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‘The status quo of services doesn’t work.’

alfred klosterman kensington
Alfred Klosterman at the March for Safety and Solutions on March 23, 2021. (Photo by Zari Tarazona)

Alfred Klosterman 

Resident and member of Harrowgate Civic Association

1. How does the closure of Somerset Station affect you and people in the neighborhood? What challenges may you face in accessing transportation now?

It’s two stops away from my stop, and my stop’s in the same condition. So it’s a matter of time [before mine gets shut down, too]. We have to start getting respect from SEPTA.

2. What are the conditions like at Somerset Station and on the Market-Frankford Line? How do they affect you?

You have to climb over [people who use drugs], and needles everywhere. When you’re getting on board, there are people “shooting up” on the platform and on the train.

3. What kinds of solutions could be implemented to create safe and reliable transportation in Kensington?

They have to get people off the street somehow — and preferably into a treatment. I mean, jail is not the answer, obviously, but they have to get them into treatment. It just can’t continue and not change.

4. Should there be a community-led advisory board, made up of stakeholders like the City, SEPTA, Kensington residents, civic associations, nonprofits, and businesses, that comes up with a plan for reopening the Somerset Station and provides long term solutions to the problems that led to its closure?

Yes, there should be a community-based advisory board representing the public’s interests, long-term and short. Local residents and businesses need to be heard. People who use drugs and [who are experiencing homelessness] must be considered because whatever happens with the station, the status quo of services doesn’t work for them. Housing and treatment for them must be a part of the package. The advisory board will need to be a long-term thing because these problems won’t be solved overnight.

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Editors: Zari Tarazona, Claire Wolters / Designer: Henry Savage

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