With the 31st anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act as a backdrop, United States Representatives Dwight Evans and Brendan Boyle announced $7.3 million in federal funding that they secured in the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act to make accessibility improvements to SEPTA’s Erie Station on the Broad Street Line.
In April 2021, SEPTA submitted the Erie Station ADA Improvements project to Congressmen Evans and Boyle for their consideration as one of their Member Designated Project funding submissions to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Broad Street marks the boarder between Congressman Boyle’s 2nd District and Congressman Evans’ 3rd District, and the Congressmen partnered on their submission, securing $7.2 million ($3.6 million from each) for the project. The Erie Station project was one of seven SEPTA projects that the region’s House delegation was able to include in the House surface transportation reauthorization bill – the INVEST In America Act – which passed the House in early July.
SEPTA is dedicated to investing in the communities we serve, and targeted funding of this kind will allow SEPTA to undertake greatly needed accessibility improvements at Erie Station, making it fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. SEPTA’s proposed $9 million project includes the installation of a new elevator from street level to the mezzanine and two new elevators to bring customers down to the northbound and southbound platforms. The project also includes construction of head houses for the elevator and station entrances at street level; new signage and lighting, security features including surveillance cameras, passenger amenities; and drainage and waterproofing improvements.
Located a block and a half from Temple University Hospital, Erie Station serves a vibrant section of the City of Philadelphia and provides vital access to employment, healthcare and other services with easy connections to SEPTA Bus Routes 16, 23, 53, 56, XH and H.
The project is currently in the 15% design phase, and we continue to work with members of the community and stakeholders, including SEPTA’s Advisory Committee for Accessible Transportation, to ensure that the project meets our and their accessibility goals. We also look forward to continuing to work with the City of Philadelphia to ensure that our Erie Station project complements the City’s comprehensive Broad, Germantown and Erie corridor improvement initiative.
The timing of today’s event, coinciding with the Americans with Disabilities Act’s 31st anniversary, added increased meaning to the announcement.
SEPTA has always placed a high priority on making stations accessible, and despite funding constraints and broader state of good repair needs, we have made consistent and steady progress on improving access to SEPTA stations and vehicles. Last year, we broke ground on ADA improvements at Susquehanna-Dauphin Station on the Broad Street Line, while design work continues on ADA improvements at Tasker-Morris Station on the Broad Street Line and 11th Street Station on the Market-Frankford Line. This follows recently completed projects at 40th Street, 15th Street and Arrott Transportation Center on the Market-Frankford Line.
Achieving full accessibility on the Broad Street Line and Market Frankford Line is a Policy Platform in the City’s Transit Plan, and the 12-year Capital Program approved by the SEPTA Board in June commits the Authority to making all stations on the Broad Street Line and Market-Frankford Line accessible within the 12-year program.
Achieving this critical goal – and making more stations accessible throughout the SEPTA network – will require a strong financial commitment from all levels of government, including the federal government. The INVEST In America Act provides a framework to transform how transit is funded and prioritized as part of the nation’s transportation network, and our region is fortunate to have a Congressional delegation leading the effort in Congress to strengthen public transportation and ensure that SEPTA can continue to serve this region.