Sunday, March 20, 2005


According to the Lansdale Reporter, a North Wales woman was struck by an outbound R5 train (the #1526) as it was departing North Wales station yesterday morning. The victim was taken to North Wales Elementary School then airlifted to UPenn Hospital, where she was listed in critical condition with non life-threatening injuries.

An officer with North Wales Borough police said the woman‚ whose name was not released‚ was hit and then thrown back about 10 feet while attempting to run across the tracks at the corner of the sidewalk on the southern side of East Walnut Street. ...

He said the North Wales police chief can release information on accidents‚ but nothing would be immediately released because the chief is away for a week.

Goltz said her name would not be released until relatives are notified.

“We had a real quick response to the scene‚ about three minutes‚” he said.

The northbound SEPTA R-5 to Doylestown sat idle in the middle of the intersection at 10:30 a.m. A small pool of blood lay in the middle of the road‚ about five feet from the tracks.

Douglas Freeman‚ of North Philadelphia‚ was riding the R-5 to his job in Colmar. He witnessed the aftermath of the impact.

“They were cutting her clothes off and her face was really bloody‚” Freeman said. “We were coming in to stop and (the engineer) slowed up. Next thing‚ the lady got hit.” Freeman said the woman was running across the tracks to beat the train.

“The police said she was deaf‚” Freeman said. “The train didn’t do anything wrong. In my opinion‚ the engineer was abiding by the safety rules.”

North Wales Mayor Doug Ross said the track crossing gates are relatively new.

“They were replaced about nine years ago after a 9-year-old resident‚ Frances McReynolds‚ was hit‚” he said. “We lobbied to get that crossing replaced.”

Lansdale Reporter

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


In a very dramatic scene at last month's Rubber-stamp Meeting of the SEPTA Board (if you consider reading from a script dramatic), SEPTA Board Chairman/Radio Impresario/Turnpike Commissioner/Land Developer Extraordinaire/Former Convention Center Board Member and all around weasel Pasquale T. Deon, Sr. was (ahem) elected to a seventh term as Chairman and CMO (Chief Micro-Managing Officer) of SEPTA Board. Deon served as Vice Chairman under former Delaware County Council President Tom Hayward in 1998, replacing Richard Voith (and a lot of people who follow SEPTA from the outside still miss Mr. Voith's voice of reason on the board) who had left the board for non-political reasons, before being elected Chairman the following year (and it's no coincidence that the western suburbs have been relegated to second class status compared to Bucks and Montgomery County since Deon has been Chairman).

In an even bigger shock with much drama (yes, that is sarcasm), James C. Schwartzman was re-elected Vice Chairman of the SEPTA Board, also for a seventh term. Schwartzman - a Republican from Radnor who was appointed by the Minority Leader of the Pennsylvania Senate (who is a Democrat) - has served on the SEPTA Board since 1991.

(And, if you haven't noticed, I just cut and pasted the same post that I wrote last year, and the year before that.)

Friday, March 04, 2005


A public meeting will be held on Friday, March 18 in the Board Room at 1234 Market to discuss the preliminary FY 2006 Annual Service Plan. The meeting will begin at 10:00am. Among the proposed changes that will be discussed:
  • Route 1 would be extended to Philadelphia Park in Bensalem Township, Bucks County; in addition, a route revision along Decatur and Red Lion Roads near Northeast Philadelphia Airport, which would eliminate the routing via Grant and Academy in favor of operating via Roosevelt Blvd, Comly Rd, Decatur, Red Lion, and Drummond Rd.
  • Route 3 would be re-routed to offer direct service to the Temple University Regional Rail station, operating via Berks between 9 and 10 St (pending the city's approval to allow two-way traffic along Berks as far west at 10 St).
  • Route 14 would operate direct service into the Horizon Corporate Center in Bensalem Township.
  • Route 20 would be split into two routes: the 20 would remain unchanged, with some modifications to the express routing, which would operate via Roosevelt Blvd; new Route 50 would would operate over most of the same route, however it would bypass Keswick (which would still be served by the 20). The apparent goal is to make the 50 the primary route between Bridge-Pratt and Philadelphia Park. Some 20 and 50 trips would be extended from Franklin Mills to Philadelphia Park.
  • Route 47 southbound service would be re-routed off of N 8 St onto N 6 St between Susquehanna and Cecil B Moore to offer direct service to the Gateway Plaza retail complex.
  • The long discussed split of Route 96 would also take place: the 96 would still operate between Norristown and Lansdale, while new Route 132 would operate between Montgomery Mall and Telford, with new service to Central Montgomery Medical Center via Broad St, Horsham Rd, and N Wales Rd.
  • Route 97 would be split into two routes: the 97 would still operate between Norristown and Spring Mill Regional Rail Station, however, service would be extended to the Barren Hill district of Whitemarsh Twp, via Hector St, Cedar Grove Ln, Joshua Rd, Germantown Pk, Church Rd, and Ridge Pk; new Route 90 would operate between Norristown and E Norriton Crossing (nee Penn Square) with a revised routing through Norristown State Hospital.
  • Route 98 service through the Blue Bell district of Whitpain Twp would be adjusted; evening westbound service would bypass Blue Bell and operate via Germantown Pike, as would all weekend service in both directions.
  • Route 129 would be modified in two locations, which have not been disclosed as of yet (the 129 map was not included in the packet that I recieved).

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ran an editorial in today's editions regarding Monday's bailout of SEPTA and other transit agencies by Gov. Edward G. Rendell (D-Pa./Comcast SportsNet):

The governor will divert $68 million from federal highway funds to get the Port Authority of Allegheny County and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority through the end of this fiscal year. If the state Legislature doesn't devise a more dedicated funding stream after that, Mr. Rendell says he'll divert millions more in highway dollars to keep both agencies afloat next year.

Oh, the irony: Poorly managed mass transit is saved by its aficionados' bane -- the car.
The operative words as it lreates to SEPTA are "poorly managed" though I don't know enough about Pittsburgh's transit agency to say the same thing about them...

Part of Rendell's deal, though, is the creation of a nine-member state Transportation Funding and Reform Commission. One of its missions is to find ways to cut costs, enhance efficiencies and improve service. There will be an external audit of operations and review by an outside management consultant.

Bravo! As long as the appointees (five by the governor and four by the Legislature) are honest brokers, that is. Too many such boards are rubber stamps for an ever-deeper dive into taxpayer pockets. If this board does not recommend a considerable shake-up of the Port Authority and SEPTA, we'll know it's a sham.

Mass transit is broken in this commonwealth. The opportunity is golden to fix it -- not through more government folly but through the competitive market model. Let's get on with it.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
It should be pointed out that unlike the two far-left-of-center leaning rags in Philadelphia - The Inquirer and Daily News - the Tribune-Review leans further to the right-of-center, hence the "competitive market" suggestion. Which, to be fair, can't be any worse than what exists now...


A G bus was involved in an accident in Southwest Philadelphia last night. According to overhead footage from CBS 3, 5613 was heading north towards Overbrook when a car struck the vehicle from the street side. Three people were injured - the driver of the car and two passengers on the bus.