SEPTA 69th Street Transportation Center West Terminal Rehabilitation
SUSTAINABILITY AND ACCESSIBILITY UPGRADES MODERNIZE ONE OF SEPTA’S BUSIEST MULTIMODAL TRANSIT STATIONS
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (SEPTA) 69th Street multimodal transit center provides vital subway, bus, and trolley access to 35,000 customers each weekday. It serves passengers on the Market-Frankford Line, Norristown High Speed Line, the Media-Sharon Hill Line trolleys, and 18 bus routes.
Built in 1936, the west terminal building, surrounding bus loop, boarding platforms, and protective canopies had become plagued with age- and mobility-related deficiencies. As part of SEPTA’s long-term plan to improve ridership and the passenger experience, the center underwent a $19.6 million improvement project that balanced sustainable and safety-focused design features to serve commuters in the western Philadelphia region.
The terminal modernization included a newly constructed passenger waiting area building, reconstructed pedestrian ramps, platforms, and canopies, and added cameras to aid safety and security efforts.
The project furthers SEPTA’s commitment to sustainability by incorporating design features that include green roofs to reduce stormwater drainage, energy-efficient LED lighting, and architectural elements in the passenger waiting area that increase natural light and reduce energy use. The project was funded by the Federal Transit Administration Buses and Bus Facilities Program and Pennsylvania’s Act 89 Transportation Plan.
What We Did
SEPTA engaged Gannett Fleming to develop a concept for the West Terminal that resulted in a modern and vibrant transit facility. The resulting rehabilitation centered on demolishing the existing terminal building and replacing it with a new steel-framed, glass-enclosed structure designed to increase daylighting and natural ventilation.
Due to cost and schedule concerns, the new structure was located overtop the existing basement foundations and recently renovated first-floor rooms, which were preserved throughout construction. New flooring, lighting, HVAC systems, and code-required improvements updated the public spaces.
Site improvements included removing and replacing the asphalt bus/trolley roadway surface with concrete surface and track work. The stormwater drainage system was replaced, and the subgrade rooms and corridors, which had been plagued by leaks for years, received a permanent waterproofing system.
Using AutoTURN® software, we analyzed the busway layout and designed an improved traffic flow around the terminal. The flow of pedestrians also was enhanced to increase safety and meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards. The new design of the north bus and trolley platform and canopy structure is more open to the surroundings to increase the visibility of vehicles and pedestrians.
A concern to SEPTA at the onset of the project was construction’s impact on service given the facility’s importance in the surrounding communities. Gannett Fleming developed a comprehensive phasing plan and tailored the schedule to limit disruptions to SEPTA’s operations and reduce the full-site closure time to the summer months when ridership was traditionally at its lowest. Temporary passenger loading platforms constructed nearby served as a short-term station during construction.
The new canopy structures on the north and west platforms include green roofs with plant vegetation to help reduce runoff, increase oxygen, and decrease urban heat sink. The existing perimeter terminal wall was retrofitted with a living, green wall system. New energy-efficient HVAC systems increase the exchange of fresh air. Natural lighting and high-efficiency LED lights improve lighting and ambiance.
- Upgraded loop drive improves drainage and reduces stormwater seepage.
- Camera installation enhances safety and security efforts.
- Redesigned flow of traffic and pedestrians increases visibility, safety, and convenience.
Sustainability Features and Results
- Green roofs reduce runoff, increase insulation, decrease urban heat sink, and increase oxygen production.
- Clerestory made of glass walls ensures better light throughout the waiting room.
- Natural ventilation of hallways and waiting room improves indoor air quality.
- High albedo roofs decrease urban heat sink by reflecting solar radiation.
- 35,000 daily customers enjoy a restored and modernized place to catch buses and trolleys.
- Green design features reinforce SEPTA’s commitment to sustainability.
- The rehabilitated facility serves as a transit gateway for travel around the Philadelphia region.
- Comprehensive phasing plan limited disruptions to operations.
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
Upper Darby, Pa.
Preliminary Design, Final Design, and Construction Phase Services