Development & Transportation

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

A transportation funding bill for Pennsylvania is still stuck in park.

But while negotiations continue, the fate of one of its more controversial mechanisms for generating revenue is still unsettled.

The state Senate’s plan to fund infrastructure includes tacking a 100 dollar surcharge onto certain traffic violations, like speeding tickets.  Most of the money would go toward mass transit. The Senate projected the surcharge would raise as much as 75 million dollars in the first year of implementation.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

City of Bridges: The following report is the second is a three-part series examining the status of Pittsburgh bridges as the Pennsylvania Legislature considers funding for transportation infrastructure.

Hundreds of bridges in Allegheny County alone are overdue for repairs or upgrades, and whatever happens in the final weeks of the legislative session, it’s unlikely lawmakers will approve funding for all of them.

joseph a / Flickr

    

City of Bridges: The following report is the first is a three-part series examining the status of Pittsburgh bridges as the Pennsylvania Legislature considers funding for transportation infrastructure.

The Pittsburgh area is home to hundreds of bridges — by some counts, more than any city in the world.

It also has a higher percentage of structurally deficient bridges than any other U.S. city. If your goal is to highlight the problem, one in particular makes a pretty good backdrop.

PennDOT to Close Link Between North and South Hills

Oct 27, 2013
Google.com

Motorists heading from the Liberty Bridge to the North Hills this week will find themselves taking a short detour. 

PennDOT will close the ramp connecting the Liberty Bridge to northbound I-579 (Crosstown Boulevard) starting at 9:00am Monday Oct. 28 to work on the retaining wall leading up to Duquesne University.  The ramp will reopen at 5:00pm and then will be closed each day from 9:00am to 5:00pm through Friday.

Crews will apply a protective acrylic coating to wall.

Former PA Governor Calls for Transportation Vote

Oct 22, 2013

While Pennsylvania’s legislative leaders argue over thresholds for prevailing wage projects and gasoline tax rates, one of the state’s most popular former governor’s is calling on lawmakers to act quickly. 

“Transportation infrastructure is key to not only the quality of life but your ability to be competitive,” said former Gov. Tom Ridge. “People will see that once Pennsylvania invested today in its future, they’ll get immediate results.”

wildcellist / Flickr

A proposed plan to re-configure downtown bus routes has been placed on hold. However, not without raising concerns among riders.

The plan, according to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, is to reduce the overcrowding and gridlock that occurs on downtown Pittsburgh streets.

CSX To Build $50 Million Facility in McKees Rocks

Oct 18, 2013

CSX Corp. plans to build a $50 million truck-to-train freight transfer station in one of Pittsburgh's poorest suburbs.

Officials in McKees Rocks hope the mile-long facility, which stretches into neighboring Stowe Township along the Ohio River, will jumpstart plans for a business park next to it. McKees Rocks Mayor Jack Muhr says, "This is the kind of development project that can pave the way for more growth."

Pitt Airport Lowers Fees to be "Competitive"

Oct 16, 2013

The Allegheny County Airport Authority Board has approved a budget that lowers rates and assumes that traffic will hold steady at Pittsburgh International Airport.

The $95.8 million operating budget will drop per passenger fees paid by airlines from the current $14.11 to $13.92. Authority spokesperson JoAnn Jenny said the decrease is a direct result of payments from CONSOL Energy, which has leased the rights to drill into the Marcellus shale under the airport.

Should Buses be Downtown? The Debate Begins

Oct 13, 2013
wildcellist / Flickr

Opposition is starting to pile up for a recently revived proposal to keep buses out of most of the Golden Triangle. 

At the behest of some business owners and a few elected officials, the Port Authority of Allegheny County has been searching for years to find a solution to the congestion caused by buses passing through the heart of downtown.

Most recently, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and City Councilman Bill Peduto proposed that routes be pushed to the edges of downtown, forcing some riders to walk a few extra blocks to get to work. 

PennDOT’s Office of Public Private Partnerships (P3) has taken a different “route” in its search for proposals for transportation projects — it is asking the private sector for ideas.

P3 is accepting its second round of proposals for transportation projects.

Flickr user HerrVebah

The Port Authority (PAT) is planning to limit the number of buses and bus stops in downtown Pittsburgh.

PAT hopes to reduce sidewalk traffic by shifting routes onto wider streets that outline Pittsburgh’s downtown.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald supports the plan, saying the new routes will cut down sidewalk obstruction on some of the area’s narrower streets.

“Taking buses off of certain streets,” he said, “away from certain corners, will alleviate some of that congestion, some of that traffic and some of the blockage of walking on the sidewalks.”

Most Port Authority Pay Stations Faring Well, PublicSource Survey Finds

Oct 2, 2013
Emily DeMarco / PublicSource

Allegheny County’s 59 new pay stations at light-rail platforms and bus stops have been performing well, with the exception of some along the East Busway.

PublicSource recently tested 54 of the pay stations operated by the Port Authority of Allegheny County and found few problems with the machines along the West Busway and light-rail lines. But nine of the 14 machines along the East Busway had one or more deficiencies.

Half of the East Busway’s machines could not print receipts. One didn't accept coins. Four of the machines’ robotic voices were broken.

Thiopene / 90.5 WESA

After the House failed to pass a plan to pay for roads, bridges and mass transit last June, there is renewed speculation about another possible vote on a transportation funding proposal.

Renewed interest in lobbying efforts stems from the imposed weight limits on over 1,000 bridges in Pennsylvania.

Southwest Airlines will be offering daily nonstop flights between Pittsburgh and Nashville.

