52nd Street station reopens

June 24, 2008 3:56:10 PM PDT
The 52nd Street station is open for commuters in West Philadelphia.Commuters can finally wait under an enclosed platform and escalator. There's a new cashier booth and turnstiles.

Today, Septa General Manager, Joe Casey, officially dedicated the new 52nd street station.

"This is a great facility. We carry 8,000 people on a daily basis," Casey said.

"This $710 million investment is the largest of its kind in the city. Never has SEPTA done it all, change the station, change the trains, change everything," Jannie Blackwell (D) of the Philadelphia City Council said.

The western portion of the Market-Frankford el opened more than 100 years ago.

The critical overhaul began back in 1999 and the process has faced a myriad of challenges, trying the patience of commuters.

"I'm glad it's over; it's been long enough, so I'm glad it's over," Denise Bently of West Philadelphia said.

The overhaul of 52nd Street station didn't just affect commuters, it impacted the entire region.

35 business have closed in this district during the process and now that the project is complete there's a real sense of hope in this community.

"Amidst all the dust and all the dirt, and all the things that you see, there's tremendous progress that is taking place on 52nd Street that hasn't taken place within the last 50 or 60 years," Reverend Paul Randleman said.

52nd street is one of five new stations open as part of SEPTA's ongoing reconstruction project. The overhaul is taking longer at 63rd Street and officials say it should be complete by next spring.