Transit

Good read: 3 Ways to Improve South Jersey Transit

Chances are if you’ve read many posts on this blog, you’d know that I’m a fairly passionate supporter of public transportation. This is especially true for transportation in South Jersey, whose older, denser towns are successfully capturing the energy that the New Urbanist movement is generating among “millennials”, or really, anyone who grew up in the sprawling suburbs and now wants to live in walkable neighborhoods served by busses and trains. So I was excited this morning to see that Next City published a piece by Jake Blumgart about how to improve public transit in South Jersey. (Full disclosure: I was interviewed for this article, and a link to this blog appears therein.)

Rather than suggesting lavish and expensive new projects, his article illustrates three ways in which the more than 2 million of us who live south of Trenton could be better served by existing infrastructure. At a time of intense austerity on the part of most public officials, his ideas represent great ways to improve the systems we have without huge new capital costs. The suggestions are good, and I hope NJ Transit, PATCO, and SEPTA take them to heart.

In fact, that there are three agencies involved with transportation of our area is at the core of why transit could be better in the first place. Basically, these three agencies all work in their own silos, rarely coordinating with each other, despite the fact that someone’s daily commute might involve a rider on the Riverline from Burlington County, a transfer to PATCO in Camden County, and possibly rides on SEPTA in Philadelphia. Though there exists a Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, they don’t seem to have historically concerned themselves with making sure transportation across state lines is as easy as possible in our region. And given that NJ Transit is much more concerned with North Jersey as a region than South Jersey, there seems to be a real vacuum for thought leadership on how to coordinate our disparate systems.

For South Jersey to be successful in a 21st century where people are moving back to older, denser, and frankly more interesting places, it needs to work on this. Some pieces work well, bus some pieces are barely there. And given that people are more open now to public transportation than they’ve been in decades, we really need a regional effort to better organize and coordinate our public transportation options. If we’re going to be a competitive region that people want to live in, it just has to happen.

You can read the full article at http://nextcity.org/daily/entry/south-jersey-rail-bus-new-jersey-transit-commute-improvements.

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Transit

PATCO workshop this Thursday

Do you ride PATCO often? Do you have some thoughts about the new track work schedule? If so, there’s a way you can make your voice heard. This Thursday at 6pm, the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers is holding a workshop at their Center City office to discuss ways the Delaware River Port Authority could improve service during this 60-day track work schedule and the 50-day track work schedule to follow later this summer. The organization has worked for decades to give a voice to the region’s mass transit riders, so there’s every reason to believe that if you have an idea for PATCO, it’ll get in front of someone who can make a difference.

From the event’s Facebook page:

Join us to discuss how PATCO can best mitigate the horrendous effects of the all-day, all-week track closure starting in June. We want to make sure that conditions don’t deteriorate to the point they were at earlier this year when passengers were passing out because of crush conditions. DVARP’s Board will take anything and everything discussed at this workshop into consideration, and pass along recommendations to the DRPA and PATCO.

The event takes place from 6-8pm at the DVARP headquarters at 1601 Walnut Street, Suite 1129, Philadelphia, PA. For more information, check out the Facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/289328564578017/

 

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