SEPTA seeks public input on potential development on portion of its parking lot at Ambler Station

The Philadelphia Business Journal reported on July 9th that SEPTA is initiating a process to examine its real estate holdings, mainly parking lots at rail stations, and explore developing these sites in an effort to generate ridership. From the article:

Parking lots adjacent to SEPTA train stations could make way for mixed-use development sites as the transit agency evaluates its real estate holdings and looks to maximize their value while also upping ridership.

The idea builds on a trend the regional transit organization identified in 2021, namely the promotion of transit-supportive communities as a priority, said SEPTA’s Director of Strategic Planning and Analysis Ryan Judge.

Doing so might not only increase flagging ridership, but lower rider’s carbon footprint and increase home values near stations, officials say.

Further in the article:

SEPTA is now working on “establishing a set of guidelines and identifying a few priority properties where we feel like we have the community support for doing work on property that we may own as well as the market potential to do something more than what it is today,” Judge said.

This fall, SEPTA plans to discuss possibilities with local groups to gauge their interest in development next to regional rail train stations. Aligning SEPTA’s goals with those of community groups and municipalities will be a key determining factor in how the future plans unfold.

This process is now coming to Ambler. SEPTA has scheduled an open house on Tuesday, January 30th at 6:30 p.m. at the Ambler Borough Hall Gymnasium for what it is calling the “Ambler Station Area Concept.” The purpose of this open house is to “solicit input from riders, residents, and businesses about the possibility of development on portions of the SEPTA train station parking lot.”

In May 2023, Ambler’s Borough Council voted to amended its zoning code replacing a portion of the transit-oriented development language that limited transit-oriented development to properties that had frontage along the railroad tracks. The new language that was adopted changed this to be 800 feet in any direction from the platform of the train station within specific zoning districts. The SEPTA parking lot falls within this area.

More to come.