The company says the first flight will depart Pittsburgh International Airport at 7:55 a.m. Tuesday.

The Allegheny County Airport Authority says officials in both cities will hold dedication ceremonies, with polka music in Nashville and country music in Pittsburgh.

Nashville will be Southwest's ninth destination from Pittsburgh.

Bike Pittsburgh is pedaling toward a vision of Pittsburgh where cyclists have their own space to ride safely.

This can be done with bikeways, or passages made specifically for bicyclists to ride.

Scott Bricker, BikePGH executive director, said the lack of bikeways in Pittsburgh present many challenges to bicyclists.

Sorry, Cleveland. It appears Pittsburgh will likely be victorious in yet another facet of the intra-city rivalry that has existed since before the Cuyahoga River caught fire.

This year, Bike Cleveland challenged Bike Pittsburgh (BikePGH) to see which city could log the most points in the National Bike Challenge, and with four days to go, BikePGH is in the lead.

Pittsburgh, which was the largest city to finish among the top 40 nationwide in 2012, is now ranked 169.

The friendly competition began May 1 and will finish Sept. 30.

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life it can be hard to stay actively involved in the government process.

In an effort to meet citizen’s half way, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has announced it will hold its next meeting at a new location – the Internet.

PennDOT will hold an online public meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday to discuss the updates to the 12-year transportation program. PennDOT secretary Barry J. Schoch will be discussing the latest updates to the program.

Both the Pirates and the Steelers packed fans into sold-out stadiums Sunday night, but the Port Authority of Allegheny County was the true winner, according to Rich Fitzgerald.

At a news conference Monday, the county executive praised the Port Authority for how it handled Sunday night’s massive crowds and provided a report card for its progress.

The Pittsburgh Parking Authority is using automated mobile surveillance cameras to snap pictures of up to 200,000 license plates a month so it can find scofflaws who repeatedly flout parking laws.

Those cars can be "booted" — that is, fit with a metal locking device that attaches to a wheel that cannot be removed until overdue fines are paid.

Dozens of Transportation Security Administration workers at the Pittsburgh International Airport have been suspended or reprimanded after they were caught taking part in workplace sports gambling.

WPXI-TV reports that after a months-long investigation 47 workers were suspended and 10 letters of reprimand were sent out.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is a little bit closer to once again having a full board. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has submitted his for appointees to round out the newly reformed 11-member board.

Pennsylvania State Troopers Target HOV Lane Violators

Sep 11, 2013

The Pennsylvania State Police issued 60 citations and 14 warnings Wednesday morning to drivers on the Parkway North HOV lanes for not meeting the requirements to be driving them.

“The HOV lanes are for high-occupancy vehicles, meaning you need to have multiple people in the vehicle, more than one person,” said Trooper Robin Mungo. “The HOV lanes are designed to alleviate congestions going into the city during rush hour traffic and leaving the city during rush hour traffic.”

On July 20, 17-year-old Emily Jancart of Moon Township was struck and killed while riding her bike in that community.

This most recent bike-related death is the fifth in the Pittsburgh area in the last two years, prompting Bike Pittsburgh to sponsor advertisements around the city as part of a public awareness program to protect cyclists. 

According to Bike Pittsburgh Executive Director Scott Bricker, they just want to remind motorists to be more alert while sharing the road with cyclists.

saeru / flickr

Pittsburgh takes great pride in being known as “the city of bridges” but what most Pittsburghers do not know is that Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of bridges classified as “structurally deficient.”

Bridges are inspected at least once every two years in Pennsylvania and as the bridges are inspected they are given a rating from zero to nine. A bridge with a rating of five or higher is considered ok and a bridge with a score of four or lower is deemed structurally deficient.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Labor leaders and organizations that represent businesses gathered Thursday under Pittsburgh’s Liberty Bridge, which has been weight restricted. The group is calling on the state House to pass a transportation funding plan already passed in the Senate. The consequences of doing nothing, said the group, would be disastrous for the city and the region.

In all, 46 state-owned bridges in PennDOT District 11 (Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence Counties) will be posted with new or lowered weight restricted in the coming weeks. The move is meant to slow deterioration on the bridges as funding for major repairs remains uncertain. About 1,000 bridges statewide are considered structurally deficient, according to PennDOT.

Pittsburghers, your driving could use some improvement. At least that's according to Allstate Insurance Company’s ninth annual "Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report."

The Steel City ranked 22nd from the bottom out of 196 cities, based on Allstate claims data about car collision frequency.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

For drivers heading in and out of the South Hills in recent weeks, the daily commute has been trying at times.

Construction on the 5,888-foot-long Liberty Tunnel has prompted 24-hour closures of first the outbound side, then the inbound.

That's meant detours.

And while commuters making their way around the tunnel closures have likely seen workers on the north and south ends of the tunnel restoring concrete facades, much of the work inside the tubes has gone unseen.

After 40 years of planning and securing funding, work will begin August 27 on a new stretch on Route 219 in Somerset County.

The 11-mile, four-lane roadway will connect the existing Route 219 south of Somerset with the existing four-lane Meyersdale bypass.

The project will include new interchanges north of Meyersdale and at a crossing of the Mud Pike roadway.

PAT Board Leaves Without Naming New CEO

Aug 23, 2013

The nine-member board of the Port Authority of Allegheny County closed a special meeting Friday without choosing a new CEO, meaning the task will be left to a new board that will feature nearly all-new faces. 

Currently the board is fully appointed by the County Executive, but a bill passed in the state legislature this spring changes the make up of the board to include 11 members appointed, in part, by the state. 

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