On October 18th when I advised Parkesburg Today readers not to hold their breath waiting for PennDOT to upgrade the Parkesburg train station, borough officials, elected and appointed, scoffed and told me I didn’t know what I was talking about.
On most days they may be right, but when it comes to the Parkesburg train station my facts have always been and will always be 100% accurate.
As the slide taken from PennDOT’s October 17th presentation to 100 people gathered in a Malvern ballroom above illustrates, an upgrade of Parkesburg’s historic train station ain’t happening anytime soon.
That’s not to say borough officials haven’t put in countless hours and attended endless meetings to further our cause and that of our quaint but worn down train station. They have and we should salute them for their focus and their good intentions.
The realty is however their hard work and good intentions weren’t enough to lift our station onto PennDOT’s priority list and the badly needed Parkesburg train station upgrade won’t happen anytime soon.
PennDOT’s decision to pour half a billion (that’s billion with a B) dollars into upgrading Amtrak’s Paoli, Exton, Downingtown, and Coatesville stations while leaving Parkesburg alone among Chester County stations is wrong headed.
First, the station’s 55,000 riders are three times more than the paltry 16,000 passengers who board Amtrak’s trains in Coatesville, yet PennDOT has $26 million dollars earmarked for a new Coatesville Station.
Second, Parkesburg’s train station is no more handicapped accessible than is Paoli’s, yet PennDOT’s plans to spend over $200 million to upgrade that station is in part as a result of a lawsuit won by handicapped passengers unable to board the train in Paoli.
Finally, no other station in the entire county is growing as fast, has more of a parking issues or has been ignored for as long as has Parkesburg.
Frustrating, isn’t it? Damn frustrating is what it is. Damn frustrating.
If for some unknown technical reason the entire October 17th PennDOT deck doesn’t show up in your browser you can view and download PennDOT’s October 17th presentation by clicking on this Plan the Keystone link.