Jay Soni of Havertown owns a convenience store in Upper Darby. It’s got a pretty sweet location — right across from the 69th Street Transportation Center, SEPTA’s largest transit hub. On an average weekday, 35,000 riders flow through the bustling hub, many of them parking vehicles as they hop on transit for their commute.
The only problem: where to put all the cars.
“We need parking around here,” Soni said. “[It’s] very tough for the parking.”
For now. On Friday, SEPTA officials announced that it is seeking proposals from contractors interested in helping the agency build a new three-story parking garage for the station.
“The project is now out to bid,” said Jeffrey Knueppel, SEPTA’s general manager.
SEPTA expects construction on the $37 million project to begin by summer 2020 and last about 18 months.
The project will add 318 more spots, bringing the total to 520, including 11 Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible spaces.
‘More parking, more customers’
Knueppel said the additional parking will help increase ridership and provide an economic boost to the business corridor.
And that’s what Soni and other business owners are betting on. The hundreds of new parking spaces should be good for the neighborhood, where local businesses stand among big-name retailers like Old Navy and H&M, they said.
“We have more parking and we have more customers coming in, good for the neighborhood, good for the business,” said Soni. “Everybody. Not only my store. Everybody on 69th Street. Everybody have good business then.”
Mary Kontaxis runs a restaurant with her husband a few doors away from Soni. She said they’ve been there for more than 30 years, and they’re looking forward to the addition.
“We’ll be more than happy and glad to see a new parking lot that would help our customers and everyone else around,” Kontaxis said.
The 69th Street station connects to the Market-Frankford Line, the Norristown High Speed Line, trolley routes 101 and 102, and 18 bus routes — which fan out throughout the surrounding region.
Upon completion of the project, the Market-Frankford line would be bookended with two major parking structures — the Frankford Transportation Center has close to 1,000 spaces.
SEPTA will host the first in a series of open houses about the project for community members at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23.