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(Philly.com)   25 years from now, driving around Philadelphia will suck more than ever   (philly.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Turnpike, Camden County, SEPTA, bottlenecks, rail transport, Delaware Valley, Wawa  
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2290 clicks; posted to Business » on 26 Jul 2013 at 7:59 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



32 Comments   (+0 »)
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2013-07-26 08:25:53 AM  
I can easily see this happening.  Fortunately for me, I'll be gone in less than 25 years.
 
2013-07-26 08:33:54 AM  
The Surekill Distressway was at capacity the day it opened.  They could double the lanes tomorrow and it would still be horrible.
 
2013-07-26 08:34:23 AM  
The SEPTA line extension thing really shouldn't be that hard, right? How hard would it be to at least continue the Fox Chase line beyond Fox Chase? Rails are already there, just needs catenary wires.
 
2013-07-26 08:55:48 AM  
The only reasonable way to expand 76 into the city is a double deck type arrangement.....and that would be laughably expensive and complex (though less so than ripping up active rail lines and blasting large hills that boarder old money neighborhoods).
 
2013-07-26 09:03:40 AM  
Could you run "light" cargo trains on commuter tracks to supplement income? Like a produce down the Media line....reinstating that line all the way back down to West Chester? Produce and meat from Lancaster coming in on the Septa line warehousing along the way (Downingtown?) or going all the way into the city?
Wouldn't smaller regional distribution warehouses closer to the end markets make more sense than everyone trucking their own stuff long distances? I would like to think operating costs would be less than those of trucks....

As diesel continues to get more expensive, something new will have to be done...right?
 
2013-07-26 09:09:43 AM  
By then we'll all have rocket shoes, so don't even worry about it.
 
2013-07-26 09:32:35 AM  

Sasquach: Could you run "light" cargo trains on commuter tracks to supplement income?


I think most of the tracks are owned by Amtrak.  If that's the case, it would be their decision, not SEPTA's.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-07-26 09:35:54 AM  
Constrained by an expected $64 billion shortfall in transportation funding from local, state, and federal sources, the long-range plan focuses on spending an anticipated $53 billion to maintain the existing transportation network instead of building new roads or transit lines.

Here in Massachusetts we have a $20 trillion shortfall, calculated by taking the $20 trillion I want to spend to replace cars with personal spaceships and subtracting the $20 billion available for surface transport.

Philadelphia planners wanted to pay for their projects by putting tolls on I-80. The feds shot them down. But in their heads they already spent the money, so it's a shortfall.
 
2013-07-26 09:38:33 AM  
Having just gone through the mess of construction that is 295-42-76, which included an unannounced blocked-off lane just after a major curve with everyone (including semis) traveling an average speed of 60mph, they *might* be finished with it in 25 years. But the logistics of it are horribly messy, especially since they didn't do it 30+ years ago before the various housing and commercial developments sprung up around there.
 
2013-07-26 09:56:02 AM  
 
2013-07-26 10:18:38 AM  

YixilTesiphon: The SEPTA line extension thing really shouldn't be that hard, right? How hard would it be to at least continue the Fox Chase line beyond Fox Chase? Rails are already there, just needs catenary wires.


Sure, if the state would farking fund us.  SEPTA handles about the same traffic as MBTA and are funded only some $350M as opposed to some $800M.
 
2013-07-26 10:19:31 AM  

ZAZ: Philadelphia planners wanted to pay for their projects by putting tolls on I-80. The feds shot them down. But in their heads they already spent the money, so it's a shortfall.


And they keep spending the DRPA money on shiat that has nothing to do with transportation.  Thanks, Rendell.
 
2013-07-26 10:22:14 AM  
Sasquach:
As diesel continues to get more expensive, something new will have to be done...right?

Coal-fired steam trains make a comeback?
 
2013-07-26 10:39:34 AM  
Why would anyone want to drive around Philadelphia?
 
2013-07-26 10:45:19 AM  
If they could just fix Route 1 around Bensalem I'd be happy. Right now it has two sets of lanes going in each direction but neither is an express - they all stop at the same lights. Why? Make the inner lanes a freeway, the outer lanes a local / business route and deal. I'd even be happy if they elevated the whole thing. That area is a slum anyway so it's not like it would make things worse. Getting from Bucks to Manayunk now is miserable because the best option is taking 95 then cutting across the city.


