Tuesday, August 17, 2004


Today's Bucks County Courier Times has a report on angry commuters who use the Yardley station on the R3 West Trenton Line in Lower Makefield Twp. Apparently, some commuters feel as though they've been disrespected, despite living in one of the wealthest areas not located in the People's Republic of Lower Merion:
Is a fence at Yardley's train station a safety feature or an annoyance?

Some regular train commuters say the fence, which blocks people from crossing the tracks, isn't necessary. Many stations allow people to cross the tracks instead of walking over a bridge or under a tunnel, they point out, so why can't Yardley?

But SEPTA officials say the fence, which was installed four years ago, protects people from getting hit by a train and has to stay.

"SEPTA is sticking it to the people of Yardley," said borough resident Bob White.
Bucks County Courier Times

Yeah, if saving lives is "sticking it" to passengers, then deal with it...
He complained that the walk from one side of the tracks to the other is too long and can be dangerous. Riders who need to get from the main parking lot to the northbound platform have to walk down some stairs, through a tunnel under
the tracks, and up a grassy pathway.

If you're running late or the weather is bad, that makes it even worse, he added. He said he's seen senior citizens and overweight people struggle.

"This is just not the way it's supposed to be," White said. "There is no reason a section or two of that fence can't be removed so people can cross the tracks as they did for 100 years."

According to SEPTA spokesman Felipe Suarez, the agency installs fences
"wherever [it] is feasibly possible." If some stations allow people to cross the
tracks, that's because it wasn't possible to build an alternate route - like a
tunnel or bridge, he said.

The fence isn't a sign that SEPTA has anything against Yardley, Suarez said.

The fence met with much opposition after it was installed in March 2000. Commuters began hopping it instead of using the tunnel, and SEPTA cracked
down by issuing $300 fines for illegally crossing the tracks.

"We're more interested in saving lives, and we'll do everything we can to ensure that we do," Suarez said.
Courier Times

That would actually be a first for this administration...
White said he's been concerned about the station for a while, but he recently voiced his concerns at a Yardley Council meeting. Council President Chris Harding said the borough's public safety committee would look into the issue.

Mayor Ed Johnson said he absolutely doesn't want the fence removed. After working as a train engineer on that railroad [CSX - ed.] for 40 years, Johnson said he knows that it would be extremely dangerous without the fence.

"There are freight trains running that line at 60 mph, and the visibility is poor [because of a bend in the tracks and the dense trees]," he said. "It's very scary as an engineer to sit up there and see people walking across."
Courier Times

Open and shut, right? Oh, the angry commuters of Yardley aren't done bitching yet...
It's not just the long walk that has some residents concerned.

Frequent train commuter Leslie Shanks said she'd like to see the grassy pathway paved. "It's not fun walking down it in these shoes," she said, pointing to the platform heels she was wearing.
Courier Times

Memo to Ms. Shanks. May we suggest wearing appropriate footware if you're so concerned about dirtying your shoes? That said, it certainly doesn't seem unreasonable to improve the pathway...
Ken Bowers agreed.

"SEPTA doesn't maintain it. [The grass path] gets muddy when it rains, and it's annoying," he said. "I could see how someone could easily fall."

White's complaints about the train station don't end with the walkway, either. He said a shelter is needed on the northbound side of the tracks. There's one on the southbound side for people waiting to take the train into Philadelphia.
Courier Times

Why don't they just ask for people to wipe the dirt off their shoes at no extra cost or personalized attention? Most people who live in the Yardley area (at least Upper and Lower Makefield) tend to be wealthy and snobbishly obnoxious, so it's not like they can't afford it...
Suarez said that's simply because more people take the train into Philadelphia. Courier Times

"We don't see enough passengers on the other side to justify putting up a shelter," he said. "There is only one stop, West Trenton, after Yardley on that side."

White said he hopes SEPTA will change its mind about the fence and the shelter.

"Yardley is being discriminated against," he said. "If I were on council, I would talk to Lower Makefield officials and approach SEPTA together."
Courier Times

We're certain that some cheese would be served along with some cheap whine if such a meeting were to take place...

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