Development & Transportation

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

Keith Srakocic / AP

A municipal authority that oversees Pittsburgh International Airport is considering downsizing the facility, which has seen significantly less passenger traffic since US Airways closed its hub there in 2004.

Allegheny County Airport Authority officials say they're considering reducing the number of gates and better promoting the area's economy, culture and innovation.

The authority is considering demolishing parts of the concourses.

Officials say the authority is working on a master plan that should be completed next year.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is in the midst of a series of “open house” meetings regarding the latest revisions of a plan to build a major toll road between Monroeville and the South Hills.

After meetings in West Mifflin and Oakland earlier this week drew hundreds of people, two additional meetings in Monroeville and Churchill next week will give residents another opportunity to question state officials about the final leg of the long-delayed Mon-Fayette Expressway.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

 

The Andy Warhol Bridge is about to undergo its most extensive rehabilitation since the early 1990s.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

Ride-hailing service Uber is expanding its reach in Pennsylvania.

The San-Francisco-based company says it will begin operating in the seven-county region surrounding Pittsburgh, including Washington, Greene, Westmoreland, Indiana, Armstrong and Butler counties Thursday evening.

The expansion also includes DuBois, Gettysburg, greater Williamsport, Johnstown and Altoona.

Company officials said the service will now cover 90 percent of residents in the state.

Uber allows people to use a smartphone app to book and pay for a car service.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Two major construction projects will cause long-term road closures in the North Shore area beginning this August. 

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Frontier Airlines announced it will end its service from Pittsburgh to Denver just one month after it started offering the flight.

Officials from Frontier Airlines and the Pittsburgh International Airport said the airline would discontinue flights to Denver in January on a seasonal basis, although the flights were not billed as seasonal when they began in June.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Bicyclists in Pittsburgh are reacting to a new billboard along Baum Boulevard in the East End, which tells drivers “Riders aren’t always in the right. But they are always fragile.”

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Transportation experts are urging elected officials nationwide to embrace the rise of driverless vehicle technology as an opportunity to improve city street grids.

Speakers at a forum in East Liberty Monday focused on city planning, equating the importance of driverless cars with that of the steam engine, electric grid and elevator, saying the technology would be commonplace within 50 years.

Sen. Judy Schwank

All kinds of signs can decorate a highway work zone. One local lawmaker wants to make sure at least one enforcing speed is taken more seriously.

Joseph LaQuatra, business manager of the Laborers’ Local No. 1058, which represents Pittsburgh highway workers, said signs for speed cameras make a difference. 

“All you see is break lights,” LaQuatra said, referring to drivers slowing down after spotting speed cameras in the 13 states where they're required. “People actually go the speed limit through the work zone. Up here (in Pennsylvania) … there’s no consequence.”

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Transportation Group's trademark yellow taxis will largely become a thing of the past as the company shifts resources toward its fledgling taxi service, zTrip, officials announced this week.

Though Pittsburgh Transportation Group will continue to operate about 10 yellow taxis at airport and hotel stands around Pittsburgh to prevent another company from taking over the brand, most of the company's 325-vehicle fleet will be painted gray and marked with the zTrip logo by mid-September.

"It's the end of an era," President Jamie Campolongo said.

Paul Sableman / Flickr

During his successful campaign for the Allegheny County Executive’s office in 2011, Rich Fitzgerald proposed the creation of a multi-county public transit system, touting potential cost-savings and improved service.

Five years later, the idea of merging local counties’ transit authorities is still years away from fruition, despite support across county lines.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Blue roadside signs reading “Bus Stop” could become a thing of the past as the Port Authority of Allegheny County begins its rollout of more robust bus stop signage this summer.

Starting in July, roughly 85 Downtown bus stops will be outfitted with signs that include route maps, bus schedules and frequency information. Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said the new wayfinding system will eventually be at all PAT bus stops in the county.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

In 1985, Carnegie Mellon University announced that its first driverless vehicle, Terregator, could make its way across a football field in about an hour.

