I remember years ago as a college student without access to a car when I wanted to go visit friends at West Chester University, if I couldn’t get a ride I had to take a train to Paoli and then get one of those scuzzy cabs to West Chester. And Paoli train station on the side going towards Malvern felt just as creepy and isolated then as it does today.
I was happy when Malvern and beyond opened again on Septa. And people ride the train. When I was transitioning out to Chester County for a while I took the train out from the Main Line. I was going through radiation treatment for breast cancer and a lot of the time towards the end of my treatment I was too tired to drive. This was when Malvern train station was under construction. It was then I realized there was no handicap access at either Paoli or Malvern – quite frankly during that time I would have welcomed a ramp versus steep stairs – I was just that tired. At Malvern during the heat of that summer I was going through radiation was when you not only had to climb steep stairs, the train station also had no place for you to sit to wait to be picked up and a car couldn’t get near enough to pick you up. Instead you had to wind your way through a construction site and around through to the other side via the roads on a sidewalk that was not the best.
So now there is the tunnel and the station is rehabbed (but still isn’t truly handicap accessible) and during the summer Malvern Borough officials were putting on charettes or whatever for T.O.D. Transit Oriented Development, otherwise known as borough officials see dollar signs and have no brain cells. I wrote about T.O.D. before.
I said then I used to say that TOD stood for Total Of Dumbasses. It is like Groundhog Day for me because I lived through a lot of these Emperor’s New Clothes scenarios when I lived on the Main Line. It tore apart Lower Merion Township where I used to live and to this day divisiveness truly still exists. And Transit Oriented Development is still a myth of more fiction than fact.
To say that people in suburbs and exurbs and quasi rural areas will give up driving is just ludicrous. These municipalities and developers should just be honest: they don’t have the ability to put sufficient parking in all this new age urban-like development. They don’t care so much about the environment and being green, in my humble opinion it is all about the green they can bank in profits. And who suffers? People already living around these infill development targeted sites.
Malvern’s charm is in it’s history and size, much like the village portion of Berwyn and similarly scaled small towns and villages. I could see making Malvern say sprucing up a little bit more like Narberth which has undeniable charm and popularity, but Narberth does things based on sound planning and well Malvern Borough seems to chase dollars like a hooker looking for money on top of the dresser.
TOD stands to add hundreds of living units. Hundreds as in someone told me in excess of 600. Malvern is no way capable of handling that many additional living units and cars and people. That has a trickle down effect to the schools too. And we aren’t talking real estate taxes, we’re talking overcrowding.
TOD in Malvern will also adversely affect their neighbors in East Whiteland. Much the way Tredyffrin affected Radnor residents downstream along the Gulph Creek when they allowed Church of the Savior and some other things to super-size. East Whiteland should stay on top of this from a municipal perspective. No one needs trickle down issues.
The long and short of it there is a very real chance SEPTA will cut stops off the R5 Paoli/Thorndale Line. As in NO MORE train service. Stopping at Paoli again.
So I have to wonder if Septa will even do the makeover planned for Paoli train station? And if the service is truncated and stops at Paoli, how will Paoli even if their grand plans make it to completion handle the influx?
I put forward that Malvern Borough Council and Borough staff /administration need to be watched. They want to shove, shove, shove through new development yet they have no substantive planning that I can see. I know what they see- they see ratables. What is happening (for example) with the Gables Greenhouse property on Warren and Second Ave? There were a couple of things in Malvern Patch which seem to have disappeared? The comments indicate on the remaining article that like five houses are being considered for that property?
Malvern Borough has lost it’s way. They don’t seem to listen to their residents. They also can’t seem to get much money in the end for development projects. Remember when people checked out what they were getting in ratables for East King Street/Eastside Flats? See:
During a discussion of the police services and budgeting at the of Malvern Borough Council, resident Joan Yeager asked a related question:
“Once the King Street project is completed, how much additional money is going to come into the borough? In taxes and all,” she said.
“Something in the neighborhood of $60,000 a year,” council president Woody Van Sciver said, citing a financial feasibility study done before the project was approved.
And oh yeah what exactly in the realm of new businesses is Eli Kahn actually bringing to Malvern? Besides Kimberton Whole Foods?
I feel I must say again that in addition to better planning by municipalities and boroughs throughout Pennsylvania, there also need to be updates made to the Municipalities Planning Code. After all Zoning blames Planning and Supervisors/Commissioners. Supervisors/Commissioners blame flaws in Municipalities Planning Code.
Want to see bad planning? Look no further than Lower Merion Township and take Ardmore as an example. There is a short film surfacing about development there and the fact that when it occurs a lot of businesses and residents will have ZERO parking for two years and reduced parking after that. Why? Because Lower Merion is essentially giving away land to a developer. I think you can view the documentary short by following this link: https://vimeo.com/72950877
Getting off the soapbox now. Just been chewing on this a few days.