Development & Transportation

We cover how people move about the region, as well as trends in housing and commercial development.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council will take a final vote on Tuesday that would amend the city's existing noise ordinance to end late-night construction on private property.

Under current law, construction is restricted in residential zones from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The amendment would limit all private development to hours between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Residents facing eviction from Penn Plaza and their supporters rallied on the steps of the City-County building Tuesday afternoon, calling on the city to step up efforts to increase access to affordable housing.

Joseph Kaczmarek / AP

Heart palpitations, sweating, dizziness. For some people, crossing a bridge induces the same physiological responses as those experienced by an animal frozen in fear, said Dr. Rolf Jacob, a professor of psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Prison Already Shrinking As Closing Gets Underway

Feb 20, 2017
Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The process of closing a massive state prison complex in Pittsburgh has made progress in the weeks since it was announced, including the transfer of some inmates to other facilities and a decision by the Corrections Department about where it will relocate the prison's medical and therapeutic programs.

Google Maps

The developer of the North Side's Nova Place announced Tuesday it will outfit the building with high speed internet available to the community for free.  

The five-year $8.8 million investment will turn portions of the former Allegheny Center Mall into a community technology hub.

Developer Faros Properties, which renovated the building, said it would include “innovation pods” where local groups can meet.

Comcast will provide $1.3 million in cash and services including free one-gigabit-per-second wired and wireless connection.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Jerry Kraynick bends at the waist, hands on hips, and peers over his glasses. He gestures towards a bike. “Throw it up on the stand, and I’ll look at it.”

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Clairton Mayor Rich Lattanzi can recall a time when the city’s credit was so poor, they couldn’t purchase Easter candy. Lattanzi said the story is a good example of how far the town has come from its nearly 30 years in Act 47 financial distressed status. 

Friday, he announced the community had received $3.3 million in state tax credits and corporate grants.

“There were times when the cupboards were bare,” Lattanzi said. “And the city of Clairton just kept clawing and clawing.”

Daniel Lobo / Flickr

Passengers are facing delays on Pittsburgh's light rail.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County says Friday's delays are related to a power problem.

On Twitter, the Port Authority said the problem stems from an issue with a switch at the Allegheny Station. 

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Alcosan will dole out $9 million in grants to support 32 projects intended to keep storm water out of the stressed sanitation system.

The projects in 18 municipalities, including parts of Pittsburgh, are expected to prevent 70 million gallons of rainwater from entering the sewage system. That is less than 1 percent of the 9 billion gallons of water that overflows into the region’s rivers every year.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

On a snowy afternoon in the Hill District, Shafon Willis and her two kids waited for the 83 bus. Winter, 3, couldn’t seem to hold onto one of her pink gloves, which kept falling to the ground.

The Willis family rides the bus about three times a day to get to daycare and Shafon’s job on the South Side. She said she’s not a big fan of some of the recent changes to the bus system in Allegheny County. A new rule that went into effect Jan. 1 requires riders to enter in the front of the bus and exit from the back of the bus.  

Rick Knief / Citi

Redevelopment in Pittburgh's East Liberty neighborhood has magnified issues of accessibility and affordability in housing.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

For decades, contractors demolishing old buildings in Pittsburgh knocked them through the sub-flooring and filled in the holes with whatever was left behind. Debris, support walls, bricks and even appliances -- all topped off with dirt.

Kaffee Instein / flickr

Pittsburgh's light rail commuters will soon be able to surf the web while they wait for a ride.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County announced Friday that Comcast will install Wi-Fi hotspots at seven of the city's T-stations.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Autonomous vehicles, ubiquitous broadband internet, improved energy systems — attendees at the U.S. Conference of Mayors buzzed with the potential technology in store for their cities.

In the 20 years the internet has existed, it has revolutionized the way we interact with the world, said Joanne Hovis. She’s president of CTC Technology & Energy, an IT consulting firm in Maryland.

Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles

Federal authorities are giving Pennsylvania a few more months to comply with a 2005 federal law that requires people to prove they are legal U.S. residents in order for their driver's licenses to be valid for federal purposes.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

At nearly five city blocks long, the Pennsylvania Fruit and Auction, known to locals as the Produce Terminal, is hard to miss. It sits along Smallman Street between 16th and 20th and seems to watch over the business on Penn Avenue.

Keith Srakocic / AP File Photo

Pennsylvania needs significant infrastructure updates. President-elect Donald Trump has proposed $1 trillion worth of work to improve the country’s airports, bridges, and roads, all funded by private investors.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Unrest over the lack of development on the 28-acre site that once included the Civic Arena has found its way to Pittsburgh City Council.

