Before the sun has risen until after it has set, there’s an essential spot in Hatboro that proves its worth every day.
It’s the borough’s train station, host to hundreds daily for SEPTA’s vital Warminster to Center City line. Cars and SUVs crowd the dense area in search of limited parking around the century-old 20-foot by 55-foot handsome brick building at Byberry Road and Penn Street, and once settled, anxious commuters carrying briefcases and coffee hustle in and out of the ticket office then onto a waiting train.
On this weekday, a Center City-bound train opens its doors and quickly fills with eager passengers before releasing a loud yet dull siren. The train’s doors shut and off it goes out of town. The well-ordered, dynamic process repeats a short time later. And then again and again.
Watching the activity is Diane Hegele. She’s Hatboro Borough Manager.
“I was able to see firsthand in the very early morning hours and again at the end of the day, the commuters only come to Hatboro to catch the train,” she surmised. “We need to work on keeping them here or bringing them back to shop and eat.”
That the aim. Determining how to do it is a goal now of borough leaders, and it’s an idea with concepts in a Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) report released a month ago. Borough officials were “very pleased” with the report and are now examining options.
“We are looking at some type of gateway on Moreland Avenue to move people to York Road from the train station,” Hegele said. “New signage, art, advertising. The signage component will focus on how we can move the commuters into the community and Main Street to help our business district.”
To that principled end, Hatboro recently undertook some improvements -- installation of sidewalks from Moreland to Montgomery Avenue, and the painting this month of bicycle lanes along Jacksonville Road.
“I’m very happy to see this happen,” the manager said, adding the borough also hopes soon to release its 2040 plan, “which has similar recommendations as the DVRPC plan.”
There are many views on how best to improve Hatboro’s health.
“I would love to implement them all ASAP,” said Hegele. “But I will continue to work with Council, staff and our residents to continue to make Hatboro more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.”
All aboard, please.