Development & Transportation

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

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

A route was selected, preliminary studies were planned and local officials intended to submit grant applications to fund the Bus Rapid Transit corridor in the fall.

Those plans may now be on hold.

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget provides no funding for new projects under the federal Capital Investment Grant which was expected to provide about $80 to $100 million for the roughly $233 million project, said Robert Rubinstein, executive director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Nowhere in the country can someone work 40 hours a week at a minimum-wage job and afford a two-bedroom apartment, according to a study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

On average, a Pennsylvanian earning minimum wage would have to work 83 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom rental.

There are a lot of misconceptions about low-income earners. Primarily, that they’re not working hard enough, said Phyllis Chamberlain, executive director of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania.

James Willamor / Flickr

Last week, President Donald Trump proposed privatizing air traffic control, separating it from the Federal Aviation Administration and putting it under the control of a notprofit corporation. The administration argued doing so would cut costs and help modernize the system.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Does your street have sidewalks that end abruptly? Or spots on walkways without curb cuts? Bike Pittsburgh is documenting issues pedestrians and cyclists encounter in each of the city's 90 neighborhoods to bring attention to mobility obstacles in Pittsburgh.

Scott Bricker, executive director of Bike Pittsburgh, said the work of identifying things like overgrown steps, cars parked on sidewalks and visible crosswalks is central to the nonprofit’s mission.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Legislation submitted to City Council by the mayor’s office this week would change how proposed developments qualify for public subsidy. 

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

The Port Authority of Allegheny County makes changes to its bus schedules four times a year. The next one, coming up on June 18, will affect 15 routes

Argo AI

Uber is not the only self-driving car game in town. Ford announced in February that it would invest $1 billion over five years in Pittsburgh-based Argo AI. The company has been quietly building its team, with the goal of putting self-driving cars in production by 2021.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Terry Grantz stood on a swaying dock, pointing to a massive, off-white concrete block. He’s the manager of Lockwall One Marina, a private facility in the Strip District below the Cork Factory Lofts.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

At either end of Lavarna Way, in Pittsburgh, stood well-used orange signs: ROAD CLOSED.

The street was empty, except for an excavator, and a Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority crew dressed in neon yellow suits.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

After years of initial planning and study, a route has been selected for the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s proposed Bus Rapid Transit system, or BRT. The route will connect 24 neighborhoods and serve 31,000 people.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Cobblestone, brick, asphalt: the commonwealth has an abundance of street-paving options. But there’s one we don’t talk about a lot: wooden blocks. Both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are each home to one of the last wooden streets in the nation.

Proposal To Expand Passenger Rail West To Harrisburg Gains Momentum

May 29, 2017
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

The eastern half of the state has 13 daily trains running between Harrisburg and Philadelphia and back. But once you get west of Harrisburg, things get a little trickier. There's only one round-trip train a day between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Representatives of the Port Authority of Allegheny County are scheduled to meet soon with a group of community advocates concerned about the new fare enforcement policy for light rail riders.

The fare enforcement policy has been a point of contention between the authority and several advocacy groups including Pittsburghers for Public Transit and the Alliance for Policy Accountability, who say the policy will criminalize riders for fare evasion which could lead to fines, jail time and possibly deportation for undocumented riders.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

  A giant billboard went up at the intersection of Centre Avenue and Crawford Street in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood in 1960. It read, “No Development Beyond This Point.”

911th Airlift Wing / Facebook

The sky over Coraopolis will be filled with stunt-performing airplanes this weekend when the 911th Airlift Wing’s "Wings Over Pittsburgh" event returns after a six-year hiatus. But with increasing demand for pilots and aviation technicians, the showcase is about more than demonstrating the region’s flight talent.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Across the street from the Trolley Stop Inn on Library Road in Bethel Park, there’s a sign. It’s white and rectangular, the lettering is fading a bit, and on the leftmost side is a large orange dot. It’s nearly the size of a basketball and the label boldly proclaims: Orange Belt.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The city has towed nearly 50 cars in the past two weekends since it started full-fledged enforcement of parking restrictions on Carson Street's new public safety lane.

