Why Can't SEPTA's Subway System Look Like This?

Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.

Moderator: AlexC

PhilliesPhan2013
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:03 am

Why Can't SEPTA's Subway System Look Like This?

Post by PhilliesPhan2013 » Sun Aug 03, 2014 3:49 am

As a college honor student, I am beginning to plan out my honor's thesis. So far, I have two ideas: my first idea involves a detailed history of rail operations in the Philadelphia area, and the second one is more of an urban planning long-term transit solution for the Philadelphia area. In coming up with a heavy rail mass transit map (not including Route 100), I actually designed a map that would be very functional for Philly.

http://www.scribblemaps.com/maps/view/K1g74aM4dg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Why can't Philadelphia have a subway system like this? I think that this would make transit in Center City and the surrounding neighborhoods of Philly much more efficient.

Quick information:

MFL: New western terminus at 476, new northeastern terminus at Busleton Ave and Strahle St.
BSL: New southern terminus at Market St and Broadway in Gloucester City, NJ. BSL Roosevelt Blvd extension is built with a northeastern terminus at Woodhaven Rd.
PATCO: New western terminus at 38th St in University City.
Broad-Ridge Spur: Renamed "Airport Spur". New southeastern terminus at Terminal A of Philadelphia International Airport on Delaware County side of airport.
Purple Line: City Avenue to Sports Complex. Hits tourists destinations such as the Art Museum, Penn's Landing, Philly Zoo, and Museum District.
Green Line: Academy Road at Franklin Mills Mall to Health District at University Avenue and Civic Center Boulevard.
Teal Lines: To be named "20th Street Subway" and "5th Street Subway", respectively. 20th Street Subway will go from 20th and Pattison to 29th and Hunting Park Avenue. 5th Street Subway will go from 20th and Pattison to 5th and Cheltenham Avenue. Four track mainline between 20th and Pattison and 20th and Passyunk.
If I fail to make it to medical school, I will become a SEPTA engineer.

Clearfield
Posts: 1980
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 9:36 pm
Location: Montgomery County, PA

Re: Why Can't SEPTA's Subway System Look Like This?

Post by Clearfield » Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:00 am

PhilliesPhan2013 wrote:As a college honor student, I am beginning to plan out my honor's thesis. So far, I have two ideas: my first idea involves a detailed history of rail operations in the Philadelphia area, and the second one is more of an urban planning long-term transit solution for the Philadelphia area. In coming up with a heavy rail mass transit map (not including Route 100), I actually designed a map that would be very functional for Philly.

http://www.scribblemaps.com/maps/view/K1g74aM4dg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Why can't Philadelphia have a subway system like this? I think that this would make transit in Center City and the surrounding neighborhoods of Philly much more efficient.

Quick information:

MFL: New western terminus at 476, new northeastern terminus at Busleton Ave and Strahle St.
BSL: New southern terminus at Market St and Broadway in Gloucester City, NJ. BSL Roosevelt Blvd extension is built with a northeastern terminus at Woodhaven Rd.
PATCO: New western terminus at 38th St in University City.
Broad-Ridge Spur: Renamed "Airport Spur". New southeastern terminus at Terminal A of Philadelphia International Airport on Delaware County side of airport.
Purple Line: City Avenue to Sports Complex. Hits tourists destinations such as the Art Museum, Penn's Landing, Philly Zoo, and Museum District.
Green Line: Academy Road at Franklin Mills Mall to Health District at University Avenue and Civic Center Boulevard.
Teal Lines: To be named "20th Street Subway" and "5th Street Subway", respectively. 20th Street Subway will go from 20th and Pattison to 29th and Hunting Park Avenue. 5th Street Subway will go from 20th and Pattison to 5th and Cheltenham Avenue. Four track mainline between 20th and Pattison and 20th and Passyunk.
Its a great idea for a thesis and there were many plans over the years to expand existing lines and create new ones. Each plan died on the drawing board because of political squabbles, lack of money, or basic lack of will on the part of politicians.

If you proceed with the thesis, you should allow plenty of space to explain why those lines were never built. Most people who know transit in the area are aware of the two grade-separated junctions at Erie and Olney. Less obvious is the provision for the Passyunk ave branch just north of Snyder Ave. Every failure in Phildelphia transit has a story whether in the era of the PTC or SEPTA or P&W or Red Arrow.

As an aside, there was a great highway network planned for the region, with each new highway denoted by a different color. ALL died the same death as transit expansions (for various reasons, especially NIMBYs) EXCEPT for I476 known as the Blue Route since it was drawn in blue and it took YEARS to happen.
"The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or the one".............. Spock

My opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of any organization, Association, or Authority.