Additionally - dynamite 95 through the city, then run it through a portal so Penns landing and the city aren't split in two by that crappy freeway. Develop the waterfront.
 
2013-07-26 10:55:24 AM  

DrZiffle: Why would anyone want to drive around Philadelphia?


Because it's better than driving though it?
 
2013-07-26 11:34:35 AM  
I hate the Schuylkill. I'll take any road that I can in order to avoid that damn parking lot.  Hell, I'll even park in the burbs and take the train into center city.
 
2013-07-26 12:19:10 PM  

spyderqueen: Sure, if the state would farking fund us. SEPTA handles about the same traffic as MBTA and are funded only some $350M as opposed to some $800M.


It is unbelievable how much SETPA does now with how little money they get each year.  There is a reason they keep winning awards... customer satisfaction overall is OK, but their financial management is second to none.
 
2013-07-26 12:23:54 PM  
Maybe they should figure out a way to build a road that doesn't fall apart in 12 months.

Maybe they shouldn't spend bridge money on camden development projects

Maybe they shouldn't spend $X Zillion on continually repaving and widening 76/42 only for it to merge down to 3 lanes at the bridge/295.

Maybe if it didn't take 18mos to repave 2 miles of Route 1

Maybe if the city & state wasn't totally corrupt

They would have more money to improve things
 
2013-07-26 12:32:58 PM  

Altman: It is unbelievable how much SETPA does now with how little money they get each year. There is a reason they keep winning awards... customer satisfaction overall is OK, but their financial management is second to none.


They also gotten better since that horrible incident with the kid getting mangled by one of their escalators. The outcome, both in money and in embarrassment, I think forced them to reexamine how they responded to (and documented, for that matter) things.
 
2013-07-26 01:28:05 PM  
Also living near the Philly area, let me say that 95 have never NOT been under construction.  It is perpetually screwed up.  Exit 30 for Cottman ave's been shut down all summer (southbound).  And they are closing the Ben Franklin bridge on Sunday.

And a cool story bro regarding the mass transit in Philly (SEPTA),

Until recently, people could buy week and month long passes for the trains to get to and from work - they were labeled M or F, for male or female, to prevent married couples and boyfriends/girlfriends from sharing passes and therefore reducing SEPTA's revenue.

The passes are still available, but the M and F stickers have been removed, due to complaints from the LGBT community complaining about issues regarding gender identity.  While the arguements are perfectly valid, without the stickers people will no doubt start to abuse the system again, resulting in lower revenues for the mass transit in Philly, which will in turn have customers complaining about the quality of service of the very system they are abusing.

Link to article provided.
http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/SEPTA_passes_no_longer_co me _with_M_and_F_gender_stickers.html

/End Cool Story Bro
 
2013-07-26 01:29:13 PM  

State_College_Arsonist: I hate the Schuylkill. I'll take any road that I can in order to avoid that damn parking lot.  Hell, I'll even park in the burbs and take the train into center city.


See.  Mass transit works.

Now all they have to do here in the Bay Area is make the train run faster than peak hour traffic and have it show up every 15 minutes (30 in non-peak) and I'll take it at least 4 days a week.  Use it as the spine of a decent bus system centered around the nodes and I'll take it 5/5 and never use my car (except for fun or things where I need a trunk)
 
2013-07-26 01:50:22 PM  

vonmatrices: The passes are still available, but the M and F stickers have been removed, due to complaints from the LGBT community complaining about issues regarding gender identity. While the arguements are perfectly valid, without the stickers people will no doubt start to abuse the system again, resulting in lower revenues for the mass transit in Philly, which will in turn have customers complaining about the quality of service of the very system they are abusing.


Maybe, but it will only be for a year.  They're introducing personal electronic swipe cards next year (sorta like the chips already in credit cards), which because of how they are set up will not be simple to share, since they track your rides and you need to swipe when you get off to not be charged for a double ride.  Or something like that, its a bit confusing since they have not announced how the final system is going to work yet.

Also, they instituted caps on the number of rides that can be used on a monthly pass, to prevent the kind of abuse you mention above.  At first, it was 200 individual trips a month (which is a lot, a typical commuter probably only uses less than 100 a month), but they upped it to 240 in response to complaints from some people who live in really remote parts of the city.
 
