SEPTA to Ban Controversial Ads

An employee of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority raises his fist in the air, Friday, Oct. 28, 2005, while entering a SEPTA bus depot in north Philadelphia. | AP Photo, Joseph Kaczmarek

An employee of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority raises his fist in the air, Friday, Oct. 28, 2005, while entering a SEPTA bus depot in north Philadelphia. | AP Photo, Joseph Kaczmarek

SEPTA won’t be taking any more anti-Islam ads — but it won’t take any ads for guns or tobacco products on local buses, either.

The transit agency’s board is expected today to approve a new policy sharply restricting the types of ads riders will see while on local buses and trains. Among the types of content being banned: Anything involving politics, viewpoints about “economic, political, religious, historical or social issues,” content that is “disparaging, disreputable or disrespectful” to various individuals and groups, tobacco and gun advertising, and anything that “that threatens the
public image of SEPTA.” Read more »

The Media Is Vastly Underestimating SEPTA’s Constituency

Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

For the first time ever in a Philadelphia mayoral campaign, all of the candidates in this year’s primary tipped their proverbial hats to the importance of multimodal transit.

This was no more apparent than at the 2015 Better Mobility Forum, which was attended by five of the six Democratic contenders, along with Republican candidate Melissa Murray Bailey. The event, which was moderated by Citified, covered once-niche, increasingly mainstream topics like “Vision Zero,” the elitism of bike lanes, and ways to improve SEPTA. Half the candidates claimed to ride the bus to work, and Bailey said she is part of a SEPTA family.

Hosting a forum on matters of mobility, during the thick of election season no less, is one step forward for the nascent — but viable — political constituency surrounding transit issues, which includes bike advocates, civically-minded pedestrians, and residents who rely on public transportation. That last subset in particular — people dependent on SEPTA — is robust.

And yet, we in the press often minimize how many Philadelphians fall into that camp. Read more »

Here Are Maps of All of SEPTA’s Proposed Route Changes

Spring is here, which means it’s time for SEPTA’s annual planning ritual. The Annual Service Plan is where SEPTA lays out the route changes it intends to make in its bus and rail lines and puts them before you, the riding public, for feedback.

This year, SEPTA plans changes to 16 bus and rail routes in the city and the suburbs to improve operating efficiency and beef up service. Here’s a map of each proposed change with a brief explanation: Read more »

Real-Time Digital TransitScreens Coming to Center City Office Buildings

Commerce Square | Via: TransitScreen

Commerce Square | Via: TransitScreen

Commerce Square debuted a new outdoor digital screen that will actually be helpful to the throngs of office workers, commuters and visitors in Center City. Brandywine Realty Trust announced a partnership today with TransitScreen to introduce a digital hub that provides real-time updates on various forms of transportation, including SEPTA and New Jersey Transit schedules, Uber distance times, nearby car share locations and even Indego Bike Share docking info.

Essentially, the one-stop-shop allows you to choose the most convenient form of transportation for whatever trip you’re about to take. CityLab explains that the “goal is to focus on getting city residents to consider all their travel options before they ever leave” and proclaimed that the tech belongs “in every lobby.”

Here’s what that info might look like on the giant LED screen or on a TV in the lobby of the building: Read more »

SEPTA Announces Trenton Line Contingency Plan in Wake of Amtrak Crash

Photo | Sandy Smith

SEPTA deputy general manager Joe Knueppel. Photo | Sandy Smith

The crash of Amtrak train 188 at Frankford Junction last night also threw SEPTA’s Trenton Regional Rail line out of commission. After throwing extra trains on nearby lines for this morning’s commute, SEPTA officials this afternoon outlined their alternate plans for getting the Trenton Line’s 12,000 daily riders to and from Center City while Amtrak repairs the damage on the Northeast Corridor.

Deputy General Manager Joe Knueppel gave the details at a news conference at SEPTA’s control center at its Center City headquarters. The alternate services consist of: Read more »

SEPTA and Acela Trains Struck Before Amtrak Crash [UPDATED]

Graphic by Jamie Leary, Phillymag.com

Graphic by Jamie Leary, Phillymag.com

UPDATE, 5/13/2015, 3 p.m.: At an afternoon press conference, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said that the SEPTA and Amtrak Acela trains that were struck within five miles and twenty minutes of the deadly Amtrak derailment are unrelated to the crash. “That may have been stones or rocks,” he responded when asked about reports of projectiles hitting the two trains. “Nothing to do with this particular incident.” Meanwhile, SEPTA has updated the time of its incident from 9:25 p.m. to 9:10 p.m.

