When he spoke to a gathering of twenty five County residents and civic leaders about plans to upgrade the county’s five Amtrak stations over the next several years, Coatesville was not the only Amtrak station State Senator Andy Dinniman had good news about.
Although the majority of the senator’s forty-five minute presentation earlier focused on PennDOT’s plans to refurbish and upgrade Coatesville’s 3rd Street Amtrak station, the two-term Senator and former County Commissioner offered brief updates on the county’s other Amtrak train stops.
Here are brief summaries of Senator Dinniman’s comments on each station delivered at the breakfast session hosted by Chester County 2020.
Parkesburg: Instead of moving the station closer to Route 10, PennDOT made the decision to keep the station where it is. Unlike the other four Chester County Amtrak stops however, Parkesburg isn’t on PennDOT’s list of stations to be upgraded. “The station was on the list when I received my new senate district two years ago. Its not there now,” said Dinniman.” He expressed hope that once the new administration in Harrisburg settles in, he’ll be able to bump the project back on PennDot’s list.
Downingtown: The Senator reported the station footprint will be moved closer to the Brandywine River and transit oriented development built along the river and Route 322. While local leadership and commitment is there to move the project along, unfortunately,” according to Dinniman, “the developer isn’t there and PennDOT is trying to figure out how to bring a new developer in.”
Exton (West Whiteland): Exton is the second busiest station in the county, declared Dinniman. “Paoli is first. Exton may soon pass it.” The short-term focus in Exton, according to Dinniman, has been on integrating the bus to West Chester into the station’s footprint, making the station easier to find by improving Route 100 signage and increasing parking for daily commuters using the station. Long-term, Dinniman said he wants to make sure PennDOT builds a “decent place.” “This is going to be a major stop,” said Dinniman. “There’s no doubt in my mind it will pass Paoli. I just don’t want a glass enclosure with a heater.”
Paoli: Senator Dinniman expressed relief than plans for Paoli were finally moving forward after a nearly two-decade delay. “I hope we’re going somewhere,” said Dinniman. “It looks like we are.” Alluding to plans announced in October 2014 to spend upwards of $100 million dollars over the next 24 months to overhaul the Paoli station, the Senator said the Paoli station would stay on the same footprint and the Valley Road bridge will be moved to better integrate with Routes 30 and 252.
Check back Friday morning for Chester County Planning Commission’s Exective Director, Ronald Bailey’s perspective on Senator Dinniman’s efforts to nudge the five train station upgrades forward in Harrisburg.
Top photo courtesy of Philly.com