Project Description & Analysis
Project# 84642/60540 - Cost: $27,590 millionThe Jenkintown Station is served by SEPTA’s Suburban Bus Route 77 and SEPTA’s R1, R2, R3, and R5 Regional Rail Lines. The feasibility study performed by the Hiller Group, in conjunction with Cheltenham Township, Borough of Jenkintown, Montgomery County Planning Commission, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and SEPTA, included the design and construction of a multi-level 700 space parking garage at Jenkintown Station. The existing 543 parking lot is currently at capacity, and cannot be expanded further due to physical constraints of the site. Most parking spaces are filled by early morning by the commuter transit passengers, leaving little or no parking spaces for other passengers. The additional parking between bus and rail will encourage greater usage of public transportation. Jenkintown Station is spanned by the Greenwood Avenue Bridge, which is scheduled for replacement by PennDOT. SEPTA’s proposed construction of a parking garage and platform reconstruction work will be done in conjunction with the replacement of the Greenwood Avenue Bridge by PennDOT. SEPTA has obligated SAFETEA-LU earmarks to advance the design phase of the parking garage. In addition to the parking garage, SEPTA will be installing a new high level platform at Jenkintown Station, beginning at the station canopies, moving southbound to where the new parking garage will be located.
|Existing SEPTA garages at Frankford and Norristown have failed to remove commuters' cars from local streets. The daily cost to use a SEPTA garage is $3.15, which is a significant deterrent to use for most commuters. Cost, as a factor of demand, was omitted from SEPTA's Jenkintwon-Wyncote Parking Preferencs survey of 2009, which is now an outdated and irrelevant study.|
In March of 2010, Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, retained the services of Dr. Rachel Weinberger, from the University of Pennsylvania, to conduct an indepedent analysis and review of SEPTA's study and methodology of the Jenkintown garage project. Dr. Weinberger's analysis was stunning.
Dr. Weinberger's analysis revealed many miscalculations and inconsistencis with modern regional planning. Among them were the assumptions that walkers and bikers needed a place to park, the price of parking has no impact on parking demand at Jenkintown, fuel prices will increase the demand for parking at Jenkintown, and HNTB's (SEPTA's hired consultant) calculations for latent demand.
The outcome of Dr. Weinberger's analysis was that SEPTA and the Jenkintown and Wyncote communities would derive greater benefit
from reducing the current parking supply instead of increasing it.
Read Dr. Weinberger's analysis
An embarassed SEPTA and HNTB designer Kevin Williams accused Dr. Weinberger of using her students to perform the analysis and write the report at a public meeting in Cheltenham Township in April 2010. Jeff Knupple of SEPTA and Kevin Williams of HNTB attempted to deflect criticism from the community on the project, but were unable to win over a single supporter for the project out of the 350 residents and township officials present at the public meeting.
There have since been no public meetings regarding SEPTA's Jenkintown parking garage project, as the project is not supported by the local community.
PA-TEC, and the Cheltenham Chamber of Citizens, a local civic association, have each proposed several alternatives to constructing a costly, mammoth facility at Jenkintown-Wyncote station. These alternatives would serve the purpose of adding capacity and service at local SEPTA stations, to reduce the demand for parking at Jenkintown. The concept of "drawing down" demand at Jenkintown is also recommended in Dr. Weinberger's independent analysis.
|Jenkintown & Wyncote shuttle bus service (neighborhood jitney)||Short Term|
|Service Enhancements at Melrose Park, Elkins Park, North Hills||Short Term|
|Increased frequency on branch lines - Warminster/West Trenton||Short & Long Term|
|Warminster-Ivyland Service Extension||Long Term|
|Warminster NADC Parking lot utilization with shuttle buses||Short Term|
|Warminster parking expansion (garage or other)||Long Term|
|Doylestown Line service increase||Short/Long Term|
|Doylestown Line service enhancement (faster train speed)||Long Term|
|Fox Chase-Newtown Line service extension (incremental)||Long Term|
SEPTA, DVRPC, Leo Bagley & The Montgomery County Planning Commission, Rep. Allyson Schwartz and state Rep. Larry Curry have all refused to entertain any of the above alternatives to the Jenkintown-Wyncote parking edifice. Questions to the true need and motive for this and other SEPTA parking garages have arisen because numerous, superior alternatives to a parking garage that will add a meager 250 new parking spots, at a cost of $27 million dollars exist.
PA-TEC questions, and will continue to question these motives until the above agencies and individuals answer the many questions posed regarding the controversial SEPTA Jenkintown-Wyncote parking garage project.
As of December 2010, PA-TEC, the DVRPC's Regional Citizen's Committee and the Cheltenham Chamber of Citizens had requested to the
DVRPC board that a detailed transit needs analysis be performed in the Bucks-Montgomery County area to determine where the demand
for more parking and transit service is originating from, and how it can be best addressed.
Read the Study as defined by the DVRPC's RCC
The DVRPC board has refused to conduct a forthright study of the true regional transportation needs. This is a strong indicator that a real study will reveal the real transit challenges in the northern Philadelphia suburbs, which will require SEPTA, DVRPC and regional policy makers to abandon the inferior parking garage campaign, in favor of what the region truely needs - more rail service. Since these agencies and individuals fear the results of such a study, they have chosen to cling to failed policies and plans of the "Happy Motoring" mentality of the past.