According to The Germantown Chronicle, SEPTA is scheduled to commit about $840,000 to making surface level improvements on Germantown’s Chelten Avenue (Germantown) and Wister R-7 Stations beginning in May. A visit to both areas shows that this limited help cannot come soon enough.
Most of Germantown Station’s rail platform has been either fenced off from riders or abandoned in terms of maintenance. Except for a few sections, rusted out rafters are all that remain of the roofing sections that once protected Germantown riders from the rain.
“Years ago, paint used to be done and bushes used to be trimmed,” said Willie Rorice, a Germantown resident. Rorice said he has ridden SEPTA out of Germantown for forty years, and the station’s current condition, “was a real subtle change over time.”
“It looks like SEPTA has selective preference,” Rorice went on. “[Regional rail] is mostly for work commute to Center City, and most people from Stenton to North Philly [including Germantown] are not working.”
Problems are arguably worse at Wister Station, three-quarters of a mile down the line from the Chelten Avenue strop. There, the station is dimly lit, partially underground, and relatively secluded from public view. Some residents report seeing a substantial amount of crime there.
“I saw a guy and lady get held up [at gunpoint] there,” said Willie Hubert, pointing at the station. “We stay away from there.”
“They need cameras,” said Wayne Malinder of Ashmead Street.
While SEPTA reportedly plans to make aesthetic upgrades to both station sites soon, more extensive changes, such as security cameras, are not in short-term plans for now.
By: Travis Gold and Rachel Hooper, Group 5, Germantown