Public Hearing Held on Prospective Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Connecting Downtown to Oakland

May 5, 2015

On Tuesday, the city of Pittsburgh and the Port Authority of Allegheny County held the first of two public meetings to gather input on the proposed Forbes-Fifth Corridor.

About a hundred people attended the meeting to listen and share thoughts on the potential transportation infrastructure in the 5th/Forbes Corridor which links Downtown to Oakland, running through Uptown and part of the Hill District.

“It’s critical for the city in this was that this transportation infrastructure not be something that just sort of happens to a community, but rather that we work with a community to see how this could actually be good for them and how it could be part of a larger vision of what happens there,” said city planning director Ray Gastil.

The corridor that connects Downtown to Oakland is already the most trafficked in the region, with many buses servicing it, but city officials say these prospective plans are about more than that. All of the plans include ways to improve pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure, and some consist of turning both streets into two-way pathways. There are also plans for bus rapid transit or related systems.

This will not be cheap.

“For this to work there would be a mix of monies, a variety of public sources, and they would be significant — because this is a significant improvement, and it's not just about transportation infrastructure, it's also about reconnecting and rebuilding a section of the city,” Gastil said.  

Patrick Roberts, principal transportation planner with the city, said in terms of a timeline, engineering and planning activities would occur over the next 18 months. Some other improvements will occur sooner.

“We’ll be taking a look at the bike-ped connection. Bike lanes are a cycle track we could connect in the Fifth-Forbes Corridor between Oakland and Downtown, because people have been asking for that and it's not as much of a complex project as redoing the entire transit network at once,” he said.

City officials also spoke of “Eco Innovation District” planning for Uptown, in which they’ll look at all of the other infrastructure which would be affected by this, such as storm water runoff and how these prospective changes could affect the community.