SEPTA breaks ground on new accessibility project at Erie Station

June 18, 2024
The Erie Station ADA Project is the first station accessibility project in the U.S. to advance to construction with funding from the FTA’s ASAP grant program.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has broken ground on a new project at Erie Station that will make the Broad Street Line [B] station fully accessible and deliver modern amenities for customers. 

The Erie Station ADA Project is the first station accessibility project in the U.S. to advance to construction with funding from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) All Stations Accessibility Program (ASAP). Co-authored by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and enacted as part of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) – ASAP provides funding for the nation’s oldest rail transit systems to make stations accessible to people with disabilities. 

“This is an exciting day for SEPTA, as we move into construction on a critical station accessibility project,” said SEPTA Board Chair Kenneth E. Lawrence, Jr. “It is an honor to be the first transit agency to put a shovel in the ground with funding from the ASAP Grant. We are grateful to Sen. Casey for having the vision to create this program and to the regional Congressional delegation for fighting to fund it.” 

“More than 30 years after passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the infrastructure law is helping to fulfill its promise to build a more accessible world for the people of southeastern Pennsylvania,” said Sen. Casey. “I fought for funding to make our public transit systems accessible to people with disabilities and I am not at all surprised that SEPTA is the very first in the nation to break ground on renovations funded by my All Stations Accessibility Program.” 

When completed, the $38 million project will make Erie Station fully compliant with the ADA Act. Work includes the installation of a new elevator from street level to the station mezzanine and new elevators from the mezzanine to the northbound and southbound platforms. 

 “SEPTA is fully committed to making our vehicles and stations accessible to all and ASAP funding is allowing us to accelerate our efforts to achieve that goal,” said SEPTA CEO and General Manager Leslie S. Richards. “We are grateful to our partners at the federal, state and local levels for supporting our accessibility initiatives and helping to ensure that people of all abilities can fully utilize their transit system.” 

The Erie Station ADA Project is one of six SEPTA station accessibility projects that will be supported by ASAP funding. Following the passage of the IIJA, SEPTA quickly amended its capital budget to initiate the design of accessibility projects at nine stations to be positioned to compete for future ASAP opportunities. In December 2022, SEPTA was awarded $56 million through the first round of ASAP grant funding to support ADA projects at five B stations, including Erie, and one Market-Frankford Line [L] station. 

“Today, SEPTA is marking a new chapter in its subway history,” said FTA Regional Administrator Terry Garcia Crews. “We are thrilled that SEPTA’s planned improvements for Erie Station will enhance ease-of-travel for everyone –– particularly for people with disabilities.” 

In addition to the new elevators, other planned improvements to the station include: 

  • Reconstructed cashier booth and fare lines 
  • Stairway and entrance improvements and platform modifications 
  • New lighting and other electrical improvements 
  • Enhanced security features, including ADA-compliant communications system upgrades with emergency call boxes and HD security cameras 
  • Structural improvements (mezzanine beams) 
  • New station architectural finishes 
  • Drainage and waterproofing improvements 
  • Streetscape improvements to the Broad-Germantown-Erie (BGE) triangle, in partnership with the city of Philadelphia, Pa. 

SEPTA recently completed an ADA project at Susquehanna-Dauphin Station and is on track to complete its 13th fully accessible B station when work at Tasker-Morris Station wraps up later this year. At its upcoming June meeting, the SEPTA Board is scheduled to vote on the authority’s Fiscal Year 2025 Capital Budget and 12-Year Capital Program, which is projected to invest $1.4 billion in station accessibility projects. By the end of the 12-year program, all B, L and Trolley trips will be through an accessible station – compared to 61 percent currently. 

Located two blocks from Temple University Hospital, Erie Station provides vital access to employment, healthcare and other services with easy connections to six SEPTA bus routes. SEPTA’s project at Erie Station will create a transit gateway for those living near and traveling to the north Philadelphia community.  

The Erie Station ADA Project is scheduled to be completed in summer 2026.