Allegheny Station on SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Line will be closed for three nights this week as crews work to repair the facility and make improvements.
It’s part of an ongoing initiative to rapidly rehabilitate stops along the eastern half of the MFL, which, officials say, has been heavily impacted by a concentration of homeless people and drug users.
Somerset Station, which is a little over a half-mile away from Allegheny, reopened April 5 following a controversial two-week closure. Both stops are in the heart of Kensington, long the center of the city’s opioid crisis.
Workers remained at Somerset around the clock to bolster steel staircases, repair elevators, install new lighting and deep-clean the area, officials said.
Much of the damage was caused by human waste and discarded needles, according to SEPTA.
Allegheny suffers from many of the same issues, and it will be closed for three consecutive nights beginning Friday from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. to allow for uninterrupted work, the authority said.
Riders are advised to use the Tioga or Somerset stations. The Route 3 bus runs under the train and connects to several MFL stops in the area.
The elevators at Allegheny will close at 8 p.m. Friday and remain down as engineers assess the situation, according to SEPTA. Elevators are operating at Tioga and Somerset, officials said.
“The work at Allegheny Station is part of SEPTA’s comprehensive commitment to address issues at stations where there are significant challenges with the vulnerable population that have been exacerbated by the pandemic,” Leslie Richards, the authority’s general manager, said in a statement.
“These are complex issues, and we will continue to work with all of our partners on meaningful short- and long-term solutions,” she continued.
At Somerset, SEPTA installed a refurbished cashier’s booth to serve as a mini-police station, and two officers are now stationed at the stop whenever the MFL is running. A similar arrangement has been in place at Allegheny.
SEPTA has been contending with safety concerns as it anticipates the return of more riders with the increasing levels of COVID-19 vaccination.
Just last week, a man was stabbed aboard a MFL overnight shuttle bus in Old City, and SEPTA offered a $1,000 reward for information about a man who allegedly brandished a gun and threatened to kill a bus driver who asked him to wear a mask April 10 in Upper Darby.
The authority has contracted with a security firm to bring in 60 unarmed guards to man MFL stations between 15th Street and Frankford Transportation Center.
Transit police are also being paired with social workers to connect people with services relating to housing, mental health and addiction.