Philadelphia (Northeast Philadelphia Corridor)

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Northeast Philadelphia Corridor

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(November 1996)


The City of Philadelphia and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) are considering new, fixed route transit services for the Northeast section of Philadelphia parallel to I-95 and Route 1 (Roosevelt Boulevard). At the same time, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is advancing a major reconstruction and intermodal project for I-95, and has been working with the City of Philadelphia, SEPTA, and Bucks County on various rail, transit, and park and ride components of the overall project. SEPTA and the city service proposals are intended to supplement the existing R3 line and R7 line Regional Rail Service, which traverses Northeast Philadelphia, and are separate from the rail and transit components of the pending I-95 reconstruction project.


Section 3035(qq) of ISTEA directed FTA to enter into a multiyear grant agreement with SEPTA for $0.4 million to provide for a study of the feasibility of instituting additional commuter rail service in the corridor. To date, Congress has not appropriated funds for the proposed study.

In 1995, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission completed the Northeast Philadelphia Rapid Transit Extension Study, which analyzed alternative alignments, potential ridership, costs and impacts of light rail and subway/elevated rapid transit to serve Northeast Philadelphia. The study focused on extensions of SEPTA's Broad Street subway and the Market Frankford Subway Elevated line, as well as possible light rail service. SEPTA's proposed Northeast Metro, which includes conversion of the R8 Fox Chase line to light rail service, use of CONRAIL's New York Short Line, and operation on local streets to the new Philadelphia Convention Center, were added to the Planning Commission's study at SEPTA's request. The study recommends advancement of the proposed subway and rapid transit extensions to a Major Investment Study (MIS).

The Northeast Metro was not recommended for advancement to an MIS due to the Planning Commission's belief that it did not serve the primary ridership market in the Northeast, or local business concerns along the American Street corridor. Local businesspersons objected to the proposed on-street, light rail service. SEPTA disagrees with the conclusions and recommendations of the technical study and believes the Northeast Metro concept warrants further analysis through a separate MIS process. Congress has not appropriated any funds for this project.