Catching up, and the incoming storm

I’ve been out of town for the last three weeks, and it’s been quite busy in the Delaware Valley. To recap:

  • The big news is SEPTA holding the first public meetings for the newest incarnation of the King of Prussia Rail project. With the KoP Business Improvement District as co-sponsors and motivating forces, this latest version of the #1 item on the regional wishlist looks much more likely to succeed than its predecessors, if for no other reason than that this time, it’s being investigated as a standalone project on its own merits. The public presentation materials are online at http://kingofprussiarail.com/virtualmeeting.html; the current focus is on alignment alternatives between the existing Norristown High Speed Line and the Mall complex.
  • New SEPTA timetables are out, and the changeover to the new Regional Rail schedules will take place this Sunday, February 10th. The Transit Division will follow suit on the February 17th and 18th.
  • In the ongoing fights against petty corruption and car culture, nine current and former Philadelphia Traffic Court judges were indicted on charges related to ticket-fixing. With all but one of the active judges indicted and therefore automatically suspended without pay, the State Senate is considering legislation to abolish the court entirely, and fold responsibility into the Municipal Court docket. If the end of widespread ticket fixing improves the safety of our streets, we are very much in favor of these developments (in addition to corrupt city officials getting nailed to the wall, which is its own reward).
  • A gas leak at Fern Rock TC disrupted Broad Street Subway, bus, and Regional Rail service near the end of Wednesday morning’s rush hour. SEPTA’s ticktock and apology to disrupted riders was up on septa.org by the next morning, and is an exemplar of the genre. We applaud the clear communication with riders, which is, ah, traditionally lacking at SEPTA. May the trend continue.
  • An approaching winter storm today and tomorrow has yet to produce any SEPTA service disruptions, but NJT is cross-honoring bus, rail, and light rail fares today and tomorrow. Given that the Philadelphia area is only expected to get about 4-6 inches of snow, while New York gets 12″ and Boston gets 30″+, expect local transit to remain relatively undisrupted, especially compared to our neighbors to the northeast (best of luck to them!). Monitor SEPTA.org, RidePatco.org, NJTransit.com, and the Twitter feeds for service advisories. Be especially careful around slippery platform edges, consider leaving work early today if possible, to get out ahead of the storm’s arrival, and plan ahead in case you need to seek alternate transportation. Stay safe out there!
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