The $90 million Claymont Transportation Center will soon open to rail commuters. Also, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announces that significant station upgrades have been completed at the Flushing-Main Street 7 subway station; and Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) festive trains return to bring holiday cheer.
Claymont Transportation Center
Delaware Gov. Jon Carney on Nov. 27 will dedicate a new regional transit hub and rail station in Claymont, according to a Delaware News Journal report.
The Claymont Regional Transportation Center, re-dedicated last year in honor of long-serving Delaware Sen. Harris B. McDowell III, is the “culmination of 17 years of planning, four years of construction and $90 million in state and federal month,” as well as an “anchor investment meant to spur new development and new population in the region,” according to the report.
According to the Delaware News Journal report, SEPTA and DART service will begin at the new transportation center on Dec. 4, replacing the previous Claymont Rail Station on Myrtle Avenue a half-mile south. The new center, located at 191 Transit Center Drive, is accessible from Philadelphia Pike, north of I-495.
The Victorian-brick transportation center, which is funded mostly with federal money and a $16 million investment from the state, “is planned as the catalyst for a revitalization of its Claymont neighborhood, at the site of the former Russian-owned Evraz steel mill that closed its doors and erased 375 jobs a decade ago,” according to the report.
The new train station features two 630-foot-long train platforms with widescreens on each side, and an “imposing” pedestrian bridge spanning four Amtrak and SEPTA tracks. Amtrak, Delaware News Journal reports, will not stop at the station, but its trains will pass through the two center tracks in each direction.
According to the report, much of the transportation center fronts a three-level, 464-space parking garage on the west side of the station. An additional 343 parking spaces will be available on an outdoor lot, allowing more than 800 commuters to park and ride to Philadelphia and beyond. This is significantly more than the approximately 500 spots at the previous station.
According to the report, the current Claymont Rail Station served around 1,200 rides on the Wilmington Newark line, with more than a dozen stops in Philadelphia. But the station had “long been old and deteriorating,” said Brett Saddler, Executive Director of the Claymont Renaissance Development Corp., a public-private nonprofit devoted to revitalizing the area.
The station, which is owned by Amtrak and sits on a curving section of track that caused trains to arrive at odd angles to the platform, “was an ADA nightmare,” said Stadler.
“When the train came in, it was either leaning one way or leaning the other way,” Saddler said, “creating gaps that would often necessitate mechanical assistance to allow those with mobility issues to board. Customers also had a hefty step up to board the trains,” according to the Delaware News Journal report.
The new station, according to the report, will have what’s known as a “high-level platform,” according to Delaware Transit Corp. CEO John Sisson. “Each train’s doors, along a straight portion of track, will be level with the platform and line up more easily to allow easier boarding.”
In addition to the requisite ramps and elevators, the station offers accessible parking much closer to the station. A 6.6-kilowatt electric car charging station has been installed among the disabled-accessible parking spots nearest to the trains.
Eight more electric car charging stations are located in the outdoor parking lot and a large array of bicycle parking includes free air pumps.
“Redundancy is an under-sung key to accessibility,” Sisson said. “The station has two elevators on each side of the pedestrian bridge leading across the tracks, so if one elevator fails, there will still be a working elevator for those who can’t take the stairs.
“Visually impaired users can press buttons marked in braille to hear announcements of the next train or bus arrivals. The station is also equipped with digital screens,” according to the report.
According to the Delaware News Journal report, the train station is an early phase of a new and ambitious 3.3-million-square-foot development called First State Crossing, by St. Louis-based Commercial Development Co.
Over the next decade, the CRDC and development company have proposed multiple office and industrial buildings, retail buildings, more than a thousand homes and potentially a park along the Delaware River, according to the report.
The New York MTA on Nov. 22 announced completion of the Flushing-Main Street 7 station improvement project in Queens, totaling an additional 1,200 square feet of space for customer circulation.
According to the agency, the work consisted of replacing eight staircases, installing eight new staircases, creating four new points of entry to the station and installing two new fare control areas, for a total of four. These transformative upgrades, MTA says, will improve customer flow as additional state of good repair work, such as steel rehabilitation and waterproofing will ensure the integrity of the station’s infrastructure for its 44,000 average weekday riders—Queens’ busiest station without transfers.
Additionally, as part of the renovation project, the security camera system was replaced with new upgraded equipment, and 15 digital screens, along with five new countdown clocks, were installed across platforms and mezzanines, “enhancing the customer journey by delivering more real-time and location-specific information,” MTA said. The Flushing-Main Street 7 subway station, a terminal station, is accessible with one elevator serving the Manhattan-bound platform.
The scope of work involved in the project included:
- Installation of four new street-to-mezzanine stairs.
- Installation of four new mezzanine-to-platform stairs.
- Installation of two new fare control areas
- Rehabilitation of four existing street-to-mezzanine stairs to be ADA compliant.
- Rehabilitation of four existing mezzanine-to-platform stairs to be ADA compliant.
- State of good repair work including steel rehabilitation, concrete spall, and leak mitigation.
“The Flushing-Main Street 7 subway station expansion was one of the largest modernization projects ever undertaken by the MTA—and it was the right thing to do,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “This station serves about 44,000 customers on an average weekday— the 11th highest ridership across all 472 stations. Installing new staircases, creating new entries, and expanding the mezzanine improves the passenger flow and provides a safer, more comfortable commute. This project—delivered on time and under budget—shows the MTA’s commitment to rebuilding a system to better serve today and tomorrow’s ridership.”
DART recently announced that two holiday trains will travel throughout the agency’s 700-mile service area, beginning Nov. 24. Each car is wrapped with a festive theme and illuminated with hundreds of twinkling lights.
The holiday trains will make regularly scheduled stops at each station along their route each evening.