The public safety lane restricts parking along a six-block stretch of Carson Street, between 12th and 17th streets, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Additionally, metered parking on the South Side has been extended until midnight.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

How Pittsburghers get from one place to the next can be a controversial topic. As the city continues to develop, mayoral candidates are considering strategies big and small to make local transit infrastructure work for everyone, including cyclists.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh public safety officials are trying to determine why a rain-activated gate failed to automatically stop traffic from entering a low-lying roadway where four people died in an August 2011 flash flood.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation installed the $450,000 system in 2012, but it's now operated and maintained by the city. The system uses rain sensors that can trigger three swinging-arm gates and several lighted caution signals meant to keep motorists off Washington Boulevard.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Below a tangle of highways along the southern edge of Pittsburgh’s downtown is a truncated section of concrete. The Mon Wharf Landing may look as if it goes nowhere, some sort of multi-modal experiment that was never completed.

Until now. 

Matt Rourke / AP

The demand for new apartments in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh has grown swiftly over the last few years. Developers have met that demand with a tremendous amount of construction, said Barbara Byrne Denham, senior economist at Reis, a real estate data and analytics company based in New York. 

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Like being the first person to leave tracks after a snowfall, a stretch of brand new pavement can incite glee, regardless of age.

Margaret Sun

If you find yourself in a transportation jam, screens scattered through Oakland could help you find a way out soon. The Oakland Business Improvement District is teaming up with a few other non-profits to provide large screens showing real-time transportation options.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Emerald View Park encircles Mt. Washington, Duquesne Heights and Allentown in a tight hug, an embrace from which Derek Stuart prepared to depart.

Johnstown Area Third Fastest Shrinking City In The US

Apr 12, 2017
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

Johnstown has taken the bronze medal in a race no one wants to win  — the country's fastest shrinking cities. The Johnstown metro region, which includes all of Cambria County, lost 5.5 percent of its population since 2011.

According to the research group 24/7 Wall Street, that's the third fastest rate of decline after Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and Farmington, New Mexico. 

Johnstown City Manager Arch Liston was surprised to hear that the city was so far down the list — but the numbers didn't shock him. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

Ride-sharing and technology company Uber will pay $3.5 million into the state’s general fund to settle a long-running dispute with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. Commissioners approved the settlement in a four to one vote Thursday. The civil penalty is one-third of the original $11.4 million fine levied against Uber. 

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has been a big booster of ride-share giant Uber — but now he's calling on the San Francisco-based firm to "fight for more than profit" if it wants to remain a good corporate citizen.

Peduto wants Uber to agree to a memorandum of understanding to do business the "Pittsburgh way" which, he says, includes fair treatment of workers.

Street Sensors And Cameras In Pennsylvania: Urban Asset Or Privacy Concern?

Apr 4, 2017
Eleanor Klibanoff / Keystone Crossroads

Ever wonder about something you see or hear about where you live that you wish our reporters would explore? Here's your chance! You ask the questions, you vote on the questions you're most curious about, and we answer. Submit a question for us to investigate.

This round, Elliot Adler from Philadelphia asked about the cameras and sensors he's seen popping up more and more on roadways. He asked, "what are these sensors doing, how are they doing it, and what — if any — information are they storing?"

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Motorists are facing lane restrictions as construction work continues on Pittsburgh's Liberty Bridge.

The Boulevard of the Allies closes for 80 days between Grant Street and the bridge beginning at 6 a.m. Monday.

Weekday lane restrictions also have resumed. Two inbound lanes and one outbound will be open from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. and motorists will have one inbound and two outbound lanes from 2 to 7 p.m.

One lane is open in each direction from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The work is part of the Transportation Department's $80 million bridge rehabilitation project.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

City leaders considered ideas to restructure the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority in a half-day discussion at the City-County Building on Friday.

Mayor Bill Peduto and his appointed Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel interviewed candidates competing to help evaluate the debt-ridden authority, which has been under more intense scrutiny lately for lead and other contaminants in some city water lines.

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