Long story short: I happen to have reviewed all of the 101/102 stations from Fairfield Ave to Drexel Hill Junction. Might as well marathon them!
Fairfield Ave is stupidly close to 69th Street. It is a 0.2 mile, 5-minute walk from Fairfield Ave to 69th Street, which is stupidly close. Given the fact that Fairfield Ave is so stupidly close to 69th Street, it only gets a shelter on the outbound side. Smart!
Station: Fairfield Ave
Ridership: 108 boardings per day, although an interestingly much higher 169 leavings per day. That adds up to a paltry 277 riders per day.
Pros: The stone shelter going outbound is really nice. Inbound only gets a bench and a wastebasket, but that’s all you need.
Cons: It’s just not very useful, since it’s so close to 69th. Because SEPTA charges for transfers, you’re basically only going to use this stop if you’re heading outbound or if you have a pass and don’t want to walk.
Nearby and Noteworthy: I guess it is closer to some 69th Street development than 69th Street is. I’ve heard good things about Five Points Coffee and a visit to H Mart is always a unique one.
Final Verdict: 5/10
Five Word Summary: Decent station for lazy people.
The platforms of Walnut Street are staggered, both on the far side of the intersection. They’re also exactly the same, both with lame bus shelters, a few benches, and a bit of SEPTA information. Getting to this one is a pain, since you have to use the crosswalks at the intersection and only at the intersection, although it seems many people have subverted that requirement…
Station: Walnut Street
Ridership: A total of 354 people per day, between ons and offs.
Pros: Shelter on both sides is nice. Unlike Fairfield Ave, there is at least some reason to go inbound from here (although again, probably only if you have a pass).
Cons: The shelters have no character, and the way the crosswalks work, it’s really hard to get to the station. This leads to dangerous ways of getting out, as seen above.
Nearby and Noteworthy: A library, a dollar store, and a rental car place. I’ll be cultured and pick the library.
Final Verdict: 4/10
Five Word Summary: “Tracks=trains, not playing games.”
This one’s almost the same thing as Walnut Street, except it’s slightly worse in two ways. First of all, it has this nice old station building that’s just not used, which is a darn shame. Secondly, there are again only crosswalks at the intersection, but this time they just show up on one side. Come on! At least the outbound platform has a little path to Bywood Ave, creating a second exit.
Station: Avon Road
Ridership: A not-too-shabby 538 riders per day between boardings and alightings!
Pros: I guess the same as Walnut Street – it’s nice to have shelters on both sides. And this one is even further from 69th, making it that much more useful.
Cons: The building is a shame, but the crosswalks are really annoying. Sure, you can jaywalk (and of course, many people do), but I don’t see why there can’t be more pedestrian provisions for a good, frequent transit line like this.
Nearby and Noteworthy: There’s a block of businesses near here. It’s mostly grocery stores and low-key restaurants.
Final Verdict: 4/10
Five Word Summary: Look both ways before jaywalking.
For much of the 101/102 trunk, it feels like you could take out half the stops and it wouldn’t have a huge impact on riders. On the other hand, they would probably kick up a stink about losing their local stop. But these two? These two are just ridiculous! When I got off at Hilltop Road, I legitimately thought that Beverly Boulevard was just Hilltop’s inbound platform. Who could blame me? They’re less than 200 feet apart!!!!
Stations: Hilltop Road and Beverly Boulevard
Ridership: Hilltop Road gets 391 people per day between its boardings and leavings, while Beverly Boulevard gets…673??? Wow, that’s the second-highest on the trunk besides Landsdowne Ave!
Pros: These stations are both the same design as Walnut. They’re fine.
Cons: The crosswalk issues come back, but the main problem is that these stations are just so close together. It’s ridiculous! Sure, Hilltop Road directly serves a middle school and Beverly Boulevard directly serves a shopping center (hence the high ridership there), but I see very little reason to keep them both open. Close Hilltop Road and make the passengers walk one (one!) extra minute to Beverly Boulevard, I say.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Hilltop Road has a few small offices next to it, but Beverly Boulevard has a big honking suburban shopping center right across the street. It’s just a shame there’s only a crosswalk on one side, inconveniencing outbound riders and making them cross twice.
Final Verdict: 3/10
Five Word Summary for Hilltop Road: Far too close to Beverly.
Five Word Summary for Beverly Boulevard: Far too close to Hilltop.
“Aww, this one is cute!” I exclaimed when I got off here. It reminds me a bit of Brandon Hall back in Boston, since that also has streetcar tracks on the side of a road with a bunch of trees, although Congress Ave isn’t nearly as gorgeous as that stop. On the other hand, Congress Ave’s platform is in far better condition, and it has a fantastic little brick shelter for inbound passengers. The crossing across the tracks could be in better shape, though…
Station: Congress Ave
Ridership: Just 197 riders per day, but we are in a residential neighborhood.
Pros: It’s just adorable! This one has so much character.
Cons: The track crossing is in horrible shape, and it’s also annoying that you have to walk to the end of the station to use it, then walk back a bit to get to the crosswalk. Again, it’s only on one side of the intersection, and it really should be on the side where the the track crossing is.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Houses as far as the eye can see.
