Standing with U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler, SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey, DRPA Board Chair John H. Estey, Board Vice Chair Jeff Nash and others, DRPA CEO and PATCO President, John J. Matheussen, announced an agreement that will result in Light Rail Service along Market Street between City Hall and the Delaware River Waterfront initially serving Pier 70 to the South and SEPTA's Route 15 Trolley at Girard Avenue to the North.
Locations served would
include Independence Mall, the Market East Regional Rail Station, City Hall,
the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Reading Terminal Market, PATCO and SEPTA’s
8th and Market Street Station, numerous other transportation facilities, Penn’s
Landing and other residential, employment and entertainment destinations along
Columbus Boulevard. Selection of the Route means the project can now advance to
the environmental analysis phase. The $500-million dollar project could begin
operations in six years.
The decision to select
Market Street as the preferred route for the new light rail service is based
upon almost two years of analysis, extensive input received at four public open
houses session and numerous meetings with community groups and stakeholders.
Those involved in the
selection process include the DRPA Board of Commissioners, PATCO General
Manager Bob Box, PATCO Assistant General Manager Cheryl Spicer, Senator
Specter, Congresswoman Schwartz, Mayor Nutter, Deputy Mayor for Transportation
and Utilities Rina Cutler, City Council, SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey, the
Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, PENNDOT, the Delaware River
Waterfront Corporation, the Center City District and PennPraxis.
According to Mayor
Nutter, "there is no better place than Market Street for a light rail line.
This is a decision that will pay dividends 15, 20, 30 years from now."
PATCO Chairman, John H.
Estey, said the process has worked well. "We appreciate both the input and
cooperation of Mayor Nutter, Deputy Mayor Cutler and SEPTA. A direct connection
between City Hall and the Philadelphia waterfront will serve as a catalyst for
economic development as well as an added service for our customers."
And, according to PATCO
General Manager, Bob Box, "This announcement allows the process to continue
that will lead to new transportation options for PATCO and SEPTA riders who
have long sought a more convenient way to access the Philadelphia waterfront.
This is a project that is very scalable with the potential for future expansion
south to the Navy Yard and Sports Complex, north to the North Delaware
Waterfront and even further west along Market Street."
The Delaware River Port
Authority is a regional transportation agency. DRPA owns and operates the
Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross Bridges, PATCO
and the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal. The DRPA also owns the RiverLink Ferry.