By Tim Jimenez
KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. (CBS) — SEPTA officials hosted a fifth public meeting, last week, on a rail project that would connect tens of thousands of people each day from Philadelphia to the King of Prussia area, particularly the mall.
Traveling from Point A to B, in this case Philadelphia to the King of Prussia Mall, is not easy, and it’s far from convenient.
“Getting here from Center City Philadelphia is a headache,” says SEPTA’s Director of Strategic Planning Byron Comati. “You’ve got the Schuylkil Expressway which is a disaster. Our own buses sit in it. We have 4,000 people a day who come to the mall by bus.”
So the King of Prussia Rail Project is SEPTA’s plan to build a spur off the Norristown High Speed Line, Comati says. And this planning phase is looking at all options, projecting the community and environmental impact. One element they’re studying is how to mix elevated structures and those at-grade or ground level.
“You’re affecting the landscape,” Comatie says, “the physical landscape and the economic landscape, for probably the next 40 or 50 years by the decisions we make now.”
Comati says feedback is still critical. SEPTA has set up a website describing plans, and riders can offer suggestions and concerns on the project that Comati says is needed now more than ever, with projected growth in Upper Merion, 25 million yearly visitors to the KOP Mall, and 1.5 million a year to Valley Forge National Park. It’s a lot of work, but Comati sees the finish line.
“This is probably eight years away from being in reality, opening,” he says. “Eight years to have the doors open and the announcement be made at the King of Prussia Mall.”