30th Street Station District Plan Meeting

Amtrak, Drexel and their partners in the Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan will host an open house this month to introduce the project to the public and solicit community input. The event is an opportunity for interested parties to learn about the project, meet the team, ask questions and provide input. The open house will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 28 on the main concourse at 30th Street Station from 4-7 p.m. There will be no formal presentation, but members of the project team will be on hand to answer questions and provide information.

The public is also invited to learn about the project by logging onto the recently-launched website, PhillyDistrict30. Here visitors can get the latest project information, sign up to receive project updates via e-mail, review news coverage and more.

The Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan is a joint planning effort focused on creating a single integrated vision for the area surrounding 30th Street Station. The goals of the plan center on concepts of community, connectivity and identity.

The effort is led by Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University and SEPTA with support from a coordinating committee that includes a wide range of public and private agencies, area stakeholders and other interested parties.

(Courtesy: Drexel University)

NEC Future meeting schedule

NEC Future is a program of the Federal Railroad Administration. As stated online, “NEC FUTURE is a comprehensive planning effort to define, evaluate, and prioritize future investments in the Northeast Corridor (NEC), from Washington, D.C. to Boston. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) launched NEC FUTURE in February 2012 to consider the role of rail passenger service in the context of current and future transportation demands. Through the NEC FUTURE program, the FRA will determine a long-term vision and investment program for the NEC, and provide a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Service Development Plan (SDP) in 2016 in support of that vision.”

This link – Open House Meetings, November 2014 – provides information about the schedule of upcoming meetings.

Tenetative aggreement reached between SEPTA and TWU 234

Media sources report that contract negotiations between SEPTA and TWU Local 234 have concluded with a tentative agreement reached late in the evening of Friday, October 31st. The pace of progress in the negotiations increased after the intercession of several power brokers occured, including Congressman Bob Brady (D-Philadelphia), who has been involved with past SEPTA-TWU negotiations. A ratification vote by TWU membership is expected to take place during the first full week of November.

As reported, the contract duration is two years, and leaves many of the larger issues (i.e. pension reform) unaddressed. Therefore, Transit Division riders may face the potential of another strike in 2016.

Potential SEPTA Transit Division Strike Looms – Again!

Employees of the SEPTA City Transit Divison, represented by Transport Workers Union Local 234 have been working without a contract since the expiration of multiple labor agreements earlier this year. News sources have indicated that the work stoppage could occur in early November. TWU Local 234 President Willie Brown has previously stated that the onset of a work stoppage will be announced 24 hours in advance. The atmosphere surrounding labor negotiations can be extremely fluid, however, and circumstances can change with limited prior notice.

This Link: Your SEPTA Strike Survival-Guide details transportation alternatives in the event of a work stoppage. As the situation develops, SEPTA customers should visit the SEPTA website for additional information. Riders are advised to remain aware of changing conditions that may occur without notice. The Regional Rail Division will continue to operate, but may be impacted by extra passengers and TWU activities.

In Memoriam: Ed Tennyson

On July 14th, Edson Leigh Tennyson, age 92, a transit industry professional, civil engineer and planner, passed away after several years of fighting cancer.

A full obituary can be found here: Legacy.com

Mr. Tennyson had a substantial impact on public transportation in southeastern Pennsylvania, serving as the Deputy Commissioner of Transportation in Philadelphia during the 1960’s and as Deputy Secretary of Transportation of Pennsylvania during the 1970’s. He was instrumental in the creation of SEPTA from the myriad of public and private transit operations in the region.

One of Mr. Tennyson’s (many) notable achievements was the successful advancement of using public money to subsidize continued passenger operations.

Mr. Tennyson was also a DVARP member and actively participated in helping to create the “Year 2000 Rail Transportation System for the Delaware Valley” study that was produced in 1979.

Through the years, Mr. Tennyson served as an occasional sounding board for various DVARP policy positions. His knowledge and insight will be greatly missed.

SEPTA RRD Strike Update

As reported online by Philly.com, President Obama has signed an Executive Order creating a Presidential Emergency Board for the purpose of Federal Mediation between SEPTA and the BLET / IBEW labor organizations. Affected RRD employees are required to return to work. BLET Vice President Stephen Bruno has indicated that “workers will fully comply with the law”

Per SEPTA spokesperson Jerri Williams, normal RRD service should resume Sunday morning.

The creation of a Presidential Emergency Board means that SEPTA RRD employees represented by the BLET and IBEW can not engage in a work stoppage for a 240 day time period. After the expiration of that time period, a strike may reoccur.

SEPTA Regional Rail Division Strike

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers are currently on strike against SEPTA. Regional Rail Division service is suspended at this time.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has submitted a request to President Obama for Federal Government intervention. After receiving notification of the issuance of an Executive Order by the President, affected RRD employees will be required to return to work for a 240 day period until the Executive Order expires. At that time, BLET and IBEW represented employees may resume a work stoppage.

Although it is unclear when SEPTA RRD service will resume, it is possible that resumption of service could occur as early as Sunday. Please visit the SEPTA website for current information.

Potential SEPTA Regional Rail Division Strike Looms

June 14 marks the end of a 30 day “cooling off” period after the breakdown of negotiations between SEPTA and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) Division 71 as well as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 744. Members of both organizations have taken a strike authorization vote, and labor leaders have indicated that a work stoppage is highly probable at that time. The TWU and UTU City and Suburban Transit Division labor leaders have stated that they will remain on the job despite stalled contract negotiations between their organizations and SEPTA.

This Link: In the Event of a Regional Rail Service Interruption details current SEPTA plans if a work stoppage occurs. As the situation develops, the information on the SEPTA website may be updated. Riders are advised to remain aware of changing conditions that may occur without notice. City Transit Division and Suburban Transit Division service are expected to continue to operate, but may be impacted by extra passengers and BLET / IBEW activities.