Transit | BLOGH: City Paper's Blog |
Friday, June 22, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 12:40 PM

click to enlarge Should a Larimer parking lot also be pitched as a transit center?
Photo courtesy of Staticshakedown
Bakery Square in Larimer
Last week, the Pittsburgh Planning Commission conditionally approved a new development at Bakery Square in Larimer. The development includes about a 700-unit parking garage, appearing to want to accommodate additional drivers.

But at the same time, the developer, Walnut Capital, is also pitching the project as a “multi-modal transit center.” The parking garage is the first step in a proposal to link Bakery Square, home to a Google office, to a new busway station that would also serve Hamilton Avenue in Larimer. Pittsburgh City Councilors Ricky Burgess and Erika Strassburger have given the project support, saying it will spur economic development and help create affordable housing.

But Laura Wiens of advocacy group Pittsburghers for Public Transit says the development’s two transit-related visions are antithetical.

“It is a terrible idea, we don't want 700 people driving on Penn Avenue to then get on public transit,” says Wiens. “That is not how our transit system should work.”

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 1:43 PM

click to enlarge Bike advocates call for extending Penn Avenue bike lane through the Strip District
CP photo by Ryan Deto
The end of the Penn Avenue protected bike lane
Good luck riding a bike from Downtown Pittsburgh into the Strip District.

After a pleasant mile-long ride on Penn Avenue’s protected bike lane, the lane abruptly ends at 16th Street in the Strip. From there, the protected bike area disappears and riders are forced to navigate crowded roads, alleys with poor visibility and several turns just to get to the shops a few blocks away. It’s not for the faint of heart.

“It’s a no man’s land,” says Eric Boerer of bike-advocacy group Bike Pittsburgh of the bike route into the Strip District.

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Posted By on Mon, Jun 4, 2018 at 1:26 PM

Reminder from Pittsburgh Parking Authority: Don’t park in the bike lanes
CP photo by Jake Mysliwczyk
Protected bike lane on Penn Avenue, Downtown
On May 30, the Twitter account for the Pittsburgh Parking Authority issued a warning to drivers: if you park in a bike lane, you will get a ticket. The tweet was accompanied by a photo of PPA officer issuing a ticket to a pickup truck parked inside the protected bike lane on Penn Avenue.

This tweet retweeted more than 50 times, received more than 120 likes and several replies from people thanking PPA.

With some added attention to the authority, PPA director of on-street parking John Fournier says it’s a good time to remind Pittsburghers that PPA supports alternative modes of transit. PPA isn’t just dedicated to cars.

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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Posted By on Thu, May 3, 2018 at 3:08 PM

click to enlarge State Rep. Ed Gainey and advocates call for fleet of electric buses in Pittsburgh area
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Ed Gainey
In September 2017, the Port Authority of Allegheny County was awarded a federal-government grant to purchase the agency’s first electric bus. The electric bus will likely serve the 88 route that runs along Penn Avenue from Point Breeze to Downtown, and Port Authority officials say it will serve as a test bus for the proposed Bus Rapid Transit, which hopes to include 25 electric buses.

But Pennsylvania state Rep. Ed Gainey (D-East Liberty) and environmental and transit advocates want a larger commitment to electric buses. Eventually, they want to see the majority of Port Authority's fleet become electric, and are also hoping area school districts build up a fleet of electric school buses.

“We have to save Mother Earth,” said Gainey at a May 3 press conference at the East Liberty transit station. “The more we can invest in cleaner air, the more we are looking to the future. And we know electric buses are the way of the future.”

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Monday, April 30, 2018

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2018 at 5:22 PM

Port Authority drops proposal to check light-rail transit fares with armed police officers
CP photo by Jordan Miller
Station Square light-rail station
Ever since the Port Authority of Allegheny County proposed using Port Authority Police officers to check if light-rail riders had paid their fares, criticism had come from many angles. Police accountability groups worried the policy would disproportionally affect minorities and lead to $300 fines and even jail time for avoiding to pay a $2.75 fare. Immigrant-rights groups were concerned that one or two failures to pay fares could lead to the deportation of undocumented immigrants.

On top of those local concerns, a municipal court in Cleveland ruled a similar proposal unconstitutional in November 2017.

