A big issue with the riverfront in Conshohocken is that it is hemmed in by the railroad tracks. While there are thousands of people living and working between the river and the tracks, there are only four places to cross the tracks, Harry, Ash, Poplar and Cherry Streets, which are four consecutive intersections. This basically puts a traffic burden on that area of Conshohocken.
So what could be done? There is talk of moving the train station up river to where Oak Street dead ends into the tracks. There has also been a discussion of creating a crossing at this point.
Having a crossing at Oak Street would be key. As you may know, there are eventually going to be ramps on and off the turnpike at the end of Conshohocken Road (at Ridge Pike). Having a crossing at Oak Street would allow a portion of turnpike traffic to not impact the bridge or Fayette Street. Riverfront traffic could cross at Oak, turn left onto West Elm and continue onto Conshohocken Road to the turnpike.
In the Conshohocken section of Whitemarsh Township, there are two crossings that do not really help with traffic. Washington Street extends from the Conshohocken Train Station to just before the Spring Mill Train Station (where there is a road called East North Lane that runs from Lee Street to Station Avenue to North Lane). The problem is that Washington Street is unfinished and the distance between the railroad tracks and at least one building is very narrow.
We were at hearings involving a building seeking approval on the riverfront (please note that portion of Washington Street being discussed is in Whitemarsh Township) and the township was hopeful that Washington Street could be completed and that the Lee Street crossing would allow traffic on and off the riverfront. As of now, it is only allows entry to the headquarters of David’s Bridal.
During the hearings we mentioned above, it was discussed how David’s Bridal was too close to the railroad tracks to allow two-way traffic to pass. If it could allow two-way traffic and Washington Street was completed, the traffic needing to get to and from the riverfront and points such as Lafayette Hill, Plymouth Meeting, 476 and the turnpike could completely bypass the center of Conshohocken, the bridge and East Hector.
To help fix the traffic issue, we believe the Borough of Conshohocken should fight (we think it has already to a point) for a crossing at Oak Street and that Whitemarsh Township, the Borough of Conshohocken and SEPTA need to incentivize David’s Bridal to move and knock down that building.
Knocking down the building will pave the way to complete Washington Street and offer two additional full fledged railroad crossings that access the entire riverfront. If you noticed, we threw SEPTA into the mix for incentivizing David’s Bridal to move. Why? SEPTA could take over the existing parking garage and greatly enhance the number of parking spots at the Spring Mill Train Station. Where the building previously stood could become a riverfront park, which Whitemarsh doesn’t currently have, or even more parking for SEPTA and trail users. To our eye, the parking garage seems pretty close to the tracks as well. So maybe the best result would be a new surface lot.
Please note, this is supposed these articles are meant to drive discussion and get people thinking. This will partially fix traffic issues in Conshohocken and increase parking for SEPTA. Tell us what you think in the comments.
And note we love David’s Bridal, we hope the result would be its staying within Whitemarsh or moving to Conshy proper.