SEPTA leak makes it feel like riding in the rain

IT’S RAINING . . . inside.

It was raining during Brady Russell’s morning commute on Friday. Not much he could do about that. But at least his subway ride down to Center City would be dry, right?

Not that day.

“Water was pouring in” from the ceiling of the Fairmount Avenue station, Russell said, drenching the southbound platform. “It was just unbelievable. It was so bad,” said the environmental activist, who works in Center City.

Worse, he said, the same leak – or one at the same spot – had been causing a much smaller amount of water to drip onto the platform for three years.

In early afternoon, the leak was still there. Water was pouring down heavily onto a solitary orange cone, and riders scurried to avoid getting drenched.

We called SEPTA.

Spokeswoman Jerri Williams said that because of our call, SEPTA workers came out and cleared a clog in an air vent drainage pipe. The pipe is designed to catch rainwater and keep the vent open, which helps provide fresh air to the Broad Street Line.

Usually, Williams said, riders wouldn’t notice clogs like this, since most of the subway’s air vents are located above train tracks and out of sight.

This vent, though, is directly above a platform – meaning water can go directly from the vent to the platform during a clog.

Williams wasn’t sure when the leak first started but acknowledged it could have been going on for a long time. She said SEPTA would have eventually gotten to the leak when it was reported to maintenance, and urged riders to contact SEPTA’s customer-service line at 215- 580-7800 if they notice any leaks.

Calling 3-1-1 won’t work, since the city doesn’t pass that kind of information over to SEPTA.

Russell wishes things had been taken care of sooner. The platform was pretty wet.

REVISITING DRIVEWAYS. We got a lot of feedback from readers about last week’s column about a South Philadelphian ticketed for blocking his own driveway with his car. The city says the law doesn’t allow you to do that.

Philadelphia expat Patricia Smith pointed out that Wildwood approaches parking regulations differently: Residents are allowed to block their own driveways.

Philly doesn’t permit this because officers can’t distinguish between a car that has permission to block a driveway and one that doesn’t. But in Wildwood, police don’t mistakenly ticket residents because enforcement is complaint-based. Cars blocking driveways are ticketed only when residents report them.

This gets the town some added parking during the summer.

Article originally posted on March 2nd 2011 by Anthony Campisi via Philly.com

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