Now I’m really mad at casinos coming to my town

SEPTA released its 2010 Capital Budget last week. Lots of interesting things in there, including this nuggest on page 67:

Route 15 Turnback — This project provides for the construction of a trolley turnback along SEPTA’s Trolley Route 15 at Frankford Avenue. This new routing will allow eastbound trolley service to continue through to the Market-Frankford Subway Elevated Line during PennDOT’s reconstruction of Interstate I-95, which is scheduled to commence in the spring of 2010. This turnback will become a permanent feature of the trolley line. The turnback will be constructed along Frankford Avenue from Girard Avenue to Delaware Avenue. The project will provide for new track and overhead wire; and traffic signal improvements at Girard and Delaware Avenues. This project will commence in the fall of 2009.

This will be the first expansion of trolley and lightrail since SEPTA acquired the PTC in 1968. And why is SEPTA expanding the Route 15 trolley six blocks?
To serve the proposed SugarHouse Casino.
I’m generally opposed to casinos in my town. And I’m really opposed to SEPTA spending spare resources expanding transit just for them. I can think of dozens of better expansion projects (Roosevelt Boulevard bus rapid transit? Schuylkill Valley Metro? BSL to the Navy Yard?) that should be prioritized over taking the trolley down to the casino.
By the way, the PennDOT expansion of I-95 that’s mentioned above is to provide the casino with its own on-ramp from the interstate. The construction of this ramp will apparently affect the location of the 15’s current turnback.
No specific cost breakdown is provided. The expansion is part of a group of four system improvement programs that together have a price tag of $66.2 million through 2021.
I hope SugarHouse is at least paying for this expansion out of their own very flush pockets. But even if they were paying for it themselves, this is SEPTA time and energy that’s being diverted from other worthwhile projects.
(image credit.)

4 thoughts on “Now I’m really mad at casinos coming to my town

  1. For some reason, I am still amazed at how obstacles that are immovable to mere mortals (e.g., opposition to transit expansion) just fall aside or disappear for the casinos.Not on your main topic, but: What purpose exactly does the turnback serve related to I-95 reconstruction? I haven’t heard about this, and so am wondering if there’s some impact on my Girard and Front neighborhood.

  2. You’re incorrect. The turnback loop is being constructed due to PennDot’s reconstruction of the outdated and decrepit I-95 Girard ramps. It was in the planning stages long before the casinos entered the picture: 15 will run from 63-Girard to Frankford-Girard. The 73 will be extended to Front-Girard (which actually makes sense, since the 15 is too long and the 73 is too short).

  3. Yes, the Casino is just an added bouns to this, as the I-95 Reconstruction is going to shut down the Girard bridge to Richmond st…Even if they don’t build the casino.As anonymous said, this been in the plan for years. But you know, no one actually asks, until it effects them, and they always wait until its too late to do anything. People where already complaining about the reconstruction of the i95 @ Girard, but after the almost near collapse of the highway when they shut it down to fix that huge crack, people quieted up real quick about it. I’m happy that SEPTa is even going to do this, because you know what old SEPTA would of done?Mothball the trollies until the construction was over, and uses buses and then maybe bring back the trollies….And on the plus side this actually gets a trolley on the waterfront as PATCO is still in limbo about that…

  4. Yes this project, both the I95 Girard Ramps reconstruction and the trolley extension, have been in the works. I95 is scheduled for a complete rebuild within the next decade and this is a part of that.The Casino benefits from the ramps and the trolley extension, but more likely those things were factors in Sugarhouse having chosen that site in the first place rather these projects being somehow made-to-order for Sugarhouse.

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