Com­mis­sion­ers look to fu­ture — and the past

Springfield Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Os­car Gam­ble ogam­ble@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Ogam­ble_th on Twit­ter

NORRISTOWN » It’s full speed ahead for the King of Prus­sia Rail Project.

At the Nov. 2 Mont­gomery County Com­mis­sioner’s’ meet­ing, SEPTA’S Di­rec­tor of Strate­gic Plan­ning and Part­ner­ships El­iz­a­beth Smith laid out the de­tails of the project’s Draft En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact Study in a pre­sen­ta­tion high­light­ing the progress of the rail ex­ten­sion that will connect the Norristown High Speed Line to King of Prus­sia by way of the sub­way ter­mi­nal at 69th and Mar­ket streets in Up­per Darby into Cen­ter City Philadel­phia.

Smith out­lined sev­eral as­pects of the on­go­ing project be­gin­ning with an overview of its ne­ces­sity in or­der to serve the largest metro em­ploy­ment cen­ter beyond the city lim­its.

With 20 mil­lion visi­tors per year flock­ing to the shop­ping mecca that is the King of Prus­sia Mall and an ad­di­tional 2.1 mil­lion his­tory buffs and recre­ation afi­ciona­dos seek­ing out Val­ley Forge Na­tional His­tor­i­cal Park, the project aims to pro­vide faster and more ef­fi­cient trans­porta­tion to tourists and some of the 60,000 peo­ple who work in Up­per Me­rion, in­clud­ing 12,500 at the mall and 19,000 at area of­fice parks.

At a cost of $1.1 to $1.2 bil­lion, the “spur ex­ten­sion” — that will branch off from the ex­ist­ing rail sys­tem in Up­per Me­rion ad­ja­cent to Saulin Boule­vard and head through the mall com­plex, King of Prus­sia Busi­ness Park and ex­tend to­ward the area of the Val­ley Forge Casino Re­sort, which is a stone’s throw away from na­tional park grounds — is expected to nearly dou­ble rid­er­ship to close to 20,000 com­muters per day and slash com­mute times from 13th and Mar­ket streets in Philadel­phia to the busi­ness cam­pus in King of Prus­sia by more than an hour, Smith said.

Cur­rently, all di­rect routes from the city to the busi­ness cen­ter of King of Prus­sia are pro­vided by buses which must travel on the of­ten con­gested Schuylkill Ex­press­way.

Smith ex­pressed ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the in­put of local res­i­dents, who have voiced their opin­ions — both pro and con — re­gard­ing the pro­posed route and con­struc­tion is­sues per­tain­ing to the project.

One of the changes that sprang from the com­mu­nity meet­ings was a mod­i­fi­ca­tion in the project’s de­sign to the sec­tion of the el­e­vated (17 foot high) 4.5 mile tram line travers­ing the Pa. Turn­pike to al­le­vi­ate res­i­dents’ con­cerns in Val­ley Forge Homes and Brandy­wine Vil­lage. The pro­posed change will shift the rail line’s align­ment to dis­tance it from ex­ist­ing prop­er­ties in ac­cor­dance with the man­dated con­sid­er­a­tions•• of the Lo­cally Pre­ferred Al­ter­na­tive.

Com­mis­sion­ers’ Chair­woman Val Arkoosh said the county’s



An artists ren­der­ing of a por­tion of SEPTA’S King of Prus­sia Rail Project.


Mont­gomery County Com­mis­sion­ers Ken Lawrence, left, Val Arkoosh, sec­ond to left, and Joe Gale, right, con­grat­u­late Hor­sham Coun­cil­man Tom John­son and Man­ager Bill Walker on the town­ship’s tri­cen­ten­nial.

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