Transportation

Transportation news

A Pittsburgh taxi company wants to see more green when you step into their yellow cabs.

Pittsburgh Transportation Group (PTG) is asking the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for a rate hike.

Yellow Cab’s parent PTG wants a surcharge of 17 cents a mile to replace all others, including the $1.15 fee on the flag drop.

This would raise the current rates of $1.75 a mile to $1.92 a mile.

Company President Jamie Campolongo said the current surcharge is outdated and gives drivers who make short trips more money than those who drive longer trips.

The advocacy group Pittsburghers for Public Transit (PPT) plans to hold a rally on June 4 in the Capitol Rotunda to call for funding and better conditions for public transit in Pennsylvania.

PPT Community Organizer Helen Gerhardt said they plan on visiting the office of every state legislator to tell them why public transit is crucial.

“Many people don’t realize just how important public transit is to the urban tax base, which then supports the entire state budget including funds for roads and bridges,” Gerhardt said.

A Thousand Mile River Voyage in a 51 Year Old Canoe

May 30, 2013
Point to Cairo / Facebook

Ian Davis of Green Tree is embarking Saturday on a 1,000 mile journey from Point State Park to Cairo, Illinois in an old wooden and canvas-covered canoe. He hopes to complete the trip by August as he raises awareness and funds for his nonprofit company that teaches children to become "world class communicators." He recently spoke with WESA reporter Jessica Nath about his plans and the back story of how he acquired the canoe.

Photo courtesy of Ian Davis

When David Burt bought his canoe in 1964, he thought that he would be the one paddling it on long-distance journeys.

But his life was cut short in 1966, and now the current owner of the canoe is embarking on a 1,000-mile adventure in remembrance of David.

Ian Davis, 52, of Green Tree will begin his journey in Point State Park with the hope of finishing this August in Cairo, Illinois with his 51-year-old canoe intact.

Mark Nootbar / 90.5 WESA

The latest report from a Washington D.C.-based pro-transportation investment think tank finds the average Pittsburgh driver is losing $1,418 a year due to the poor conditions of the region’s transportation infrastructure and mass transit systems. 

The Road Information Program (TRIP) Policy and Research Director Frank Moretti said that comes in the form of gas and time wasted sitting in traffic congestion, accidents due at least in part to poor road conditions and design, and fuel inefficiency and undue wear and tear on vehicles due to bad road conditions.

When choosing a way to get around for the next few years, eight out of 10 adults would rather drive out of the dealership with a gas vehicle than an electric one.

According to a survey by AAA, 30 percent of adults said they would not buy an electric car because of limits with mileage. Twenty-six percent said it was because of cost.

The traditional kick-off to the summer driving season officially gets underway this weekend as millions of people travel for the Memorial Day weekend. According to AAA East Central, approximately 31.2 million motorists will hit the road starting Thursday.

“In the mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, there will be about 3.78 million drivers out on the roadways, so very busy if you’re heading out on a road trip,” said AAA spokeswoman Bevi Powell.

As part of National Bike Month, hundreds of Pittsburghers and cyclists from outlying areas commuted to work on two wheels Friday. It was the fifth year for Bike to Work Day in Pittsburgh.

Last year’s event saw about 550 people participate, numbers for Friday won’t be available until a later date. Russell Duff is from the Baldwin area and was at a relief station on the South Side for this year’s Bike to Work Day.

“I’ve been biking since I was 5-years-old," Duff said. "I’ve done BMX, freestyle, and I just can’t stay off a bike.”

Deanna Garcia / 90.5/WESA

In an ongoing effort to connect multiple bicycle trails and communities with one another, the plan for the Ohio River Trail has been completed.

Community leaders from around Allegheny County gathered at a Rite Aid store in McKees Rocks Thursday to outline the plan.

“This project is going to connect the City of Pittsburgh to McKees Rocks, along Route 51, along the McKees Rocks Bottoms, and finally connecting to the Montour Trail, which now has a spur to the airport,” said Bike Pittsburgh Executive Director Scott Bricker.

U.S. Airborne Unit and Merchant Marine veterans are now able to display pride in their service on their cars.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has added two new designs to its list of military license plates.

PennDOT spokeswoman Jan McKnight said the plates are the result of bills passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature and “are there to recognize the challenges faced by these service members.”

Deanna Garcia / 90.5/WESA

The Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway in Pittsburgh has been designated as only one of five in the nation that meet Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) standards. It has been awarded the Bronze Standard by the Institute for Transportation Development Policy out of basic BRT, bronze, silver or gold designations.

Finding Pittsburgh's Light Rail

May 1, 2013
Emily DeMarco / PublicSource

  Roughly 28,000 people ride the Pittsburgh area’s light-rail system every day. But many more could be using and funding the system if the stops were easier to access. Inspired by a study from the Center for Transit-Oriented Development, PublicSource reporter, Emily DeMarco embarked on a tour of the Port Authority's 52 T-stops. She took photos, gathered audio and asked commuters what they think of the light-rail system.

Gasoline prices have fallen about 8 cents this week compared to last.

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.56 per gallon, while the national average is $3.52.

AAA East Central said there are several reasons for the price decline.