Then on April 27, Port Authority CEO Katharine Eagan Kelleman announced the authority would no longer be pursuing the fare-check proposal. Kelleman become CEO this year, before the fare-check proposal was introduced.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Posted By on Tue, Apr 10, 2018 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge New steps being installed in Oakland include a small ramp for bikes
Photo courtesy of Kristin Saunders
Staircase connecting Joncaire Street to Frick Fine Arts building in Oakland, with a runnel on the right-hand side
Currently, a grand new staircase is being built in Oakland to take the place of a deteriorating set that connected Joncaire Street up to the Frick Fine Arts building in Central Oakland. Joncaire Street is close to the terminus of the Panther Hollow trail, which provides cyclists and pedestrians a car-free passage from Oakland to Greenfield and directly connects to the Three Rivers Heritage Trail that leads to Downtown.

But Joncaire Street is a bumpy cobblestone road that’s incredibly difficult to bike on. So that last connection for cyclists traveling to Oakland from Downtown usually involves either walking bikes up the sidewalk or riding on the sidewalks, which isn’t legal in a business district.

Now, the new staircase provides cyclists a different option to traverse up to Central Oakland, with a small ramp next to the steps called a “runnel.” (In the picture above, a thin strip of concrete can be seen on the right-hand side of the staircase.) Pittsburgh's principal transportation planner Kristin Saunders wrote in an email to City Paper that cyclists should be able to walk alongside their bike and push the bike up and down the staircase with ease.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2018 at 4:47 PM

Bike Pittsburgh calling for more possible regulation of driverless cars in light of fatal crash in Arizona
CP photo by Kim Lyons
A Ford Focus model of an Uber driverless car
On March 18, a semi-autonomous Uber car struck and killed a pedestrian who was walking her bike across a street in Tempe, Ariz. Initial reports stated the crash was caused by the pedestrian darting out in front of the car, but those would prove inaccurate. A video was released a few days after the crash by Tempe police that showed the car’s technology failed to identify the pedestrian, who was walking across the street slowly in very low light. Additionally, an Uber employee sitting in the driver's seat appeared to be looking down, immediately prior to the crash. According to the Associated Press, experts who viewed the video have said Uber’s driverless-car technology should have picked up the woman and stopped before colliding with her.

On March 27, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey suspended Uber’s self-driving testing privileges throughout the state. Now, the bike and pedestrian advocates at nonprofit Bike Pittsburgh are hoping Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania also consider adding some regulations to the driverless-car testing that occurs in Pittsburgh.

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Feb 22, 2018 at 4:23 PM

click to enlarge Healthy Ride bike share will more than triple amount of Pittsburgh stations
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Healthy Ride bike-share station on Penn Avenue, Downtown
Pittsburgh Bike Share, also known as Healthy Ride, currently serves about a dozen Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Many stations are near bike trails and popular destinations. The system has excelled at generating rides near these bike-friendly places: Healthy Ride has tallied more than 212,000 rides since the system opened in May 2015.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Posted By on Tue, Dec 26, 2017 at 3:16 PM

click to enlarge Residents urge Port Authority to maintain service for bus routes in Mon Valley
Photo courtesy of Nica Ross
Example of postcard asking to maintain route 61 bus service
Last week, about 100 residents met at the Braddock Carnegie Library in Braddock to sign postcards asking the Port Authority of Allegheny County to consider their public-transit needs when considering changes that will likely come with the proposed implementation of a Pittsburgh Bus Rapid Transit system.

The BRT, which some have called light rail on rubber wheels, will make big changes to infrastructure along Fifth and Forbes avenues between Oakland and Downtown. The project will include installation of bus-only lanes, new stations with modern shelters, bike lanes, and will shorten bus-travel times. But, as City Paper reported in April, it could also change the bus rides of at least 1,500 riders from areas like Swissvale, Braddock, Duquesne and McKeesport. The number 61 bus routes, which currently start in McKeesport and Braddock and travel towards Downtown through Oakland, will be altered thanks to the BRT and their future of the 61 routes is up in the air.

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Posted By on Fri, Dec 1, 2017 at 4:40 PM

click to enlarge Allegheny County has the most car crashes of any county in Pennsylvania
Image courtesy of Dallas W. Hartman P.C.
Map of car crashes in Allegheny County; the larger the circle the higher the number of crashes
A new study from Pennsylvania law firm Dallas W. Hartman shows Allegheny County has an outsized share of car crashes compared to other counties in the state and, in fact, has the most crashes of any county. Considering the Eastern Pennsylvania counties of Philadelphia, Delaware and Montgomery each have more people per square mile than Allegheny County, this is quite a dubious distinction.

According to the study, more than 15,700 crashes occurred at intersections in Allegheny County from 2014 to 2016. More than 40 percent of those occurred at just 787 intersections. The study also includes a map that shows where all the crashes have occurred and their frequency at those areas.

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