ORIGINAL:

SEPTA officials have confirmed that an “unknown projectile” broke the engineer’s window on a SEPTA Regional Rail train on Tuesday night along the same corridor as the deadly Amtrak crash. And according to a passenger on the 8 p.m. Acela train from New York to Philadelphia, that train was struck as well. Read more »

Derailment Update: Investigation Begins; East Coast Travel Affected

A crime scene investigator looks inside a train car after a train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia. An Amtrak train headed to New York City derailed and crashed in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek)

A crime scene investigator looks inside a train car after a train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia. An Amtrak train headed to New York City derailed and crashed in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek)

[Update 7 a.m.] A press conference was held just now at Temple University Hospital; Dr. Herbert Cushing says a sixth person in the accident has died. Eight are in critical condition. Most of the injured had arm, leg, and rib injuries.

[Original 6:29 a.m.] Good morning. Here are the latest things we know about Tuesday night’s deadly derailment of an Amtrak passenger train in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia:

The death toll remains at 5: Six other people were said to be in critical condition; more than 140 people were taken to the hospital.

Transit around Philadelphia, and in the Northeast Corridor, remains deeply affected. SEPTA’s Chestnut Hill West line is operating with delays; the Trenton line is suspended until further notice. Amtrak, meanwhile, says: “modified Amtrak service will be provided between Washington and Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and New York and Boston. There will be no Amtrak service between New York and Philadelphia, but New Jersey Transit will honor Amtrak tickets between New York City and Trenton.”

The investigation has just begun. “Neither Amtrak nor the Federal Railroad Administration has yet discussed potential causes,” Politico reports.

But one of America’s deadliest train crashes took place at almost the exact same spot in 1943. The Frankford Junction Crash killed 79 people and injured 117.

And political debates are already started: The derailment came on the eve of a Congressional hearing to cut Amtrak’s budget, and seems certain to renew the debate over infrastructure spending.

For now, stay away. USA Today reports: “Police in Philadelphia issued a statement asking members of the public not to go anywhere near the scene of the derailment to allow first responders to do their jobs.”
Read more »

The Roosevelt Boulevard Subway Is Dead … Unless It Isn’t

Renderings of (clockwise from left) the Roosevelt Boulevard Subway Extension viewed from the Northeast and two views of a proposed Northeast town center at Cottman Avenue Station, all circa the Philadelpha City Planning Commission's 2003 Roosevelt Boulevard Corridor Study.

SUBWAY DAYDREAMING: Renderings of (clockwise from left) the Roosevelt Boulevard Subway Extension viewed from the Northeast and two views of a proposed Northeast town center at Cottman Avenue Station, all circa the Philadelpha City Planning Commission’s 2003 Roosevelt Boulevard Corridor Study.

If you haven’t been paying attention to tunnel-digging news out of the Pacific Northwest — and, I get it, you probably haven’t — you should know that out in Seattle they have a giant tunnel-boring machine called “Bertha,” and that Bertha got stuck a few hundred feet into its job of digging a two-mile-long highway. She was finally freed last month for repairs and once she’s back in business, work on the long-stalled project to replace an aging freeway viaduct will resume.

Total price tag for the two-mile tunnel: $3 billion.

Why should anyone in Philadelphia care about this?

Well, according to at least one regional planning official quoted in the press, that’s about how much it would cost to build a subway-elevated line (including a tunnel) more than four times as long along Roosevelt Boulevard (though, okay, another study put the price tag closer to $4.6 billion). Read more »

WATCH: SEPTA Bus Crashes on Columbus Boulevard

SEPTA released surveillance footage yesterday evening of the bus that crashed while attempting to make a U-turn on Columbus Boulevard earlier this week. The video shows passengers and the driver — who was not wearing a seat belt — being thrown onto the floor of the bus. Read more »

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