The King of Prussia Rail project just took a major step forward with SEPTA board’s approval of an alternative route that will cut travel time between KOP and Philly by 30 minutes and veer away from residential areas.
The SEPTA board voted to approve the PECO/Turnpike First Avenue, Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) with the North/South design option on Thursday. This route was preferred by the community among the 30-some alternative routes offered and discussed at a series of public community sessions held last fall when the first draft of the Environmental Impact Study was released.
To avoid impact on residential areas, the approved route will shift north of the PA Turnpike away from the homes along Kingwood Road, Bluebuff Road, and Powderhorn Road in the Valley Forge Homes neighborhood. The route then crosses diagonally over the turnpike and Route 202 back to the south side of the turnpike to shift away from the Brandywine Village community.
Brandywine Realty Trust’s Jerry Sweeney called the board’s approval “a major step forward for our region.” Sweeney is the chair of the King of Prussia Rail Coalition’s Advisory Committee.
Efforts to create the KOP Rail Line have been a long time coming for an area that’s consistently snarled by traffic. The proposal calls to extend the existing Norristown High Speed Line to King of Prussia, creating a 4.5-mile extension with five stops. It would be a one-seat, express route to the town from 69th Street Station or the Norristown Transportation Center.
Next, SEPTA will submit the project’s preferred route to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to be included in the in the regional long-range plan. Then, the final Environmental Impact study is expected to drop in 2019.
By 2040, SEPTA estimates that the KOP line could see 9,500 trips per day.