5th Square is providing the following press release in reaction to the news that SEPTA may temporarily close Kensington’s Somerset Station over safety issues.
March 15, 2021
For Immediate Release
5th Square expresses concern over the closure of the Somerset Station on the Market-Frankford Line. “A station closure due to unsafe conditions is an indicator of a social system gone horribly wrong,” says 5th Square member Cameron Adamez.
The fact that the station has become a de facto shelter for unhoused people and a spot for drug use speaks to greater systemic problems that must not and cannot be solved by SEPTA alone.
As the City of Philadelphia released its transit plan for 2045 with an emphasis on safety, this is a perfect opportunity for the City to assist SEPTA in refurbishing the Somerset station. Any closure or service reduction must be accompanied with a hard deadline for reopening in the immediate future, so as not to permanently disrupt the lives and travel patterns of Kensington residents.
City lawmakers must revisit legislation to approve supervised injection sites and legalize additional needle exchange clinics in Kensington. 5th Square supports supervised injection sites throughout Philadelphia and believes such a facility in Kensington is critical in solving this problem. Additionally, the City needs to find immediate solutions to the expanding crisis of homelessness, by providing better, safer alternatives for the unhoused.
Such solutions will allow SEPTA to refocus their energy on providing safe, efficient transportation and excellent customer service for its riders.
5th Square is Philly's urbanist political action committee. We formed in 2014 to support candidates for local elected office who are committed to policy change in the areas of transportation, land use, and public space, and to advance a vision for a more accessible, sustainable, equitable Philadelphia for all residents.