Chessie GM50
Posts: 862
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2007 9:19 pm
Location: Hillsborough, NJ

Re: Why Can't SEPTA's Subway System Look Like This?

Post by Chessie GM50 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:54 am

PhilliesPhan2013 wrote:As a college honor student, I am beginning to plan out my honor's thesis. So far, I have two ideas: my first idea involves a detailed history of rail operations in the Philadelphia area, and the second one is more of an urban planning long-term transit solution for the Philadelphia area. In coming up with a heavy rail mass transit map (not including Route 100), I actually designed a map that would be very functional for Philly.

http://www.scribblemaps.com/maps/view/K1g74aM4dg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Why can't Philadelphia have a subway system like this? I think that this would make transit in Center City and the surrounding neighborhoods of Philly much more efficient.

Quick information:

MFL: New western terminus at 476, new northeastern terminus at Busleton Ave and Strahle St.
BSL: New southern terminus at Market St and Broadway in Gloucester City, NJ. BSL Roosevelt Blvd extension is built with a northeastern terminus at Woodhaven Rd.
PATCO: New western terminus at 38th St in University City.
Broad-Ridge Spur: Renamed "Airport Spur". New southeastern terminus at Terminal A of Philadelphia International Airport on Delaware County side of airport.
Purple Line: City Avenue to Sports Complex. Hits tourists destinations such as the Art Museum, Penn's Landing, Philly Zoo, and Museum District.
Green Line: Academy Road at Franklin Mills Mall to Health District at University Avenue and Civic Center Boulevard.
Teal Lines: To be named "20th Street Subway" and "5th Street Subway", respectively. 20th Street Subway will go from 20th and Pattison to 29th and Hunting Park Avenue. 5th Street Subway will go from 20th and Pattison to 5th and Cheltenham Avenue. Four track mainline between 20th and Pattison and 20th and Passyunk.
Believe it or not, I completed a similar project last year. My best advice to you would be the employment of arcGIS in the project. Talk to your schools geography department (or even just a professor.) In my experience at Rutgers, provided they have time in their schedule, you'll wind up with either access time behind a computer with the program loaded in it, or even a crash course on the subject. In my case, I found a shapefile of every known railroad ROW to exist in NJ and worked off of that. I'd assume you could find something similar for PA.

Additionally, use open source resources! You'd be amazed at what others have compiled and essentially donate to sites such as open street map. In terms of feasibility, I'd say to go for it. Like anything else, half the battle is taking interest in your work.

PhilliesPhan2013
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:03 am

Re: Why Can't SEPTA's Subway System Look Like This?

Post by PhilliesPhan2013 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:19 pm

Thank you, both! I think that my honor's thesis will now be a combination of my two proposed ideas. Since Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley is expected to grow, and SEPTA's ridership is projected to grow to 4.5 million by 2020, adding in the suburbs could enhance the overall value of my thesis. Sometime during the semester, I will also begin to create maps of future light rail (trolleys, specifically) and regional rail service within the five-county service area, other PA counties, Delaware, and New Jersey. I may also include Maryland and New York in my maps because of the demand for a one seat SEPTA ride to New York City, and for the demand for a cheaper alternative to Amtrak when traveling to Washington, D.C. SEPTA could complete this link by having trains go to Perryville in Elkton County, which is in the Philadelphia Combined Statistical Area.
Chessie GM50 wrote:
PhilliesPhan2013 wrote:As a college honor student, I am beginning to plan out my honor's thesis. So far, I have two ideas: my first idea involves a detailed history of rail operations in the Philadelphia area, and the second one is more of an urban planning long-term transit solution for the Philadelphia area. In coming up with a heavy rail mass transit map (not including Route 100), I actually designed a map that would be very functional for Philly.

http://www.scribblemaps.com/maps/view/K1g74aM4dg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Why can't Philadelphia have a subway system like this? I think that this would make transit in Center City and the surrounding neighborhoods of Philly much more efficient.

Quick information:

MFL: New western terminus at 476, new northeastern terminus at Busleton Ave and Strahle St.
BSL: New southern terminus at Market St and Broadway in Gloucester City, NJ. BSL Roosevelt Blvd extension is built with a northeastern terminus at Woodhaven Rd.
PATCO: New western terminus at 38th St in University City.
Broad-Ridge Spur: Renamed "Airport Spur". New southeastern terminus at Terminal A of Philadelphia International Airport on Delaware County side of airport.
Purple Line: City Avenue to Sports Complex. Hits tourists destinations such as the Art Museum, Penn's Landing, Philly Zoo, and Museum District.
Green Line: Academy Road at Franklin Mills Mall to Health District at University Avenue and Civic Center Boulevard.
Teal Lines: To be named "20th Street Subway" and "5th Street Subway", respectively. 20th Street Subway will go from 20th and Pattison to 29th and Hunting Park Avenue. 5th Street Subway will go from 20th and Pattison to 5th and Cheltenham Avenue. Four track mainline between 20th and Pattison and 20th and Passyunk.
Believe it or not, I completed a similar project last year. My best advice to you would be the employment of arcGIS in the project. Talk to your schools geography department (or even just a professor.) In my experience at Rutgers, provided they have time in their schedule, you'll wind up with either access time behind a computer with the program loaded in it, or even a crash course on the subject. In my case, I found a shapefile of every known railroad ROW to exist in NJ and worked off of that. I'd assume you could find something similar for PA.

