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."
Continuing our admittedly somewhat pointless speculation about who will vie to be Patrick Dowd's successor on City Council, we now turn toward another community leader widely rumored to be interested: Lawrenceville United executive director Lauren Byrne.
It's no surprise that her name has surfaced: Byrne has been a mayoral staffer, working as a community liaison for both the O'Connor and Ravenstahl administrations. Her grandmother is Aggie Brose, a longtime community leader with the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation. And Byrne's current post has her running one of District 7's leading community organizations. (Interestingly, Lawrenceville United was
founded by previously helmed by Tony Ceoffe, whose son is also considering a run.)
Byrne acknowledges that she has thought about running for council -- someday. "It's always been something I've thought I might want to do," she says. But with Dowd's surprising decision to step down next month, the possibility is no longer quite so remote. And Byrne says that as far as running this time around, "To be honest, it's not something I've really thought about." Mostly, she says, she's been trying to figure out how Dowd's departure will affect her organization's initiatives: "I'm sad to see Patrick go," she says.
But Byrne, who is about to take a weeklong vacation, says she started getting calls very soon after news of Dowd's move broke. "I haven't talked to anyone [about a potential campaign], and all the sudden I was running," she says with a laugh.
But while Byrne won't rule out a run, she says it's unlikely at this point.
"This district is full of capable people," she says. "There are a lot of community volunteers here, and I'm interested to see who steps forward." If none of those community leaders jumps into the race, she says, that would be a factor in her own decision.
"But I hope it doesn't come to that," she says. "I like what I'm doing now, and I like being away from the craziness of the [City-County Building's] 5th floor."
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story wrongly characterized Tony Ceoffe's role in Lawrenceville United.
As we reported earlier this week, within hours of Patrick Dowd's decision to resign from council next month, names for potential replacements began circulating. Among the most frequently mentioned: state Sen. Jim Ferlo, who formerly held that council seat himself. Ferlo faces the prospect of a tough re-election battle: His district was recently reconfigured to be oriented toward the northern suburbs, where presumptive Republican rival Randy Vulakovich has his base.
We asked Ferlo earlier this week about whether he was interested in running for the special election that would be held this November to replace Dowd. Yesterday, he e-mailed us a statement that he'd apparently also sent to the Post-Gazette. In the statement, Ferlo notes he has more immediate priorities -- Harrisburg is abuzz with the state budget process and debates about liquor-store privatization, among other matters -- and says he's "not ready yet to suit up and get on the field." But I'll tell you what ... I'm reading that statement and putting the emphasis on the word "yet." Read the statement in full and see if you agree (the ellipses are Ferlo's):
[M]y immediate priorities and responsibilities are with state budget, state store debate, Medicare expansion etc. and work needing to be accomplished before June 30th.... [S]everal folks who I respect and are deserving and could support will be weighing their options and opportunities.... I have rec'd many supportive comments from community leaders and business folks because of my Senate and URA initiatives, but quite frankly not ready yet to suit up and get on the field---I have not yet had a chance to speak to Councilman Dowd or Councilman/Democratic nominee Bill Peduto.
President Obama's 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, and demographer Manuel Pastor gave provocative keynote addresses at last week's Americans For The Arts national convention, held in Pittsburgh. A recap in Program Notes.
Landi runs kNOTDance, a locally based contemporary troupe known for its aerial work. (Think trapeze, only with big swaths of cloth.) The athletic company is popular at festivals and a particular favorite at LGBT street fair PrideFest, where it performs every year.
As he often does, Bartko, 30, was videotaping the troupe’s performance for Landi. “At one point the music changes and he pulled me over and pulled the camera off me and got down on one knee, and I knew what was going on,” says Bartko. “It was a huge shock and a wonderful surprise.”
Landi presented the ring to the prerecorded strains of the song “Grow Old With You,” from the Adam Sandler flick The Wedding Singer. “I chose that song specifically because for the past six-and-a-half years, I’ve not wanted to get married,” said Landi. “The banter [with Bartko] was, ‘I want to grow old with you.’”
Yep — the kNOTDance guy still wasn’t into formally tying the knot. But Landi had had a change of heart while recently touring Germany with acclaimed dance troupe Pilobolus.
“Being on tour sort of solidified my feeling of wanting to be with Matt for the rest of my life,” said Landi, 26, in a phone interview yesterday. For one thing, two other couples in that touring company were planning their nups. And it didn’t hurt that marriage equality was this year’s PrideFest theme, as evidenced by all those T-shirts reading “I Wanna Marry You.”
“A lot of people were happy that I shared that moment with them,” says Landi.
Landi’s family is from Pittsburgh, though he grew up in Miami, and returned to study dance at Point Park University. Bartko, a McKeesport native, works at Pitt, where he’s studying for his master’s in social work.
