With the announcement earlier this year that SEPTA has committed money for the engineering of a parking garage in the lot off West Fifth Street and a pedestrian bridge spanning the tracks to connect to Lansdale Borough's proposed parking garage of its Madison Lot redevelopment off Madison Street, SEPTA and Lansdale are wasting no time in answering questions from concerned citizens on the project.
Lansdale's informal town hall session serves as the perfect venue for such a discussion. Originally set for June 24, the town hall will now be June 25 at 7 p.m. at the Lansdale Parks and Recreation Building at Seventh Street and Lansdale Avenue to accommodate the SEPTA representatives.
At the Lansdale Economic Development Committee meeting Monday, borough Director of Community Development John Ernst said SEPTA is required, as part of the project, to hold public meetings to elicit comment from agencies.
"We are reaching out to all agencies throughout the borough and are announcing it at all meetings. The public should know they are invited to come look at the designs and drawings and comment for feedback. SEPTA wants feedback from the public," Ernst said.
Committee Chairwoman Mary Fuller said the session is a way for the public to shape the development, much like comments shaped the outcome of the borough municipal complex project.
"It's a good opportunity for the public to have its say, since we are at the very beginning stage of the project," Fuller said. "Get your voice heard."
In January, Lansdale Parking Authority Chairman Dan Dunigan announced at a council meeting that SEPTA management and its contracted engineering firm, HNTB Engineers, had met with borough staff and consultants to begin the project.
Dunigan said the parking authority had already approved a plan for the Madison Lot redevelopment, which included a SEPTA parking garage and pedestrian bridge on the other side of the tracks.
"This garage, combined with the bridge and with all the improvements that we are making to Lansdale, will serve as an incentive for current and new SEPTA riders to get off the train and visit Lansdale," Dunigan said in January. "It will also serve as a spot for overflow parking in the evening for all that will be going on in Lansdale."
At that January meeting, Dunigan called the parking garage announcement "a proud moment" for Lansdale's staff, consultants and volunteers.
"Their commitment of time, energy and wisdom, their ability to think critically, and often outside the box, to develop a multi-modal plan that serves the needs of every form of transportation gave us this exciting moment for Lansdale," Dunigan said. "This town was started because of the train and we continue to promote all the benefits that come with it. Our Transit-Oriented Development and the proactive business-like approach that got us to this moment will become a model for our Commonwealth, region and very likely our nation."
Dunigan also credited the success to the Transportation Bill and Rep. Bob Godshall, R-53, who secured $2.5 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funds for Lansdale.
The team of staff, consultants and volunteers—as well as George Haines, of Madison Lot developer Equus Capital, and SEPTA deputy director Jeff Knueppel—"brought home a big win for Lansdale," Dunigan said.
"We are at the start of greatness, of transforming our town from good to great," he said. "Let's keep the team together so that we can get this done."