Man­ager touts rail sta­tion ben­e­fits

Trans­porta­tion Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion of Ch­ester County fo­cuses on a grow­ing trend

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Neal Fisher, vice pres­i­dent of de­vel­op­ment at Hankin Group, speaks Thurs­day at the Trans­porta­tion Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion of Ch­ester County spring break­fast.

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