Businesses bullish for KoP rail as neighbors push for route change -

A route shifted 30 yards or so may soothe opposition to plans for a light-rail line to King of Prussia.

At the first of three public comment sessions scheduled this week, people who have opposed the plan said running the light rail north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike might address many of their concerns.

“They have listened, and they’ve accommodated our needs as neighbors,” said Pamela Hale, who lives in Valley Forge Homes, a neighborhood close to the rail’s proposed path.

SEPTA’s preferred route travels along the south side of the turnpike, right past Hale’s neighborhood. The transit agency is considering shifting the elevated tracks to the other side of the highway and away from homes. The change would add $50 million to $75 million to the $1.1 billion estimated cost of the project, said Liz Smith, SEPTA’s director of long-term planning.

SEPTA planners will continue taking public comments through Dec. 4 on the proposal to extend the Norristown High Speed Line to stops at Henderson Road; two at the King of Prussia Mall, including one that would deposit passengers inside the mall itself; and two more in the King of Prussia business park.

“We’ve tried to really listen to the residents’ concerns,” Smith said, “and find a way to reduce the impacts on those neighborhoods.” She noted that an evening comment session scheduled for Monday could draw residents who are less accommodating about the plan.

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