The Port Authority of Allegheny County has announced that the Monongahela Incline will be closed for a few hours on Wednesday for state inspections.
The incline will be closed from approximately 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
During the closure, bus shuttles will operate between the incline’s upper and lower stations.
Thursday is the Fourth of July, which means Port Authority's bus, light-rail and incline service will operate on holiday schedules.
T routes will follow special holiday schedules, including service on Blue Line-South Hills Village. Special pink and blue service brochures are available at major schedule rack locations and posted here. For buses and incline, holiday schedules/hours are the same as Sunday schedules/hours.
For more details, visit the Authority's website or call Customer Service at 412-442-2000 (TTY 412-231-7007).
For years now, lawmakers, transportation advocates and community leaders have agreed on one thing: there needs to be a dedicated funding stream for transportation in Pennsylvania.
And this year, there actually seems to be legislative will to do something about paying for roads, bridges and mass transit. The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85, the union representing Port Authority bus operators and mechanics, last year agreed to $60 million in concessions for their current contract, which appeased the state and helped avert massive cuts.
As Fontaine reported, the scuttlebutt afoot is that Republican Dick Hess, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, was going to introduce amendments to Senate Bill 1, that would, among other things, "require Port Authority of Allegheny County and the Philadelphia-based SEPTA to seek bids from private companies to run at least 10 percent of the agencies' routes".
You hear a lot of things on the bus. Now, advertising is one of them.
On June 16, the Port Authority began piloting 15-second, GPS-based audio advertisements that play automatically at specific stops.
Megabus advertisements can be heard on buses that stop at Liberty Avenue at Wood Street, Downtown; Fifth Avenue and Atwood in Oakland; Forbes and Murray in Squirrel Hill; and Fifth and Smithfield Downtown. An advertisement for South Side Jewelers can be heard on any bus that stops at South 18th Street and East Carson Street.
"We're trying this out," says agency spokesman Jim Ritchie. "We're up in terms of ad revenue over last year, but we'd like to see if we can increase revenue by trying new things."
So far, audio ads are available at 11 different stops, with prices varying by stop. To run an ad at Liberty Avenue and Wood, for example, costs $1,300 a month. An ad at South 18th and Carson costs $250 a month.
Audio ads are used in other transit agencies across the country, including Toledo, Chicago, Kansas City and Cincinnati. In Allegheny County, transit officials are working with Ohio-based company Commuter Advertising to implement the system.
"It doesn't cost us anything to do it because they make money by helping to sell adds in the system that their helping implement," Ritchie says. The Authority can also sell ads directly.
Ritchie says audio message is just one revenue-generator that the agency is exploring. Among future plans: selling ads on Port Authority's website, which receives "a significant amount of traffic every day."
"We're still ironing out the technical end of it right now," Ritchie says.
Ritchie said the audio ad pilot is expected to last 18 months. While the agency can sell more ads in that time, Ritchie says they want to make sure technical and quality issues are addressed. The agency will also evaluate if Pittsburgh has a market for the ads -- "Just because something worked in other cities doesn't mean it will work here," Ritchie notes. Rider feedback is also being taken into consideration.
But Authority leaders hope riders will recognize that the ads ultimately help sustain bus service. Port Authority is planning a transit awareness campaign on buses "to get people to make the connection that transit advertising supports the bus you're riding on," says Ritchie. "If you're on a bus and you hear an audio ad, and your first instinct is, 'Geez, I'd rather not hear that,' think a second about the fact that it's pumping money into the system, and helping us support that route."
Beginning at 4 a.m., Sat., June 15, Liberty Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic between 9th and 10th Streets and Smithfield Street from Liberty to 7th for Pride in the Street. The streets will close Saturday morning and remain closed through 11 p.m. Sun., June 16, according to police. Pride in the Street runs from 5:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
At 6 a.m. Sunday, police say the Liberty Avenue street closure will expand to 6th Street, Tito Way, 6th Avenue, 7th Street, Wood Street, 9th Street and 7th Avenue for PrideFest.
Also on Sunday, there will be limited closures for the Pride March that takes place from noon to 1 p.m. through downtown.
On-street parking will also be restricted Sunday on the Boulevard of the Allies from Grant Street to Market Street, Fifth Avenue between Grant Street and Liberty Avenue and Liberty Avenue between Fifth and Seventh.
The Port Authority has also announced bus detours and temporary stop changes for Pride events.
