Station (a decision SEPTA is still fighting).

The fact is, elevators are expensive. And SEPTA’s money troubles just keep getting worse. Philly.com reports that SEPTA just lost out on $30M of federal funding that could have gone toward the mythical smart card fare system.

This is the third defeat on the long road to modernization:

SEPTA had hoped to get some of the money for the fare system from the state, as part of the revenue expected from tolls on I-80. But the U.S. Department of Transportation rejected the state’s tolling plan in April.

Agency officials also tried unsuccessfully to get $75 million for the fare system last year from the federal stimulus funding program.

This third defeat was a potential TIGER II grant. SEPTA is looking at other options including a revenue-sharing agreement with the bid winner, who would pay for the installation. The back end is being prepared however, with new fareboxes installed on buses and trolleys and fiber optic lines run to subway and El stations.

I’ll end by directing your attention to this article over at The Transport Politic, discussing how San Francisco wants to improve the efficiency of their Muni bus system by cutting stops. Not a terrible idea, especially for anyone familiar with crawling along Walnut or Chestnut Streets, but SEPTA has previously stated they have no interest in the idea.

A Completely Adorable Mural Arts Tour Proposal

My pal Eric Smith posted this over at Geekadelphia and I felt it was too awesome to not post here.

Todd contacted the MAP tour office to let them know he wanted to propose to Meaghan on the tour and MAP offered a clever idea in making his marriage proposal extra special. 

This video is a result of MAP’s partnership with The University of Pennsylvania — Penn Singers Light Opera Company and Penn Glee Club. We’re excited to share with you the biggest surprise of Meaghan’s life! 

Silverliner Vs and Route 40

SEPTA has posted a list on their website of times you can ride a Silverliner V. But be warned, the first few runs on the list have shown up with no Silverliner Vs in sight, so hopefully the kinks will be worked out of the runs as the week goes on.

If you’ve got a TransPass then it’s a good weekend to put it to use; the Silverliner Vs will be making several round trips from Temple to Trenton on Saturday and Sunday.

In other news, the South Street Bridge will be reopening on Saturday, November 6, and SEPTA is (for once) not wasting any time. The Route 40 bus will be back on Lombard/South from 23rd Street to 34th Street starting Saturday night.

While I’ll miss the convenience of taking the 40 from Old City right to Walnut Street, I sure won’t miss the 40’s complete lack of reliability. That’s not expected to change, South Street Bridge or no South Street Bridge.

Three Cheers: Here Come the Silverliner Vs!

This Friday at 9:30am, SEPTA will hold a press conference at Track 0 in Suburban Station to announce the first Silverliner Vs in passenger service.

While there are some concerns about quality control on the assembly of the new railcars, SEPTA seems dedicated to getting the first of these cars into service as soon as possible.

Now that the Vs will be entering service, that means it’s time to start retiring the Silverliner II and III cars. SEPTA is taking bids for the old cars until 2pm on Friday.

Across the River: Things Are Looking Grim

There’s no good news for rail coming out of our neighbors to the east, who have two projects in the pipeline that will have a large impact on the Delaware Valley.

The first, and most directly affecting Philadelphia, is the Glassboro-Camden Rail Line. DRPA has announced they want nothing to do with it:

But future spending on the line remains uncertain because of the state’s financial problems, and several DRPA board members questioned the wisdom of using DRPA money for a line that the agency won’t build or run.

The funding questions on the proposed South Jersey light-rail line came a day after the Christie administration indefinitely suspended about 100 other state-funded road and rail projects.

With a Republican in command, the state coffers empty, and lots of NIMBYs who moved next to railroad tracks never expecting trains to run on them, the future of this line is looking grim.

Not mentioned is the fate of DRPA’s proposed Market Street/Delaware Avenue trolley.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the state, Governor Christie is re-evaluating the cost of the 8 billion dollar dead-end tunnel to Macy’s basement, which would free up space in Penn Station. But, a bad plan is a bad plan:

Gov. Christie says unless he has assurances the rail line from Monstrosity by the Turnpike to Macy’s basement is affordable, he will pull the plug. Go ahead, governor. Pull away. The $8.7 billion estimate is a joke. Always was.

If the line can’t be made to go where Amtrak, the other trains and the subways are, Penn Station, kill it.

With the two big regional transit expansion projects on the chopping block, our neighbors to the south will just have to keep plugging up Route 42 every morning for the time being, while commuters headed to New York City need to be content with the Penn Station caverns for a while longer.

Meanwhile, here in Southeastern PA, when it comes to rail expansion SEPTA continues to demonstrate the old adage that if you never expect, you will never be disappointed.

Update: The tunnel is dead.

Whoops: A Pedestrian Oversight

Take a look at this chunk of the new SEPTA maps:

Notice anything out of place?

The indicator for the pedestrian connection between the three stations at 8th Street, which was present on the old map, has disappeared.

PATCO’s 8th and Market station is still inexplicably on Filbert Street between 5th Street and 2nd Street.

AT&T Station Ribbon Cutting

If you’ve been to a Phillies game lately (or that other team that I refuse to name) you’ve probably already seen the signs for “AT&T Station” down at Pattison Ave. Well, today it becomes officially official.

If a three hour ceremony with Philadelphia government officials and a few members of the 76ers (all the other teams were busy), then you’ll want to hop on a train down to Pat– AT&T Station at 4pm.

Meet Joe Casey

If you’d like a few seconds to chat with SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey, here’s your chance. On Monday morning September 27, Joe will be greeting commuters during morning rush (7:30 am to 9 am) at the 69th Street Terminal. SEPTA ambassadors will also be on hand discuss the stimulus work on the 101 & 102 lines