By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Zoo is opening up a new parking garage on Friday, but it’s still hoping – down the road – to get a train stop there, as well.
A new feasibility study for the zoo puts the price tag of a SEPTA station at upwards of $60-million, but SEPTA Director of Strategic Planning Byron Comati says there are engineering challenges to overcome.
“You have what is known as zoo interlocking. One of the busiest exchange areas of train movements on the northeast corridor.”
He says there a literally hundreds of SEPTA and Amtrak movements around the Zoo everyday, with trains moving to different tracks at different heights.
“So there’s a lot of competition for space. What you don’t want to do is put a station plunk in the middle, which could bring everything to a dead halt.”
Beyond the engineering feasibility issue, there’s the question of paying for it:
“The zoo recognizes that SEPTA does not have the capital budget program of any sorts at the moment.”
He expects the zoo will seek federal funding.
One possibility on location is southeast of the main entrance of the zoo, a short walk away near 34th Street and Mantua Avenue.