2013-07-26 02:04:45 PM  
SEPTA has a lack of perspective to the region's transportation needs. They aren't looking to expand anywhere in the near future compared to other transit systems and with a lack of expansion they haven't been able to receive any large federal grants. SEPTA has always been about contraction and maintaining a state of good repair. Washington, Baltimore, New York City, and Boston are all expanding their mass transit systems. Philadelphia? Nope.
 
2013-07-26 04:56:04 PM  

Sasquach: Could you run "light" cargo trains on commuter tracks to supplement income?


The West Trenton Line in Bucks is also a cargo line. I forget after what station the sharing starts, but I've watched my fair share of cargo trains go by to know that is the case.

The Crepes of Wrath: I think most of the tracks are owned by Amtrak. If that's the case, it would be their decision, not SEPTA's.


I didn't think it was most of them... I could be wrong, since I only ever really use a couple of the Regional Rail lines, and generally can't be bothered to know much about the rest. I know the Trenton line is all shared with Amtrak, but I honestly don't remember much about the others.

fo_sho!: If they could just fix Route 1 around Bensalem I'd be happy. Right now it has two sets of lanes going in each direction but neither is an express - they all stop at the same lights. Why? Make the inner lanes a freeway, the outer lanes a local / business route and deal. I'd even be happy if they elevated the whole thing. That area is a slum anyway so it's not like it would make things worse. Getting from Bucks to Manayunk now is miserable because the best option is taking 95 then cutting across the city.


I can't imagine that it would be cheap to have to build an overpass at every freaking red light (or even every other) to allow for left turns. Not to mention just how much of a nightmare traffic would be in the decade or six that it took to complete the project (where the whole stretch would be blocked off with cones, even if they're only working on 5% of it at the time, because that's how PennDOT rolls). I admittedly avoid driving there because it is a gorram nightmare, and so I generally end up just asking my dad to join me wherever I'm going and make him drive. And now that I'm back to school it's pretty easy to just not go down that way.  Though I do still need to introduce my fiance to Chickie's and Pete's some time when he's down visiting...
 
2013-07-26 05:18:23 PM  

Altman: vonmatrices: The passes are still available, but the M and F stickers have been removed, due to complaints from the LGBT community complaining about issues regarding gender identity. While the arguements are perfectly valid, without the stickers people will no doubt start to abuse the system again, resulting in lower revenues for the mass transit in Philly, which will in turn have customers complaining about the quality of service of the very system they are abusing.

Maybe, but it will only be for a year.  They're introducing personal electronic swipe cards next year (sorta like the chips already in credit cards), which because of how they are set up will not be simple to share, since they track your rides and you need to swipe when you get off to not be charged for a double ride.  Or something like that, its a bit confusing since they have not announced how the final system is going to work yet.

Also, they instituted caps on the number of rides that can be used on a monthly pass, to prevent the kind of abuse you mention above.  At first, it was 200 individual trips a month (which is a lot, a typical commuter probably only uses less than 100 a month), but they upped it to 240 in response to complaints from some people who live in really remote parts of the city.


I hope they can figure out a way to control the amount of rides a month in a fair way - this will allow them to at least have something they can actually track and charge fairly, rather than the unlimited pass they have now.

Figure 5 x 4 = 20 work days a week x 2 for a round trip to an from work is 40 SEPTA trips a month on rail with a pass.  They are upping it to 240 (for now)?  Even catching two trains to and from work would up it to 80.
 
2013-07-26 05:20:43 PM  

vonmatrices: Altman: vonmatrices: The passes are still available, but the M and F stickers have been removed, due to complaints from the LGBT community complaining about issues regarding gender identity. While the arguements are perfectly valid, without the stickers people will no doubt start to abuse the system again, resulting in lower revenues for the mass transit in Philly, which will in turn have customers complaining about the quality of service of the very system they are abusing.

Maybe, but it will only be for a year.  They're introducing personal electronic swipe cards next year (sorta like the chips already in credit cards), which because of how they are set up will not be simple to share, since they track your rides and you need to swipe when you get off to not be charged for a double ride.  Or something like that, its a bit confusing since they have not announced how the final system is going to work yet.

