4641 Yates Road
Bensalem, PA 19020
September 10, 2005
Ms. Faye Moore, General Manager
1234 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Dear Ms. Moore:
I am writing to you as a resident of Bensalem who uses SEPTA’s Cornwells Heights station for commuting on Amtrak to my job in Manhattan. Amtrak currently intends to abandon service to the station within another month or two, and I am organizing a campaign to either prevent them from pulling out or to find an adequate replacement for their service. The Cornwells Heights New York commuting community is otherwise at risk of being almost entirely wiped out.
I am enclosing a standard “press kit,” produced entirely by me at my own expense, which explains why I believe it is wrong to simply abandon the station at this time. Many people will be hurt. But more to the point, the station should not be abandoned because of low current ridership. The station has never had a real chance to grow because it has never been promoted. With a modest effort to promote the Cornwells Heights Park-and-Ride to New York commuters, a ridership of many hundreds per day is not only possible, but likely.
Approximately 800 parking spaces at Cornwells Heights go completely unused every day. Those spaces could be filled with New York commuters. If and when SEPTA takes over the large lots at Cornwells Heights from PennDOT, and if SEPTA chooses to meter the parking in the range of $1 to $3 a day, filling those empty parking spaces could translate into $200,000 to $600,000 in annual SEPTA revenue. It would be a good idea to save the station as a New York commuting outpost.
I am running the Internet website www.savecornwellsheights.com in order to help save the station and to serve as a central clearing house for doing so. I am also currently in close contact with Mayor Joseph DiGirolamo of Bensalem, Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick of Bucks County, the offices of U.S. Senators Specter and Santorum, the Bucks County Courier Times, the New York Times, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. I expect to establish many other political and press contacts as well in the coming weeks.
To cut a half-empty Park-and-Ride off the Northeast Corridor in the middle of the worst gasoline price run-up in history is to invite ridicule by the national press, and it actually may come to that soon, if a solution is not found to saving this excellent commuting station.
You are clearly not the “bad guy,” but SEPTA is not entirely innocent either. Please see the enclosed materials to better understand the mistakes that have been made.
I would hope that you can help find a way to either keep Amtrak at Cornwells Heights or find an adequate substitute (like running NJT Clockers out of Philadelphia instead of Trenton after NJT acquires them).
I understand that SEPTA works with DVRPC to plan and fund mass transit. I understand that NJT also works with DVRPC. Please consider using the common interest and bond you have with NJT in DVRPC in order to preserve and grow service instead of allowing it to die. I would also like to see Amtrak and PennDOT join the discussion as well in order to see what can be done.
As you make progress, and as I am able to find out about it, I intend to publicly report it on the website so that all concerned, especially the riders, can see what a good job you will be doing on their behalf.
Please keep me posted as best you can. By the time you receive this letter, a copy should already have been publicly posted on www.savecornwellsheights.com.
I thank you in advance for your assistance.