Rail commuters in Delaware County will get additional parking at the busy Elwyn station by summer 2010 if the SEPTA board approves the purchase of land to expand the station's parking lot.

SEPTA plans to pay up to $214,415 for a parcel that would accommodate 90 spaces. Elwyn Inc., an institute for the disabled, owns the land.

The money is to come from federal stimulus funding, said SEPTA real estate director Gerald M. Maier, who presented the proposal to a SEPTA board committee yesterday.

Riders on SEPTA's R3/Media-Elwyn line have been clamoring for more parking for years. The shortage there became especially acute last year as rising gasoline prices boosted ridership.

The lot's 233 spaces are usually gone by about 8 a.m., and cars are frequently parked on the shoulder of the access road and crowded onto grass abutments.

Eventually, SEPTA said, it hopes to extend the R3 line to Wawa, where it could build another large parking lot to take pressure off the Elwyn lot.

"There's always demand for spaces," Maier said.

In the last five years, the agency has added 1,925 parking spaces, including 500 at the Frankford Transportation Center, 380 in a garage at Norristown, 305 at Fort Washington, 265 at Warminster, and 115 at Trevose. By the end of this year, SEPTA plans to add 300 spaces at the Exton station.

The SEPTA board is to vote Thursday on the Elwyn land purchase.

Contact staff writer Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or pnussbaum@phillynews.com.