Leaders of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership gathered its members Tuesday morning for its annual meeting where President Jeremy Waldrup tried to rally support for its 2012 goals. Among them is an effort to lobby lawmakers to increase funding for mass transit.
"With 130,000 people coming [downtown], 54 percent of them – including myself—riding the bus every single day to get to work, its important," said Waldrup. "If we want to remain a livable city we have to keep a transportation system that's robust and serving the needs of the people that are currently here and the talent that we want to attract to downtown Pittsburgh."
The Port Authority of Allegheny County is facing a $64 million budget deficit and plans to close the gap by eliminating 40 of its 102 routes, reducing service on nearly all of the remaining ones, and raising fares. The cuts would come in September while the rate increase would take effect in July.
The PDP will also focus on marketing downtown to the world in 2012; providing a one-stop shop for businesses looking to move to the region; and, fostering "sustainable economic and physical life" in the Golden Triangle. Waldrup said the idea is to give those 130,000 commuters a reason to "linger downtown" after work and to return on the weekends. "[E]xperiencing the great retail that we have down here, the great public space that we have down here, and just enjoying what is the center of the region."
The fifth goal of the partnership is to build sustainable systems to ensure the longevity of the 17 year-old organization.
At the same meeting Waldrup outlined plans for a "European style" Christmas market in Market Square. It would open on Light Up Night and remain open through December 23rd.