Additionally, use open source resources! You'd be amazed at what others have compiled and essentially donate to sites such as open street map. In terms of feasibility, I'd say to go for it. Like anything else, half the battle is taking interest in your work.
Thank you so much for this information! To be honest, I did not know that something like this existed! I will most certainly ask my college and see if they have anything similar to this type of technology.
If I fail to make it to medical school, I will become a SEPTA engineer.

25Hz
Posts: 4624
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:06 pm
Location: Newtown, PA (or PATH towards WTC)

Re: Why Can't SEPTA's Subway System Look Like This?

Post by 25Hz » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:46 pm

I would support such a system, sadly the money and the will is lacking.

Have you developed timetables, equipment rotations, etc?
Next stop the square, journal square station next!

gprimr1
Posts: 3905
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:39 pm
Location: Towson Maryland

Re: Why Can't SEPTA's Subway System Look Like This?

Post by gprimr1 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:47 pm

DId you consider connecting the light blue line with the purple line? Have them both meet at the sports complex. That gives you two lines to get people to the stadiums, and easier cross access for south philly.
-Greg Primrose
Moderator: General Discussion: High Speed Rail Amtrak
"I'm leaving on a jet train, don't know when I'll be back again. Bags are packed and there ready to go."
Ave Atque Vale

PhilliesPhan2013
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:03 am

Re: Why Can't SEPTA's Subway System Look Like This?

Post by PhilliesPhan2013 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:44 pm

25Hz wrote:I would support such a system, sadly the money and the will is lacking.

Have you developed timetables, equipment rotations, etc?
I will develop timetables throughout the rest of the week! I am also still looking at the equipment that would be on the new lines. I may also consider buying new subway sets for my proposed Airport Spur.
gprimr1 wrote:DId you consider connecting the light blue line with the purple line? Have them both meet at the sports complex. That gives you two lines to get people to the stadiums, and easier cross access for south philly.
[/quote]

That is an awesome idea! I will try that later on tonight and see how that looks! Visualizing it right now, I may have it make a right turn on 20th and Pattison and head towards the Stadium Complex!
If I fail to make it to medical school, I will become a SEPTA engineer.

SubwayTim
Posts: 516
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: Aston, Pennsylvania

Re: Why Can't SEPTA's Subway System Look Like This?

Post by SubwayTim » Tue Aug 05, 2014 2:20 pm

Did you ever consider a line running on the 25th Street viaduct in South Philly between Washington and Passyunk Aves.??? I've often referred to that viaduct as the "South Philly El" and always thought it would be ideal for transit and/or Regional Rail use...especially since there is no Regional Rail service to South Philly.
You take the midnight subway train...You're calling all the shots...You're struck by lightning...You're in love. RATT, 1985

User avatar
60 Car
Posts: 159
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:53 pm

Re: Why Can't SEPTA's Subway System Look Like This?

Post by 60 Car » Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:56 am

Assuming any of this could happen (I think we'll be skiing in hell first), what is the reasoning for stopping the MFSE at I-476?

There is not a lot of land available there for any kind of park & ride lot.
Why not extend to Newtown Sq, or better yet, West Chester?

loufah
Posts: 419
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:47 am

Re: Why Can't SEPTA's Subway System Look Like This?

Post by loufah » Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:17 am

I was about to ask the same thing. There may be space for a park and ride at 476 & West Chester Pike, but absent that, the ridership along West Chester Pike between 476 and 69th Street is small compared to the existing MFL. I'd say that each 104 bus has 10 to 20 riders that get on or get off at points between 69th Street and Lawrence Rd. A 6-car MFL train extended west of 69th street is likely not worth it. There are also some busy cross streets along West Chester Pike; a long MFL train would need to be in a tunnel or elevated. There is room for a single-track trolley in the median, and it could be a couple cars long, and many people here would love to have that trolley to West Chester back.

PhilliesPhan2013
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:03 am

Re: Why Can't SEPTA's Subway System Look Like This?

