Over the summer, SEPTA’s board decided to not move forward solely with a parking garage on property it owns near the new train station in Conshohocken. The parking garage was a long-planned partnership between SEPTA and PennDOT, which would have partially served as a parking destination for travelers on the Schuylkill Expressway. Signs would encourage drivers to get off the highway in Conshohocken, park, and take the train to complete their trip.
Transit-activists, and The Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial board, bemoaned the cost of the garage, and advocated for the property to include housing. SEPTA’s board eventually agreed, however, initially the Borough of Conshohocken’s resisted. The then Council President Colleen Leonard attended a meeting virtually in which she stated that residential uses would absolutely not be considered. The year prior, Conshohocken’s borough council had voted to remove all residential uses from the riverfront (where the train station and property are located). Public safety issues driven by the increase in population (due to other apartment communities being constructed) and flooding were cited as concerns behind the zoning change.
That position softened according to a representative of SEPTA during a following meeting and it was announced that the transit agency and the borough were working on a memorandum of understanding regarding the property.
That memorandum of understanding is now on the February 7th agenda of Conshohocken’s borough council as a discussion item. This will be the first the time representatives of the borough have discussed the issue publicly.
If the memorandum of understanding allows a pathway for SEPTA to move forward with a residential development (along with the garage), it would be the fourth residential development above the bridge in recent years. Two have opened, The Birch and Matson Mill, and a third Madison West Elm, is preparing for its opening.
Below the bridge and extending across the border with Whitemarsh Township is an a 598-unit apartment community that is approved, but not yet built. Adjacent to the Spring Mill Train Station, there is a proposal to build apartments on top of the existing garage at the former David’s Bridal property. Whitemarsh Township is also set to consider rezoning the Spring Mill Train Station area, that includes the riverfront, which could bring significant density in housing and other uses.
More to come.