Cycling advocacy group BikePGH launched the I <3 My Bike program with the hopes of making it easier to find stolen bikes by taking photos of owners with their rides, as well as the bike's identifying information and serial numbers for a private database.
And so far, it's working.
On Thurs., June 13, BikePGH posted on its Facebook page that Harmony Venturino's bike was stolen. The post on Facebook quickly was shared around the community, reaching more than 5,500 people. And within the hour, according to BikePGH, a person in the community found Venturino's lavender Schwinn Sprint.
"As we all understand my bike is more than just something to do to pass time. I fell in love with it and was becoming a good cyclist," Venturino said in a press release distributed by BikePGH. "My bike is unique just like I am, and I was so happy to find that it was found."
Rebecca Susman, Membership & Outreach Manager for BikePGH, said the bike was stolen from Oakland and recovered in Wilkinsburg. The thief had ditched the bike, and the community member saw the posting online. BikePGH connected the pair, and Venturino got her bike back.
Susman started the program after hearing about something similar at a conference a few years ago. And she knows from personal experience hAnd while BikePGH members had an informal way of reporting stolen or lost bikes on its message board, the database offers additional information such as make, model, serial number and other identifying characteristics.
"We had a fairly good track record of the community finding bikes," Susman tells City Paper. "But we wanted a more concrete way of finding them."
Since launching the program, Susman says almost 500 bikes are in the private database.
"We're really excited by the response," she says.
Cyclists can have their photos taken with their bikes at The Three Rivers Arts festival, and the photos will be posted to Flickr.
For Pride, Port Authority has announced several detours and temporary stop changes.
You can view Saturday's detour affected by the closure of Smithfield and Liberty for Pride in the Streets here. Detours for Sunday's Pride Awareness March can be found here for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the rest of Sunday's transit changes here.
The agency is encouraging riders to allow extra time when traveling this weekend. Minor detours for other events will also be in effect in Downtown and nearby areas this weekend.
Details are available on Port Authority's website. For more information, visit www.portauthority.org or call Customer Service at 412-442-2000 (TTY: 412-231-7007).
As part of the agency's regular four-time yearly schedule adjustments, more than 70 Port Authority bus routes will see changes on Sunday.
Approximately 45 bus routes will be adjusted. Among the changes are tweaks to routes affected by the ongoing weight restriction on Swissvale’s Kenmawr Bridge, as well as changes to better serve Bedford Avenue in the Hill District, according to the agency.
Port Authority will also begin bus-stop consolidations. Nearly 430 stops that see little to no use will be eliminated Sunday.
Details on the service changes and links to new schedules are now posted at www.portauthority.org under “Service Changes" and are available here.
Paper schedules will be available prior to the changes.
For a few months now, cyclists have been able to park their bicycles at the Third Avenue Bike Station — a transformed space in the Pittsburgh Parking Authority's Third Avenue Garage. That area offers a fix-it space and parking for 30 bikes.
And starting July, a "premium" parking area — a fenced in section accessible only by a badge that opens a magnetic door — will be available for cyclists who want to lease an area with secure, weather-protected storage lockers and parking for 24 bicycles.
“Providing cyclists with safe, secure parking for their bikes is another step forward in making Pittsburgh a world-class, bike-friendly city,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said in a press release announcing the station. “Project Pop Up: Downtown has made great strides in increasing Downtown’s vibrancy and bringing more people into the heart of our city. This collaborative project will make shopping, dining and entertainment amenities more accessible to cyclists as we continue to make Pittsburgh an even more livable city for everyone.”
Annual leases for the premium space are $100 and will run from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014. Leases will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Cyclists interested can call 412-560-2504 for more details.
The bike station was led by the city's cycling advocate group, BikePGH, with a $10,000 grant from the city's Project Pop Up: Downtown program, $7,200 from the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, and the donation of parts and labor by the PSX Group, one a Parking Authority contractor, worth $4,200.
Spotted this one on Bike Pittsburgh's website this morning: the bike advocacy organization will again sponsor bike-valet parking at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. And, cyclists are being invited to participate in the "I <3 My Bike" program at the valet tent.
Cyclists will have the chance to get their photo taken with their bikes on a backdrop of the city's skyline. Their name, serial number and bike description will also be collected for a private database. If the bike is ever stolen, Bike Pittsburgh will provide the information and photo to police as proof ownership.
Cyclists don't have to be a Bike Pittsburgh member to participate. The program operates at the valet tent from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturdays, and from noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays. Valet is free; and you don't need to bring your own lock.
For more on bike culture events at the Arts Festival, visit here.
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