Post by PhilliesPhan2013 » Wed Aug 06, 2014 2:26 pm

60 Car wrote:Assuming any of this could happen (I think we'll be skiing in hell first), what is the reasoning for stopping the MFSE at I-476?

There is not a lot of land available there for any kind of park & ride lot.
Why not extend to Newtown Sq, or better yet, West Chester?
"Skiing in hell"...lmfao! Originally, I had the MFL's western terminus at Newtown Square, but I soon pushed it back to I-476 because of the possibility of a park-and-ride complex. I was originally thinking about extending the MFL to Gay Street in West Chester, but I am exploring the possibility of reopening the Route 104 trolley. The major obstacle is left turns for traffic turning out of West Chester Pike. If I fail to come up with a trolley alternative, I will most likely extend the MFL to Gay Street in my draft. All of my map is sunject to revision when it actually comes time to write my honors thesis.
loufah wrote:I was about to ask the same thing. There may be space for a park and ride at 476 & West Chester Pike, but absent that, the ridership along West Chester Pike between 476 and 69th Street is small compared to the existing MFL. I'd say that each 104 bus has 10 to 20 riders that get on or get off at points between 69th Street and Lawrence Rd. A 6-car MFL train extended west of 69th street is likely not worth it. There are also some busy cross streets along West Chester Pike; a long MFL train would need to be in a tunnel or elevated. There is room for a single-track trolley in the median, and it could be a couple cars long, and many people here would love to have that trolley to West Chester back.
That is exactly why I extended it to I-476! Furthermore, this is why I have the Roosevelt Blvd spur going to Woodhaven Road instead of terminating on Red Lion Road. I also may extend the MFL up Busleton Avenue to the Philmont or Somerset station on the West Trenton Line and have like some type of transportation center-like thing going on.

I, too, think that trolley travel to West Chester is the absolute best option. When I come up with my trolley map sometime this month, a new Route 104 will definitely be on there. The only two issues I see are, as I mentioned above, left turns, and also headways. If the new line does become single tracked, then there should definitely be passing loops at certain points along the line to ensure headways good enough for rapid transit.
If I fail to make it to medical school, I will become a SEPTA engineer.

jackintosh11
Posts: 970
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:24 pm
Location: Philadelphia

Re: Why Can't SEPTA's Subway System Look Like This?

Post by jackintosh11 » Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:13 pm

Add a subway line through Chestnut Hill, Mount Airy, and Germantown, merging with the BSL at Erie. The 23 is the bus line with the highest ridership.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXu4mb ... 8cuxblPB9g Videos, including SEPTA time lapses.

PhilliesPhan2013
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:03 am

Re: Why Can't SEPTA's Subway System Look Like This?

Post by PhilliesPhan2013 » Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:32 am

jackintosh11 wrote:Add a subway line through Chestnut Hill, Mount Airy, and Germantown, merging with the BSL at Erie. The 23 is the bus line with the highest ridership.
This is a great idea! In fact, I originally had my purple line going onto Germantown Ave. What I may do now is add a two track branch line from the Erie station to Chelten Ave. Then, coming east via School House Lane, have the purple line merge into the branch line at the proposed Chelten station to form a four track mainline until the terminus of the line. A few proposed termini that I have in mind would be: Bethlehem Pike, Northwestern Avenue, or Joshua Road.

The cheaper alternative to the aforementioned post would be to have the purple line terminate at Chelten and Germantown Avenues, connecting to the BSL "Northwest Spur". There could be a transportation center set up in this area.
If I fail to make it to medical school, I will become a SEPTA engineer.

BuddCar711
Posts: 414
Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 12:13 pm

Re: Why Can't SEPTA's Subway System Look Like This?

Post by BuddCar711 » Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:43 am

jackintosh11 wrote:Add a subway line through Chestnut Hill, Mount Airy, and Germantown, merging with the BSL at Erie. The 23 is the bus line with the highest ridership.
Wasn't there a proposal of converting one of the two regional rail lines (the R7 Chestnut Hill East) into a subway line?

Push/Pull Master
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:48 pm

Re: Why Can't SEPTA's Subway System Look Like This?

Post by Push/Pull Master » Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:16 am

BuddCar711 wrote:
jackintosh11 wrote:Add a subway line through Chestnut Hill, Mount Airy, and Germantown, merging with the BSL at Erie. The 23 is the bus line with the highest ridership.
Wasn't there a proposal of converting one of the two regional rail lines (the R7 Chestnut Hill East) into a subway line?
Yeah, there was. The CHE would have tunneled under Wayne Junction and connect to the BSL's express tracks at Erie. It was nothing more than a concept.

Return to “SEPTA (and PATCO)”