11/21/23: Conshocken Station Will See Better Development

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After months of advocacy, SEPTA has changed course on a proposed single-use parking garage at the Conshohocken regional rail station - just as they cut the ribbon on the new, accessible station platform. 

Picture from the Conshohocken station platform of a dirt lot with construction vehicles

View from the new Conshohocken station platform of the site SEPTA is proposing for redevelopment.

Back in the Spring, Transit Forward became aware of a proposed $48 million line item in SEPTA's FY2024 capital budget for 500-plus space parking garage on SEPTA property. The current daily ridership at the station? Roughly 500 riders. Perhaps most bafflingly, this would be funded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program. 

As we know well, this kind of inflexible infrastructure doesn't feed demand. For at least a decade, experts have disputed the utility of a park-n-ride. Rather, we know that density and multimodal connections are what produce ridership returns. And with Reimagining Regional Rail set to begin its implementation imminently, we need to think beyond the 9-to-5 commuter. The borough of Conshohocken already has an array of midrise residential buildings and offices within walking distance of its regional rail station. Montgomery County has created a model transit-oriented development ordinance, and showcased Conshohocken's growth in this kind of development.

And so we advocated! Thanks to our shared testimony at the SEPTA Capital budget hearings and at subsequent SEPTA board meetings, in April the agency announced a pause for data gathering. 

Photo of a train station with rumble strip at platform edge under an overhang, with a handicap-accessible insignia pointing to an accessible exit in the foreground.

The new Conshohocken station platform, with raised platform to accommodate zero-step entry to the train, and entrance and exit to the platform.

A few months of silence followed, but in November SEPTA quietly released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking information from developers about residential development to couple with the parking garage. Current reports indicate that SEPTA is actively negotiating with the Conshohocken borough council about what kinds of development are possible at the site.

We'll keep watch on what happens next, but our shared advocacy worked. We only hope now that this represents a new baseline for how to build on transit agency land, furthering SEPTA's own Transit Supported Community Development vision.