PTMA-MC News

April 16, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are lots happening in the transportation world and that was evident last week when the Partnership TMA hosted a Transportation Summit.  Attendees listened to reports from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, SEPTA, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and Montgomery County Planning Commission.

Highlights from the event included:

  • 20 PDOT projects will begin in Montgomery County in 2018 worth approximately $180 million

 

  • The 611 bridges by the Turnpike will begin construction in July and it will go through October with detours of ramp traffic in the evening

 

  • The 5 Points Intersection improvements will begin later this year

 

  • The Turnpike’s Northeast Extension widening and reconstruction from Lansdale to Quakertown is now in the process

 

  • Cashless tolling with no tickets just EZ Pass or license recognition is the future for the Turnpike

 

  • SEPTA is continuing the rollout of SEPTA Key – while it is now implemented on the buses and trollies, you can see the work being down to get ready for rail implementation possibly this summer

 

  • The SEPTA app has been updated to provide real time information with everything being GPS based

 

  • DVRPC reviewed their Long Range 2045 Plan and highlighted the demographic and technological shifts that will influence the region’s transportation and land use growth

 

  • Montgomery County shared information on local bridge and road repairs, the Bike MontCo plan, and the Lafayette Street reconstruction project

Each speaker answered questions from the audience and discussed possible solutions relative to local transportation issues.


The PTMA event was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Montgomery County, McMahon and Associates, Lansdale Borough and Transnet. 

 

By: Peggy Schmidt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 4, 2018

The Partnership TMA does Travel Training!

One of the really fun things I get to do as part of my job with the PTMA, is “Travel Training”.  We teach high school children how to use public transportation so that they are empowered to have choices to be mobile in any circumstances.  According to The American Public Transportation Association, there are many benefits to having access and utilizing public transportation.

 

Public Transportation Enhances Personal Opportunities

  • Public transportation provides personal mobility and freedom for people from every walk of life.
  • Access to public transportation gives people transportation options to get to work, go to school, visit friends, or go to a doctor’s office.
  • Public transportation provides access to job opportunities for millions of Americans.

This March, we were pleased to be invited to the Upper Merion High School to teach a class of about 25 children.  I went along as a Travel Trainer In-Training, with our Deputy Director Anthony Johnson. Anthony is a seasoned Easter Seals Certified Travel Trainer, and I was looking forward to learning from the best!  We brought plenty of Septa Bus Schedules and started the training teaching the kids how to read one. We also made sure to discuss the most important thing: Safety! One of the most important things is to remain alert.  Be aware of your surroundings, while walking to and from the bus or train stop, while waiting, and then again while riding. Septa has a great video about making safe choices while riding. You can access it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nfe6L22Uhdc


    How do I remember?

    CHECKS

    This is the acronym Anthony gave the kids to help them remember what they need to bring along when taking public transportation.

    C= Cash

    H= Hand Sanitizer

    E= Emergency Numbers

    C= Cell Phone

    K= Keys

    S= Schedule


    After 3 classes, we were able to finally take our field trip.  We gave the kids several ideas of where we could go, and ended up choosing the Philadephia Premium Outlets in Limerick.  We walked from the Upper Merion High School to the bus stop at Dekalb Pike. We took that to the Norristown Transportation Center, and that took us directly to the Limerick Outlets.  We walked around for a couple hours and everyone had a nice lunch in the warm food court. Then we headed back. The kids all seemed to have a good time, and everyone got home safe. If your school is interested in learning more about our Travel Training program, contact me at marketing@ptma-mc.org.


    By: Tiffany Marrero

     

     

     

    March 19, 2018

    Trippin’ on SEPTA


    There is a lot going on with SEPTA in our region. So I thought it was important to go out and experience it for myself so that we can give our members and friends the most up to date information.  A “pretrip” as we call it in travel training also demonstrates how easy or difficult travel might be.  The pretrip provides you with some helpful tips through our mistakes, I mean experiences.

    Let’s start with the new shuttle busing from the Lansdale Train Station to all the rail stops up to Doylestown.  SEPTA is undergoing track repair and during the midday, six trains into and out of Center City will stop at the Lansdale Train Station. Passengers going north will disembark at Lansdale, board a SEPTA bus and ride to Doylestown. “Wow”, we thought at the PTMA.  “This is going to be crazy.”

    So on Friday, I decided to try it and see what the new shuttle busing trip was actually like. 

    Since I was originating in Lansdale and going to Doylestown, I went and purchased my ticket at the Lansdale Ticket counter.  The bus departs on the Track 2 side and a SEPTA employee is there telling everyone when and where the bus will be.  The bus was about 5 minutes late, but if you ever have driven in the North Penn traffic during the morning, it is a miracle it was only 5 minutes behind. Boarding was smooth and the bus was full but not overly crowded.  I felt sorry for the driver who had to negotiate tight turns down some streets that were not meant for such large vehicles. Then of course there was traffic. 

