Manager touts rail station benefits
Transportation Management Association of Chester County focuses on a growing trend
DOWNINGTOWN » The Transportation Management Association of Chester County put the focus on a growing trend during its spring breakfast April 12.
More than 100 local business owners, engineering and planning firms and municipal officials were on hand for the event to participate in a discussion of Transit Oriented Developments.
According to keynote speaker Mark Evans, principal of Urban Design for BartonPartners, Transit Oriented Developments are, “A type of community development that includes a mix of residential, office, retail and other amenities integrated into a walkable neighborhood located within a half mile of quality public transportation.”
They are a growing trend, according to a Transportation Management Association of Chester County press release, because people are looking for cities with more places that are accessible through walking, biking and transit. Transit Oriented Develop-
ments also reduce the reliance on vehicles, which in turn reduces the amount of traffic congestion and improves air quality.
SEPTA’s General Manager, Jeffrey Knueppel was one of Transportation Management Association of Chester County’s featured speakers at the breakfast. He highlighted the upcoming improvements to the stations along the Keystone Corridor and how much these improvements benefit the area.
“A lot of home value in the four suburban counties is locked up based on how close they are to SEPTA,” he said, adding that a SEPTA consultant recently looked at home sales across the region.
“On average, suburban residential property values are 7.4 percent higher, totaling $14.5 billion in added home value, when they are located near a SEPTA Regional Rail Station,” he said.
Knueppel also shared information about the increased ridership at Chester County’s 10 rail stations since 2009. Among the stations with the biggest increases: Berwyn, up 34 percent; Exton, up 36 percent; and Malvern, up 66 percent.
He also talked about upgrades to the Paoli Train Station, which is slated to get a transportation center and parking garage.
An example of a Transit Oriented Development is the new River Station
Development in Downingtown, being designed by the Hankin Group, according to the release.
“Around this area, we have the rail station, the future extension of the Chester Valley Trail, the Struble Trail, bus access and it’s all in a really great school district,” Neal Fisher, project manager for Hankin Groups’ River Station Development said in the release. “This location was ripe for a great multimodal development.”
Hankin Group spent more than two years assembling 21 different parcels that comprise the estimated 70-acre tract of land located at the intersection of Boot Road and Pennsylvania Route 322 in Downingtown Borough and East Caln Township.
Steve Panko, PennDOT District-6 rail planning manager said projects like the one in Downingtown are made possible through integration and collaboration.
“Creating something new like a transit-oriented development works best when the public (PennDOT) and private sector integrate on what would otherwise be a standalone project,” he said in the release. “On the Downingtown project, PennDOT has been a part of the planning process for the project from the beginning. It’s made it an easier process to work through approvals and selecting the site. Continuing our collaboration is going to make it a better-connected development.”
For more information about Transportation Management Association of Chester County visit www. tmacc.org. To learn more about the investments being made along the Keystone Corridor in Chester County, visit www.planthekeystone.com.
Jeffrey Knueppel, general manager at SEPTA, speaks Thursday at the Transportation Management Association of Chester County spring breakfast. Knueppel says SEPTA facilities add property value depending on their distance to a home.
Neal Fisher, vice president of development at Hankin Group, speaks Thursday at the Transportation Management Association of Chester County spring breakfast.