Council members will vote this week on a bill requesting the involvement of the city solicitor. The bill was introduced by Councilman Daniel Lavelle who represents the neighborhoods closest to the site.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

 

The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration wants to fine a contractor $11,224 for a construction fire that wholly or partially shut down a major Pittsburgh bridge for 24 days.

Contractor Joseph B. Fay Co. didn't immediately comment Wednesday. The company has 15 days to appeal.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has already said it wants Fay to forfeit more than $3 million of the $80 million the company is owed for the Liberty Bridge reconstruction project.

State Task Force Working To Change PA's Property Assessment Rules In 2017

Jan 4, 2017
Keystone Crossroads

 

Some counties in Pennsylvania go without updating their property values for decades, far longer than the six-year maximum wait recommended by the International Association of Assessing Officers.

PennDOT

Some major Pittsburgh-area roadway projects are slated to either start or continue in the New Year, including work on the Liberty Bridge. Phase one of construction on the span started in 2015 and despite a structure fire that threatened to delay progress, it was competed in 2016.

“In 2017, work on the Liberty Bridge, what’s most important will be to complete the bridge deck overlay,” said Dan Cessna, PennDOT District Executive. “Folks have asked why they don’t have a smooth ride over the bridge and it is, in fact, because the final layer of concrete has not been placed yet.”

Mel Evans / AP

Pennsylvania is throttling back on one of its signature economic development programs.

The Philadelphia Inquirer  reports the administration of Governor Tom Wolf has sent rejection letters to Philadelphia, Coatesville and other municipalities that submitted applications to the Keystone Opportunity Zone program.

Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

Moving people from one place to another means traffic: highway jams, crowded buses, and overworked subways. But one transit option remains blissfully serene: cable-propelled transit systems.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The Port Authority of Allegheny County board of directors approved a four-year contract with the union representing 2,200 bus and light-rail drivers, as well as mechanics Tuesday morning.

The special meeting lasted less than five minutes and came two days after members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 gave their approval to the agreement.

The contract includes an 11.25 percent wage increase for workers – 2.75 percent in the first three years and 3 percent in the fourth year.

Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

  The Pittsburgh Tenants Union has been "a long time coming," said Ronell Guy, executive director of The Northside Coalition for Fair Housing. The resident-focused community development organization is spearheading efforts to create a city-wide tenants union.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

 

Pittsburgh's Health Ride bike-sharing program has received a $200,000 grant to expand.

The program has 500 rental bikes at 50 stations in 11 of the city's neighborhoods. People can rent the bikes by the half-hour or by purchasing a membership for unlimited 30-minute or 60-minute rides for a monthly fee. The program has more than 40,000 registered users since it began in May 2015.

Erin Potts, marketing director for the Pittsburgh Bike Share nonprofit that runs the program, says the state grant will expand the program to 75 stations throughout the city.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

Tens of thousands of commuters who use light-rail trains to travel through Pittsburgh ran late this morning.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County blamed an unspecified computer glitch that caused significant delays. At one point, trains couldn't travel into Downtown or the North Shore on Wednesday morning.

Transit spokesman Jim Ritchie said the problem was based in the rail operating center in the South Hills.

Trains returned to normal service about 8:15 a.m., Ritchie said, but they remained off-schedule through the morning rush.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

The city of Pittsburgh has cited itself for owning run-down properties and a local judge isn't letting the city withdraw some citations, which officials say were mistakenly filed.

The city's Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections has ramped up citations against owners of eyesore properties, in hopes landlords will repair them.

Identified Technologies

The logo may look like a drone, and the drone might get all the attention on the job site, but the leadership of Identified Technologies Corporation in Larimer says drones are not the focus of their growing company.

“We do use them as a tool as part of this work flow, but the drone has become the least interesting and least special part of the work flow,” said Dick Zhang, the company's CEO and founder.

They use commercially available drones and cameras to create two and three-dimensional models of construction sites to help monitor progress.

Snow Makes For Frowns On Northeast Roads

Dec 12, 2016
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

 

Snow and freezing rain made for messy commutes and closed hundreds of schools Monday as a snowstorm pushed into the Northeast.

The storm left nearly a foot of snow on the ground in some spots in the Great Lakes and upper Midwest before dumping up to about a half-foot across New York and northern New England. Boston, New York City and Philadelphia were spared.

Speeds were reduced on snow-packed roads and there were many school delays and closures from Michigan to Maine.

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