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‘When we remove a resource, other resources get stretched.’

amy liao
Amy Liao, a Kensington resident and an employee at Esperanza Health Center at Kensington and Allegheny Avenues, advocates for cleaner streets and a cleaner transportation system in Kensington on March 23, 2021. Solving problems like excessive trash and illegal dumping should be part of the solution in creating better transportation, she says. (Photo by Claire Wolters)

Amy Liao

Kensington resident and Esperanza Health Center employee

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

Personally, I don’t usually use the Somerset Station. But I know that if it’s closed, for me, there will be more traffic at Allegheny — which is what I usually use — and Huntingdon [stations]. Just thinking about the ripple effects. When we remove a resource, other resources get stretched.

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

I know that there is a lot of trash and litter and a lot of syringes and needles, which are pretty hazardous. I do walk through this Kensington corridor every now and then, and it makes it challenging to walk through these areas when trying to avoid stepping on things besides sidewalk.

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

There are many layers of problems that contribute to the condition of the corridor. Broadly speaking, [solutions are] encouraging people to look out for their neighbors, taking time to be present with people who feel isolated or alone, and then perhaps [adding] more trash cans or more sharps containers.

I do see a lot of volunteers coming regularly to do cleanups. But, the wind still blows more trash. 

And there’s also a problem with dumping. That’s something that some of my neighbors and I have been working on addressing in our community. A solution we’ve discussed was perhaps more consequences for those who are caught dumping. Making it easier for smaller businesses or smaller contractors to dispose of their waste in affordable ways, so that they feel like they can financially use sanitation in the proper ways, and then actually implementing the consequences if they are caught dumping.

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?

I think it’s definitely more holistic to have broader representation, although it might seem less efficient [at first]. In the long run, it might be more efficient to have more representation at the table.

If you would like to participate in future community responses, send us an email at editors@kensingtonvoice.com.

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

To read more community responses, click here.

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