Transit-Oriented Development and SEPTA's Wayne Junction - The Philadelphia Inquirer

by Thomas Fitzgerald


Building denser development close to rail transit stations is one way policymakers are looking to reduce auto emissions and fight climate change.

From a new third-floor apartment flooded with natural light, developer Ken Weinstein looked at the catalyst for renovating the 1902 Germantown factory: the buff-colored stone SEPTA Wayne Junction Station a block away.


“Imagine being able to roll out of bed, jump on the train, and get to Center City in minutes, to jobs around the region — or to the airport or 30th Street Station,” Weinstein said. “You can go anywhere from here.”


SEPTA spent $31.5 million to preserve the Frank Furness-designed station with the hope of stimulating development and attracting more riders in southern Germantown, an industrial center of the 19th and early 20th centuries that had suffered decades of neglect. The project was finished in 2015.


On March 1, the first tenants are set to move into the Autograph Apartments, the latest project amid steadily increasing investments in the neighborhood, much of it driven by Weinstein and his firm, Philly Office Retail.


“Transit is why we’re here,” he said.


Six SEPTA Regional Rail lines serve Wayne Junction station, as well as the Route 75 trackless trolley and two bus routes, the 23 and 53.


Wayne Junction is one of the newest and most prominent examples of a transit-oriented development in the region. In general, that approach relies on zoning changes and design requirements such as reducing parking requirements to build dense, walkable communities with commercial amenities near transit stations.


“Transit-oriented development is really sort of baked into the DNA of our region just because much of it evolved prior to the advent of the automobile age,” said Andrew Svekla, manager of smart growth programs for the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.


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