SEPTA, Wawa proposals get hearings tonight

We wanted to remind everyone about two events taking place tonight, each of which promises to have a major impact on our community.

At 4 PM, SEPTA will stage an open house to unveil its plans for the Jenkintown-Wyncote station in collaboration with JOSS Realty. From its renderings, JOSS plans to build a mixed-use retail/office structure at the wedge of property at the corner of Greenwood and Township Line road on the Cheltenham side.

We also expect SEPTA to unveil more details for its plans to build a new parking garage along with its planned ADA-compliant train platforms.

This proposal continues to fan the flames of controversy, especially since Cheltenham Township received a counter-study discounting the feasibility of SEPTA’s own studies. The seven page report makes dozens of excellent points rebutting the need for the station. Several points refer to the creation of induced demand or the fallacy of ever trying to satisfy demand by building more supply without raising prices. According to the study:

The implicit assumption is that supply should be expanded to accommodate the demand for $1 parking. This is a narrow view of how to manage a transportation system. Indeed, it is strange to read an entire study about the demand for something without ever seeing a reference to its price. Pricing is a very powerful tool to rationalize access. By increasing the current cost of parking, some people who can walk or cycle but currently drive would switch to walking or cycling. This would free up parking space for those who live further away and cannot reasonably walk. These people, who previously drove to Center City in order to avoid the parking hassle, could now find a parking space and might well be induced to take transit. By increasing parking prices without increasing parking supply, SEPTA may well be able to increase ridership.

Read more by clicking here. The open house runs from 4PM to 7PM at the train station.

Meanwhile, the Wawa circus is still in Cheltenham, with Bruce Goodman, America’s preeminent builders of suburban sprawl, bringing yet another amended site plan before the zoning board. This one does not demolish the house on Waverly Avenue and includes other “concessions” requested by the Commissioners.

We simply hope that the community and the commissioners understand that developers such as Goodman typically come to the table with a 135% of what they want, giving up that 35% to mollify the yokels.

The real problem here is Cheltenham’s zoning code that allows for such ill-fitting plans that could cut downtown Glenside’s progress off at the knees.

The hearing begins at 7 PM at Curtis Hall.