    Two things to keep in mind:

    The next item that we wanted to experience was getting a SEPTA Key card

    As the spring approaches, several of our travel training classes as well as the teachers wanted to get the card.  And since the students travel on the bus to their jobs and tokens were being phased out, we thought it was an appropriate time to go and get one.  I took the train to Jefferson Station, walked up to the top of the stairs and found SEPTA’s passenger service representative.   She gave me great directions to the Market Street L (you do not have to leave the station to do this) where the Key kiosks are located.  Once I found them a SEPTA Key Ambassador prompted me through the machine to get one.  Here is want I learned:

    If you are using a credit card, be sure you know the zip code that is connected to your card.  I did not know mine by heart, so I had to search for a business card in order to proceed.  You must load at least $10 on your card.  The machines take credit, debit cards and cash, but you want to check to be sure the machine that you are using is taking what you have. The day that I was there the cash machine was not working.  Follow the prompts to the machine and you should have no problem.  I set mine up for a travel wallet, which is what we will use for our students.   The most difficult part of the day was finding the kiosk, and avoiding the temptation of the Cinnabon by the Market Street L entrance.

    All in all, I am glad I went out there and experienced it all for myself.  So don’t be afraid – just be sure to give yourself plenty of time.

     

    By: Peggy Schmidt

     

     

     

     

    March 12, 2018

    5 Things I Learned While Taking Public Transportation For The First Time (to the Philadelphia Flower Show!)

     

    1. You're not the only one that gets a little confused

    Growing up in the suburbs of Montgomery County, my family had 2 cars and I was never introduced to public transportation.  Maybe you are in the same boat.  When I started working for the Partnership TMA, a Transportation Management Association that works to help educate the community on how to ease congestion and enhance mobility, I realized I needed to see for myself if public transportation is something I should add to my life.  So when my boss suggested I take my first SEPTA trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show, I was pumped.  And a little nervous.  I had to get some travel training from our Deputy Director, Anthony Johnson.  He explained how to read the train schedule (up and down, as opposed to bus schedules which are read left to right), and to read the schedule looking at your destination first, to make sure your train is stopping where you are going.  I thought I was the only one who would feel a little lost at the station, but as soon as I walked in I heard plenty of people asking plenty of questions at the ticket counter.  Phew.  I am not the only train virgin in the whole of Montgomery County.


     

     

     

     

     

    2. Don't bring coffee, unless you are prepared to drink the entire thing or hold it for an hour with never putting it down.

    I thought I was pretty smart for making my way to the station early, a cup of joe in hand, muffin in my backpack.  No.  As soon as I sat down on the bench, I realized there was literally nowhere to put my cup without it spilling over.  Not to mention that the train picked up what seemed like a hundred passengers as we made our way through each stop, meaning I had a seatmate and it was crowded, with zero access to a trash can.  The muffin was useless in my backpack as well, with not enough hands (or a napkin) to even remotely appear ladylike while eating it.  Next time I will opt for bottled water.

     

     

     

     

     

    3.  It is actually cleaner than I thought!

    Armed with hand sanitizer and baby wipes, I thought for sure I would be at the very least, minimally grossed out.  The station, train, seats and even the passengers were clean, polite and calm.  That's not to say I didn't use my hand sanitizer.  It is flu season people, and I am not crazy.

    fs7.jpg

     

    4. Using Public Transportation is actually relaxing, not stressful like I thought.

    Hundreds of strangers, trains traveling different directions, what seems to be a thousand lines and stops with no access to a bathroom.  It seems like it would be chaos.  During the ride, I found myself being so relaxed that I actually ended up putting on my headphones and playing a meditation app.  It was far less stressful than bumper to bumper traffic and trying to find a parking spot in Philly (all the while spending the amount of a car payment to park).  I don't know if I will be able to go back to Philly via car.  I am officially spoiled.

    fs7.jpg

     

    5. People are nice.

    After the show, which was incredible, I was having trouble locating where to exit to be able to head to where I wanted to go.  One of the flower show workers escorted me all the way out to the exit I needed to ensure I did not get lost.  Then, I headed over to Reading Terminal Market for some lunch.  Dibruno's makes a mean Arancini Ball (in case you were wondering).  After lunch, I felt a little turned around.  I asked two separate security guards near the convention center for directions. They patiently showed me how to get back to Jefferson Station.  Then at the station, I realized I was unsure of what train to board and where.  So I headed to the information desk, and told the woman there I was heading to Lansdale, and she told me exactly where to go, Track 1 B for the 1:20 home.

    fs7.jpg

     

    All in all, I would say my experience riding public transportation for the first time was a success!  I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of finding my way, with the help of my travel training and a few good people along the way.  If you can, head on over to SEPTA to get your pass and ride tickets for the Philadelphia Flower Show, which runs until March 11.  And while you are at it, pick me up some Arancini Balls will you? 5 Things I Learned While Taking Public Transportation For The First Time (to the Philadelphia Flower Show!)

     

    fs7.jpg

     

    By: Tiffany Marrero  

A Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

SEPTA   |   PennDOT   |   DVRPC   |   Montgomery County