Also, they instituted caps on the number of rides that can be used on a monthly pass, to prevent the kind of abuse you mention above.  At first, it was 200 individual trips a month (which is a lot, a typical commuter probably only uses less than 100 a month), but they upped it to 240 in response to complaints from some people who live in really remote parts of the city.

I hope they can figure out a way to control the amount of rides a month in a fair way - this will allow them to at least have something they can actually track and charge fairly, rather than the unlimited pass they have now.

Figure 5 x 4 = 20 work days a week x 2 for a round trip to an from work is 40 SEPTA trips a month on rail with a pass.  They are upping it to 240 (for now)?  Even catching two trains to and from work would up it to 80.


work days a month, not week
 
2013-07-26 10:41:45 PM  
Last time I lived there, it took ~30 minutes to cross the Schuylkill on Market Street in a car. Why does anyone drive in that city? I can see it for people hauling lots of cargo and occasionally needing a car, but all these day-to-day drivers confuse me. It's such a pain in the ass to drive and ridiculously expensive to park.
 
2013-07-26 11:21:56 PM  
I was leaving Philly from night classes back about '77.  Got on the Schuylkill Expressway at University and headed west.  Raining like all hell.

Just as I'm leaving the underpass section onto where 676 peels off today, I see a police 4x4 POS coming straight at me.  Spinning.  Hitting the Jersey barriers, and I never saw two more popeyed cops.  They bounced off and it made them spin even faster.  They were plastered against the windshield.  The poor bastards are lucky they didn't have airbags.

I'd bet they're on disability to this day.

/CSB
 
2013-07-27 12:40:55 AM  

vonmatrices: The passes are still available, but the M and F stickers have been removed, due to complaints from the LGBT community complaining about issues regarding gender identity. While the arguements are perfectly valid, without the stickers people will no doubt start to abuse the system again, resulting in lower revenues for the mass transit in Philly, which will in turn have customers complaining about the quality of service of the very system they are abusing.


...except that SEPTA never actually proved abuse was a serious problem.  And it didn't prevent people of the same gender from sharing Transit Passes; like most things SEPTA has done in the last 40 years, it was a bad idea executed poorly.

fo_sho!: Additionally - dynamite 95 through the city, then run it through a portal so Penns landing and the city aren't split in two by that crappy freeway. Develop the waterfront.


The original proposal (from Ed Bacon, of course) was to sink 95 through the city, at least from South to Vine.  But the powers that be decided that was too expensive.  The compromise is the covered section in front of the Society Hill Towers, because rich people live there.

Sasquach: As diesel continues to get more expensive, something new will have to be done...right?


SEPTA doesn't run any diesel trains.  All their rail lines are on NE Cooridor track, which has been electrified for a century.  That huge smoke stack they demolished near 30th St a couple years ago?  That used to be the generating plant for electricity for the Philly region of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The basic problem is that transportation is funded at the state level, and all the yahoos in the boonies (ie, my extended family) don't see any point in paying a single cent for public transit, forgetting that without Philly and Pittsburgh, this state would have no economy and no tax base.

We need billions spent on public transit in the next couple of decades.  Regional rail lines need to be extended, the Broad St line needs to be run to the Navy Yard, and we could use a couple more subway lines as well.

As major cities around the would have learned, building infrastructure for automobiles is a zero-sum game: the more you build, the more cars people buy and the congestion never gets any better.  It's the reason New York CIty won't build any more auto crossings into Manhattan, and why London has a congestion charge for cars.

People are moving back into Philly, slowly but surely.  There is no way -in most neighborhoods- that people will be able to each have a car, much less the two or three all my neighbors here in South Philly have.
 
2013-07-27 02:33:26 PM  
Meh, whenever I visit people back in Philly I'm absolutely AMAZED at how light the traffic is.  Guess living in the DC area will do that to you...
 
2013-07-27 07:49:51 PM  
Yeah, it sucks. That's why I finally cut my commute (Delaware county to Bucks County, 75 mile round trip) to Montco to Bucks (4 miles) Now, if only the roads were made safe for bikes, I'd be golden.

And who taught these morons around here to pave a road? It's like they got the speedbump crews to do it.
 
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