Final Verdict: 6/10
Five Word Summary: Who’s a cute station? You!
Okay…this one is simply baffling to me. I’ll explain in a bit. First, as you can see in the photo above, we have a pretty nice station layout here. The outbound side has a little shelter, while the inbound has a pretty nice-looking building. There are a few bike racks and a small drop-off area that appears to double as unofficial parking – at least, people are using it for that purpose on Google Street View.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that the building is beautiful on the outside, its inside is a different story: there’s absolutely nothing in there. Sure, it has plenty of strange liquid whose contents should be examined under a microscope to see what kinds of strange organisms have developed, but that’s not something I want to see at a transit station! Still, the building is perfectly nice to admire on the outside. There’s even a weekday-only bus connection to the 115, plus an even more infrequent connection to the 107’s twice-a-day, inbound-only express trips. Everything just has a sign, but I don’t think you need more than that (although the 115 seems to generally pick at least a few people up here on each trip). All in all, Landsdowne Ave rounds out to be a pretty nice station!
Okay, I seriously thought that the two mostly bare platforms across the street from the real station were just unused. Maybe they were temporary infill stations while SEPTA did work on the regular station. I don’t know, anything would make more sense than what happens here! Basically, passengers can wait at either station, and trolleys can and will stop at both. Yes, that’s right: rather than walk ten feet to a crosswalk, people can slow down trolleys by making them stop at the same station twice. I’m…I’m lost for words. This is the most baffling station design I’ve ever seen. Oh boy, the score for this place just went way down…
Station: Landsdowne Ave
Ridership: This is actually the busiest unique stop on the trunk, with an impressive 1,275 daily riders. It seems weird that it gets that many given how close the stops on this line are, but Landsdowne Ave is the closest stop to two schools and a hospital, which definitely helps.
Pros: The platform to the west of Landsdowne is great. It has a charming (at least on the outside) building, plenty of amenities, and shelter for passengers travelling in both directions.
Cons: The layout. The layout all the way. Who the heck thought that this was a good idea? Why has this arrangement persisted to this current day? Has no one looked at how ridiculous it is for trolleys to stop twice and thought “Hmm, maybe we should change that”? Absurd. Absolutely absurd.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Not a ton, actually. There’s a YMCA and a local bar nearby, but none of the other businesses are interesting.
Final Verdict: 3/10
Five-Word Summary: Whoever designed this is squirrely.
Alright, this one blows Congress Ave out of the water. There’s something very endearing about having a trolley line in the middle of a pleasant residential neighborhood, and it’s made even better when the stations are as beautiful as this one. The outbound side is just a bench and a wastebasket (which is really all you need), but the inbound side gets a beautiful building. Not only that, but there’s another bench inside, plus a lovely painting at the entrance! It’s actually a pleasant place to be, unlike at Landsdowne!
Station: Drexel Park
Ridership: Given the residential nature of the neighborhood, just 117 daily riders.
Pros: Oh, it’s all adorable! I absolutely love the building, not only for its looks but also for its functionality. Each platform even has a single bike rack in the middle, which is a nice touch.
Cons: I don’t like how the outbound platform is on a curb. The inbound gets a ramp, but for some reason they didn’t do the same on the other side. I know trolley wheelchair accessibility is a long way off, but still, someone could trip over that.
Nearby and Noteworthy: All houses.
Final Verdict: 8/10
Five-Word Summary: Yes, Trolleys In My BackYard! [#YTIMBY]
Irvington Road is the exact same thing as Drexel Park, but without the building. At least neither of the platforms are on curbs this time.
Station: Irvington Road
Ridership: Still in residential land, so still low: 104 riders per day, the lowest on the trunk.
Pros: At least we still have benches and the bike racks on each platform. And like I said, at least the platforms aren’t on curbs.
Cons: Seriously, no shelter? None? Not even a lame bus shelter? C’mon, that’s no good!
Nearby and Noteworthy: H-O-U-S-E-S.
Final Verdict: 3/10
Five-Word Summary: Better hope it doesn’t rain.
Well, looks like we’re ending off on a fancy one! Check that out on the inbound platform – an actual, bonafide fare machine. And it was working! The inbound side also has a charming building, at least on the outside, but the inside had a funny smell when I was here. There are both indoor and outdoor benches, so you can choose whichever one you dare to use.
Since a good number of people travel outbound from here, it makes sense to put a shelter on that side, too. But what we get is…strange. The singular bench in this green shelter is up on a curb, not at all protected from the elements in the back, but there’s a weird wall blocking entry from the front. I guess some shelter is better than none, but this structure sure is weird.
Station: Drexel Hill Junction
Ridership: The third-highest on the trunk, with 652 daily weekday riders.
Pros: I love how this station gets a ticket machine, but the ungated Subway-Surface underground stations don’t. Oh well, it’s a nice thing to have regardless, and the building on the inbound side adds a bunch of character to the station.
Cons: Mainly the weird outbound shelter. I mean, seriously…what is that thing?
Nearby and Noteworthy: A bowling alley in a stone house? Sign me up!
Final Verdict: 7/10
Five-Word Summary: Fare machines should be commonplace!