The two met online in 2007, in a chatroom, then attended a Pittsburgh International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival screening together. The next time they saw each other was shortly after that, when Landi unwittingly cut off Bartko in traffic. Following the script of an admittedly meet-cute scenario, Bartko tailed him, and cheerfully said, “You cut me off, asshole.” Then, as Bartko puts it, “We didn’t leave each other’s side for the next two or three weeks.”
With Landi touring so much, though, they’ve gotten used to being apart. In fact, on July 6, just six weeks home after concluding the German tour — and three weeks after proposing — he’s leaving for nine-month world tour with Pilobolus.
And if the proposal was simply Landi’s way of locking up Bartko before hitting the road, it worked: Bartko promises he “won’t be sitting under the apple tree” with anyone else.
Lawrenceville resident Tony Ceoffe tells City Paper that he is “seriously considering a run” to fill the District 7 city council seat set that will be vacated by Patrick Dowd next month.
Dowd announced Monday morning that he would be resigning from council in July to head up a new non-profit focused on children's issues. District voters will choose his successor in a special election this November.
Ceoffe, the son of District Magistrate Tony Ceoffe -- who was a long-time Lawrenceville community activist before ascending to the bench -- said he began hearing from supporters not long after Dowd's announcement Monday morning.
“I received calls from a boatload of supporters from my 2011 campaign as well as supporters I've met since that campaign,” Ceoffe said. “I am seriously considering a run for the seat, but I just found out Patrick was stepping down at 8:45 [Monday] morning. I need to talk things over with my wife and my family before deciding.
“But if I do run," he added, "it will be to meet the needs of this district and not to be a rubber stamp for any special interests.”
Even though Dowd's announcement isn't yet 24 hours old, names are beginning to pop up as potential replacements. Paul McKrell, the government affairs manager for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, told CP on Monday that he too, was considering a run for Dowd's seat.
When he ran in 2011, Ceoffe received the Democratic Party endorsement and campaigned full time after being forced to choose between keeping his job with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor or ending his campaign. He was defeated by Dowd, who received nearly 65 percent of the vote. Ceoffe now works as Section 8 case evaluator for the city housing authority.
Ceoffe congratulated Dowd on his new position,saying the mission of the new non-profit, Allies for Children was “amazing.” However, back in 2011, he predicted to City Paper that Dowd would not be in the position for long, and recalled those doubts this week.
“From things I had seen throughout his first term on council, I just never thought he was in this job for the long-term,” says Ceoffe, who notes Dowd ran against Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in 2009, just half-way through his first term. “He always seemed to be looking for the next step, the next position.
“If I run, I will stick around for the long haul, to make sure the goals and the needs of the district are met. I would also look forward to working with the new administration and new members of council to move this city forward together.”
As we've noted in previous coverage, the bill prohibits health insurers from offering coverage for abortions for anything other then rape, incest or the life of the mother, on state-run healthcare insurance exchanges.
The exchanges, which will be created as part of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, are due to take effect in 2014. They will offer insurance to residents who can't get insurance through an employer.
In the post, it says, "Happy Birthday Governor Corbett. Here's some books we're thinking about getting for you."
Among the titles: Economics for Dummies, and Getting Ready for Retirement.
City Councilor Patrick Dowd will be leaving his elected post to lead a newly established children's advocacy group, Allies for Children, this summer.
"This is just a new form of public service," Dowd said at a press conference held this morning at Downtown's CAPA arts school.
One in six western Pennsylvania children lives in poverty, Dowd noted; roughly one-half live in families designated as low-income. Children in such circumstances, Dowd said "are starting their life ... without the things they need in order to succeed," and thus were at higher risk for negative outcomes like dropping out of school, ending up in prison. "There is a real urgency to this work."
As Dowd noted, there is already a plethora of local agencies and advocacy groups working on children's issues. Allies for Children was "not going to supplant that work," he said, but instead work on "broadening the base of support" for it. Allies, he said, would "build a united front" on advocating for a wide range of children's issues, including children's health and early-education, at the federal, state, and local level.
Allies for Children is an outgrowth of Childwatch, a longtime children's advocacy group. Dowd and other officials said the new effort would be distinguished by its comprehensive scope, and by the fact that it would have long-term backing from a broad range of local corporations and foundations. Allies would "help set the advocacy agenda" for children in western Pennsylvania, said Kevin Jenkins, a senior program officer for the Pittsburgh Foundation.
Dowd says he was hired last week, and planned to formally submit his resignation next month, adding that he still wanted to finish up some initiatives, especially at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, where he is a board member. That timeline would allow his replacement to be chosen in a special election coinciding with the November general election. Dowd declined to speculate on the dynamics of the race, saying that was for the voters to decide. Dowd said he and Allies began talking in April about the post, and while he declined to say who initiated those discussions, board chair Martha Isler said Dowd responded to an online job listing advertising the job.
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.
Here's the video of the proposal!
Always nice to see people passionate about 18th century history bring it to life through…
I wonder if a personal reason is involved in his dislike for Range. Interesting that…