10K Friends of PA Provides Testimony at King of Prussia Rail Public Hearing

February 16, 2018


Public Hearing

Proposed King of Prussia Rail Extension Project

Testimony of 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania

November 13, 2017

(As presented by 10,000 Friend's Chair, Caroline Boyce)

Good evening. Thank you for this opportunity for 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, the leading independent non-profit voice for great places to live and work in PA, to provide testimony at this public hearing.  Our expertise is in the intersection of various issues that effect community quality of life – including land use, community & economic development, transportation, and public infrastructure.  My name is Caroline Boyce, and I serve as the Chair of 10,000 Friends’ Board of Directors.  I am here to present 10,000 Friends’ position on the proposed King of Prussia rail extension. This statement is our analysis of the proposed King of Prussia Rail project, and has been authorized by 10,000 Friends’ Board.

Support for KOP Rail Extension

10,000 Friends strongly supports the timely completion of the King of Prussia Rail extension.  The implementation of this inclusive multi-modal transportation vision will help transform the King of Prussia are from an auto centric community to a healthy transit oriented development community, with a host of valuable benefits for King of Prussia and for the whole region.  


This project will better connect communities and people to opportunity in the exact manner necessary – through reliable light passenger rail – to enable King of Prussia to capitalize on important 21st Century economic trends. The project will advantage King of Prussia, and the region, by directly connecting the three most important job centers in Philadelphia—King of Prussia, University City, and Center City, 

The line will provide new and future mobility options for King of Prussia residents and visitors alike.  Providing reliable transportation options is a key priority for 10,000 Friends—because they provide proven multi-faceted benefits.  In King of Prussia, those key benefits will include:  improved reliability over bus service, with 99% on time performance; greatly reduced commuting times between King of Prussia and the City; reduced traffic congestion for local residents on local trips, with an anticipated 18 million fewer vehicle miles traveled on area roads (with related time savings and greater public parking availability);  reduced emissions from traffic and vehicle idling, making the regional air cleaner; and better accommodating the needs of the community’s seniors and persons with disabilities, and the preferences of young people and millennials.

In addition to the economic development and mobility options benefits, other benefits include quality of life and increased property values for both commercial and residential properties. Proximity to public rail transportation, reduced auto trips and traffic congestion, and increased access to valuable destinations – including medical centers, educational institutions, shopping, dining, and entertainment – will greatly increase quality of life for communities along the line.  And a plethora of studies establish that commercial property values and thus local tax base, as well private home values and marketability, will be improved and increased by the rail line extension.

The proposed King of Prussia Rail Project will enhance access to both Upper Merion and Norristown for workers and residents alike, providing a convenient way to connect people to opportunities throughout the region. The KOP Rail extension investment, in addition to enhancing quality of life, will also act as a multiplier generating economic activity – studies show that investments in public transit generate almost four times the cost in economic activity benefits.

10,000 Friends’ Position

10,000 Friends supports the recommended Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) , with the Options, as the route for the new rail line extension.  This route has incorporated realignments and related mitigation efforts to date, provides all the benefits identified previously, addresses neighborhood issues and concerns, and mitigates against further environmental impacts.

10,000 Friends supports the timely completion of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and the advancement of the King of Prussia Rail project toward implementation is quickly as possible.  Speed is important, as the slow pace of the process to date is a very real impact on the communities and residents.

10,000 Friends also supports additional design and infrastructure improvements in communities along the rail line extension corridor to both address impacts and capitalize on opportunities to improve quality of life for all residents.  These improvements include sidewalks, street lighting, road diets, bicycle lanes, and walking trails to make our public streets adaptable and accessible to all users; transit stop and station improvements, as every transit rider is for some part of their trip a pedestrian; and complementary placemaking improvements in communities, incorporating both quality landscaping and excellent architectural design.  The vicinity of the King of Prussia mall suffers from poor design issues, including a design that necessitates a sea of surface parking, a lack of street connectivity and convenient site access, traffic congestion, lack of transportation options, and imposing interstate highway connections.  Communities and neighborhoods can build off the KOP Rail Extension to successfully address all of these current issues and improve community of life for all.

10,000 Friends strongly supports the KOP Rail Extension due to its direct access and mobility benefits for all, its spin-off impacts as a valuable economic driver, its quality of life improvements for neighborhoods and residents, and its context sensitive approach that seeks to minimize and mitigate community concerns. This important project should move forward as quickly as possible. Thank you.