SEPTA polling riders for trolley plan

SEPTA
Metro file

Riders of SEPTA’s eight trolley lines are being encouraged to take a survey to help determine the course of a $1.85 billion overhaul.

The authority is in the early stages of its “Trolley Modernization” project, a multi-year effort to replace trolley vehicles, improve accessibility, update stops and speed up service. Some lines may also be extended.

New trolley stations will be larger than existing stops, and participants in the online questionnaire are asked whether they prefer more stops, a shorter walk, slower service and less on-street parking or fewer stops, a longer walk, faster service and more parking.

Other parts of the survey gauge riders’ interest in trolley-only road lanes and traffic signals that prioritize green lights for trolleys.

Those who fill out the poll are even asked to weigh in on the exterior design of the new vehicles, which will be longer and better able to accommodate riders with disabilities.

SEPTA is planning to spend $770 million to replace trolley vehicles, which date to the 1980s, and the authority began soliciting bids from manufacturers in May.

Board members last month approved a $1.1 billion capital budget for the current fiscal year that allocated $85 million to Trolley Modernization. SEPTA has already spent $26 million on the effort.

Budgetary documents indicate the process of acquiring the new trolleys could last a decade, and construction on station improvements is expected to continue through 2029.

Philadelphia’s trolley network is the largest in the country, according to SEPTA, with most of the stops clustered in West and Southwest Philadelphia, as well as Delaware County.

To access the survey, which will be open until July 24, or to find out additional information about the project, go to www.planning.septa.org and select Trolley Modernization from the Projects drop-down menu.

SEPTA officials said outreach will also be conducted at in-person pop-up events at trolley stations.

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