Remember how cool it was when those workers uncovered an old ghost sign inside a house in Fishtown? Well, imagine how amazing it would be if the Delaware River Port Authority finally uncovered the long hidden SEPTA/PATCO "ghost station" underneath Franklin Square and reopened it for public transportation. Yes, there's a train stop under your favorite mini-golf, carousel and cool down jawn fountain. According to Pennsylvania Lt. Governor (and chair of the board at the DRPA) Jim Cawley, they're freeing up the money for a study to look into the possibility of reopening the long-shuttered subway stop. So, is Franklin Station destined to remain the seedy underbelly of one of Philly's prized parks or could it really make a comeback?
According to Newsworks, it could cost around $10M to revamp the station that has been closed since 1979. Much of the cost would include making it accessible via elevator and therefore in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The recent quotes are certainly more favorable than the ones made to PlanPhilly back in February.
In an email conversation, DRPA Director of Communications Timothy Ireland would say little more than, "A number of times over the years PATCO has conducted cost/benefit analyses, and we've concluded every time that the station would not generate enough ridership to justify the cost of reopening." When asked for more specific information on the cost of reopening the station and ridership projections, Ireland said, "PATCO is preoccupied with more pressing matters."
"More pressing matters" might include finding better ways to keep deer off of the tracks or C.H.U.D.S at bay. As John Dougherty, a DRPA board member, notes in the article from Newsworks, Franklin Square is simply buzzing with activity and it's on pace to attract over 900,000 visitors this calendar year. If you've ever had the pleasure of walking to the park from points east, like The Race Street Pier, it's kind of a nightmare, especially if you park on the north side of the street. Hopefully the study yields positive results and the station will be activated once again.
· Still another chance to reopen 'ghost' station on PATCO line [Newsworks]
· Will Franklin Square Station ever reopen? [PlanPhilly]