Lansdale OKs paving for freight station parking lots

LANSDALE — An unpaved lot near one of Lansdale’s busiest intersections may soon have a new look.

The borough’s Parking Authority has been awarded a contract to pave the parking lot next to the city’s freight station on Broad Street.

“This project has been included in the budget and the contractor is committed to starting this project as soon as possible,” said Borough Manager John Ernst.

A freight station situated east of Broad Street, opposite Borough Hall built in the early 1900s and acted as a major import and export hub for local businesses shipping goods to and from the region until it fell into disrepair at the end of the 20th century. In the late 1990s, the Lansdale Historical Society began negotiations to purchase the station and adjacent property, and in 2016 the city’s parking authority reached an agreement to do so with the area’s nonprofit Discover Lansdale purchase of the building itself and supervision of several community open houses and volunteer Saturday workers since, to promote the idea reconstruction of the station in a museum or visitor center.

Since the manager notified the council on August 17th, the parking authority has continued to negotiate on how to reopen the parking lot, and those negotiations led to a contract on August 18th. The original budget for the project was just over $1.3 million, which is slightly more than before initial estimate from 2017 — but several bids fell short of budget, and the parking authority awarded the contract to Scott Building Corp., according to Ernst and Community Development Director Jason Van Dam.

A site plan by Pennoni Associates shows the new paving and infrastructure around the Lansdale Freight Station, lower left, from Broad Street below. (Image courtesy of Lansdale Borough)

A area plan developed for the car park Area traffic engineers Pennoni Associates shows several changes to the current section, which is now unpaved and largely covered with a mixture of old pavement, gravel and dirt with near Lansdale Luxor residential building construction. The site plan will clearly identify two entrances to the site, one a two-way entrance and exit at the current Vine Street traffic signal, and a one-way entrance from the Broad further south. A two-way drive with eight parking spaces will run parallel to the freight station itself, then at about the southern end of the station, a right turn will bring drivers to a second parking lot with nine spaces on the south and seven on the parking lot. the north side, which runs parallel to the nearby houses.

The access road itself will continue approximately southeast, parallel to the station, to the second car park further from the Broad. The project calls for the addition of a dozen new parking spaces adjacent to the station itself, with spaces perpendicular to the access road and the nearest rail line, then a second car park between the station and the neighboring Luxor apartment building, as well as a rear car park. will see 18 parking spaces in the westernmost row, 15 spaces in the center row and 13 in the eastern row, all surrounded by two-way lanes and new landscaping.

“The project includes approximately 95 parking spaces, as well as provisions for electric vehicle chargers, with an expected completion date in time for the holidays this year,” Ernst said.

Councilman Rich DiGregorio asked how soon paving could begin, and Ernst said paving could begin as soon as the Northern Pennsylvania Water Authority completes utility upgrades there.

“They have to make some underground connections to the water (lines). So, once they’re done, our contractor will come in and start working. We assume that this will happen sometime in September,” he said.

Board member B.J. Breisch asked if the parking authority had discussed the need to connect any other utility lines to the freight station itself.

“It would be a shame to tear up the parking lot to connect water to the cargo hold, or gas, or whatever we ultimately decide to do there,” he said.

Ernst replied that the water lines added by the water authority would allow a future connection to the load station, and the city’s electric department would probably handle the rest.

“There are electric drops there now that are used, but we who feel that with this project, for parking, we will be able to meet all the utility needs in the future,” said Ernst.

Councilor Mark Ledley asked if the project would also include new lighting for the site and/or provisions for chargers for electric vehicles like those installed in the city building opposite. Ernst said the installation of new lighting will be included in the paving contract, but the new chargers will not be installed yet.

“Now the project involves building the infrastructure for electric vehicle chargers, but not necessarily the chargers themselves, because we will be looking for grant opportunities to provide what they call ‘fast chargers’ that will charge the cars that come in much faster “, said Ernst.

Lansdale Borough Council next meets at 8.30pm on 7 September with various council committees commencing at 6.30pm that evening, all at Borough Municipal Building, 1 Vine Street. For more information visit

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