“One thing is they were very high coming into the winter season, and typically they’re lower during the winter,” said spokeswoman Bevi Powell. “We had a lot of refinery issues at that time that made the prices higher.”

PennDOT is touting the savings resulting from smarter management of its vehicle fleet. The agency expects to save $4 million a year by changes that include reducing its fleet of state-assigned cars by 30 percent.

It's not a huge amount in an annual budget of more than $6 billion, but it's better than nothing.

"The bottom line is, is money is tight," said department spokesman Steve Chizmar. "So we have to look at every possible angle for additional efficiencies."

State Lawmakers Offer Warnings About Distracted Driving

Apr 9, 2013

Any number of activities can divert a driver’s attention — changing the radio station, reaching for a coffee cup or checking one’s makeup — but state Sen. Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin County) and state Rep. Brandon Neuman (D-Washington County) held a news conference Tuesday to specifically discourage cell phone use while driving. 

Texting while driving is banned in 39 states and the District of Columbia. It's a primary offense in Pennsylvania, meaning a driver can be stopped by police just for texting. Ten states have banned all handheld cell phone use while driving.  

Updated post: 1:45 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is reporting that a disabled tractor trailer blocking traffic on northbound (outbound) Route 28 has been cleared.

Original post: 11:39 a.m.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is reporting that a tractor trailer is disabled on northbound (outbound) Route 28 in the single lane construction zone.

Northbound traffic is stopped, according to PennDOT. Drivers are advised to consider alternate routes.

Wikimedia Commons

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is advising drivers that the outbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel on the Parkway East (I-376 eastbound) in Pittsburgh will be closed this weekend.

Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

The North Shore Connector began taking passengers under the Allegheny River one year ago this month. County Executive Rich Fitzgerald joins us to talk about the new travel possibilities the light rail line has opened up.

Pittsburgh City Council has given preliminary approval to legislation that sets up an account for a bike-share program in the city slated for 2014, although no city funds would be used for the $3 million initiative.

The committee vote Wednesday advanced two bills regarding "Pittsburgh Bike Share" to a full Council vote on Tuesday, where final approval is expected.

When US Airways and American Airlines announced their $11 billion merger on February 14, the new company was expected to retain fleet and ground service in Pittsburgh, with flight operations located in Moon Township.

But now that might not be the case after US Airways Chairman Doug Parker, who will be CEO of the new American Airlines, told employees last week that the Pittsburgh-area Operations and Control Center (OOC) could be shut down in a few years.

Noah Brode/90.5 WESA

It was one year ago today that the North Shore Connector light rail line began taking passengers under the Allegheny River.

A planned closure of the outbound (westbound) Squirrel Hill Tunnel this weekend has been canceled due to inclement weather, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The tunnel will remain open in both directions this weekend, according to a news release from PennDOT. Single lane closures in each direction are expected to continue Friday evening into Saturday morning.

The closure had been planned as part of the second year of a four-year major rehabilitation of the Squirrel Hill Tunnel.

Amtrak service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg might not be derailed after all.

The Corbett administration announced Thursday that an agreement has been reached with Amtrak on a new funding plan that will maintain rail passenger service between Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

Under the revised agreement with Amtrak, Pennsylvania will provide $3.8 million a year to maintain the service featuring one train a day in each direction between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. The through service continues to and from Philadelphia and New York City.

The efficient movement of people and goods is one of the essential components of sustainable regions. So, too, is keeping public transportation both accessible and operative at the most efficient levels, according to William W. Millar, a nationally known expert in the fields of public transportation and transportation policy.

Millar spoke on these and other transportation issues at the University of Pittsburgh Tuesday during his lecture, “How Will We Travel in the Future? The Role of Transportation in Building Sustainable Regions."

Bike Sharing Program in Pittsburgh's Future

Mar 19, 2013
Carlos Reis

Could a bike sharing program allow the Steel City to follow in the bike tracks of Washington, D.C. and London? We'll find out when we talk with Scott Bricker, Executive Director of Bike Pittsburgh.

South Side Chamber of Commerce

It’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Pittsburgh, and that means thousands of area residents will be headed downtown for the parade. Thousands will also make their way to the South Side for a bit of celebrating. 

The revelry usually leads to near-gridlock conditions on East Carson Street, but the city hopes a new shuttle bus will help relieve the pressure.

Three buses will run from noon to 4 a.m. along Carson Street every 15 minutes between the Southside works and the city’s Second Avenue lot at the 10th Street Bridge. 

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Biking advocates gathered in Bakery Square on Monday to announce plans for a bike-share system to start in Pittsburgh next year that would feature 500 bicycles stationed at 50 special bike docks across the city.

Slated for a spring or summer 2014 opening, a subscriber could choose a short-term membership of one day or a long-term plan of one year. The user can then check out one of the sturdy bikes from one docking station and deposit it at any of the other 49 destinations.


A Pittsburgh area state lawmaker is demanding funding for mass transit and completion of the Mon-Fayette Expressway be included in the Corbett administration's transportation package.

In a first-ever report, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation received high marks for 'safety' and 'accountability,' a middling grade in 'mobility,' and a poor assessment in terms of 'preservation and renewal.'

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