The city’s long-term planning initiative known as Philadelphia2035 contains countless localized development projects sought by neighbors in their communities. In Fox Chase, residents may realize two of those wish-list items long before 2035.
During the bimonthly meeting of the Fox Chase Homeowners Association and Town Watch on Nov. 12, one volunteer contributor to the Philadelphia2035 project reported that the City Planning Commission has already begun to explore repurposing an old railroad corridor and installing long-sought sidewalks along a local traffic artery.
According to Fox Chase resident Chuck Tucker, the City Planning Commission (which oversees Philadelphia2035) has obtained grant funding to study the conversion of SEPTA’s abandoned Fox Chase-Newtown Line into a park trail. Also, Tucker said, the commission has won a second grant to study the installation of sidewalks along Oxford Avenue between Rockwell and Hasbrook avenues.
City Planner Mike Thompson has been invited to speak about Philadelphia2035 at the next Fox Chase meeting on Jan. 14 at American Legion Post 366, 7976 Oxford Ave.
The railroad conversion proposal is detailed on pages 35 and 36 of the Central Northeast District Plan, which is available on the www.phila2035.org website. The abandoned railroad bed was originally built in the 1870s. In 1981, SEPTA decided to employ the railroad to extend its R8 Regional Rail service from Fox Chase to Newtown. SEPTA ended the service two years later. The tracks have been idle since then.
The R8 (now known as the Fox Chase Line) now ends at Fox Chase Station on Rhawn Street between Oxford and Rockwell avenues. The unused tracks continue north of Rhawn Street and cut across Pine Road before entering Montgomery County.
Meanwhile, many Fox Chase folks have been clamoring for years for the city — or anyone else — to build an uninterrupted sidewalk on Oxford Avenue. Traveling southward, the sidewalks end near Hasbrook Avenue, leaving pedestrians to walk in the street or navigate a shoulder of mixed terrain. Oxford is the main artery connecting the commercial corridors of Fox Chase and Burholme.
In other Fox Chase business:
• Capt. Frank Bachmayer, commander of the 7th Police District, reported that home burglaries and vehicle break-ins continue to be the most commonly reported crimes in the area.
In addition, residents should keep an eye out for each other. If you see a stranger or someone acting suspiciously around a home or car, call 911 .
“Don’t hesitate to pick up that telephone,” Bachmayer said. “It may not be (a crime in progress), but it could be.”
• City Councilman Brian O’Neill invited residents to visit his new district office behind the American Heritage Federal Credit Union at 430 Rhawn St.
• Jeff Dempsey, deputy chief of staff for state Rep. Kevin Boyle, asked residents to donate non-perishable food to a local meals program. All items can be dropped off at Boyle’s office at 7801-A Hasbrook Ave. (215–695–1016). Also, Boyle’s bill to dedicate a portion of Verree Road as the Firefighter Daniel Sweeney Memorial Highway has been signed into law, Dempsey said. ••