Now, with CMU's fourteenth generation of automated vehicles, a silver Cadillac SUV, able to manage up to 70 miles per hour, state government officials are finally taking regulatory steps to prepare for what they describe as the inevitable rise of driverless vehicles over the coming decades.

Paul Sableman / Flickr

Bike Pittsburgh is releasing the sixth edition of its City Bike Map this week and organization leaders said the city has come a long way since the first edition.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx visited Pittsburgh Monday to get a first-hand report on the city’s bid for a $50 million federal transportation grant.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Members of the Port Authority of Allegheny County board unanimously approved a measure to adopt a flat fare system by doing away with the three-zone system Friday. 

Googlemaps

 

Crews have begun replacing the deck of Pittsburgh's Liberty Bridge, one of the busiest arteries crossing the Monongahela River and leading to the city's southern suburbs.

PennDOT says crews will replace the deck one lane at a time in four phases over roughly 160 days.

That will enable crews to keep at least one inbound and one outbound lane open at all times. The available lanes will shift throughout the day, according to the flow of traffic in and out of the city, especially during rush hours.

The project will cost about $80 million.

KDKA/NewsChopper 2

Two transit workers accused of racing their buses have been acquitted of the most serious charges against them in a 2014 crash.

Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey Manning said Thursday he believed 47-year-old Juliann Maier and 57-year-old Thomas Frauens were racing on Interstate 279. But he cleared them of reckless endangerment charges and acquitted Frauens of leaving the scene of an accident.

Manning found both fired Port Authority drivers guilty of summary offenses and fined the pair.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

  The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission announced Thursday it will fine ride-sharing company Uber for operating in the state between February and August 2014 without a license.

The PUC voted 3-2 to fine Uber $11.4 million — a record amount for the Commission. The PUC initially considered a fine of nearly $50 million, but lowered the figure to $11.4 million because Uber “modified its internal practices” to comply with state law, PUC Commissioner John Coleman Jr. said in a release.

Allegheny County Airport Authority

The Allegheny County Airport Authority is rebranding as its international arm courts new partnerships and adds additional routes.

The new look includes a colorful logo unveiled Monday and a change in signage and local advertising campaign. Allegheny County Airport Authority Spokeswoman Alyson Walls said concept delivery and development cost about $60,000 and was in the works since late last year.  

A collaboration with Visit Pittsburgh aims to improve the experience of those traveling to the city, Walls said.

Google Maps

Around 55,000 commuters who cross the Liberty Bridge on a daily basis may need to choose a different route starting this month.

An $80.08 million renovation project begins at the end of April and finishes sometime in 2018, according to PennDOT District 11 spokesman Steve Cowan.

Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

For a city molded by its dramatic topography, Pittsburgh has admittedly been a bit neglectful of many of those simple structures that get people up and down the hills: steps.

But over the next year-and-a-half, city leaders are hoping to hear some innovative ideas from national experts on how they can repair and improve the city’s extensive system of staircases.

Though a design firm hasn't been chosen yet, $1.16 million worth of in-kind services furnished by the Citi Foundation means Pittsburgh won't have to pay anything.

90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto wants electric avenues, responsive stoplights, a drop in city emissions totals and more self-driving cars, and he doesn't want to wait for a $50 million grant to get them.

The Steel City is one of seven finalists for a multi-million “Smart City” prize offered through the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve urban transit.

At an event Tuesday, Peduto said city officials need to treat the ensuing notoriety as an opportunity to consider innovative but realistic changes to city infrastructure regardless of the contest's outcome.

Self-Driving Cars Are Coming, But They’re Not Ready For Pittsburgh Yet

Mar 4, 2016
Anita DuFalla / PublicSource

Ninety percent of car crashes are preventable.

As it stands, about 30,000 people die in car crashes every year in the United States, said Mark Kopko of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation [PennDOT]. “If you could reduce that by 90 percent, that’s huge.”

Autonomous cars have the capacity to do that.

In Allegheny County, that could mean a vast reduction in the roughly 12,000 crashes in 2014 — especially of those attributed to driver error, like drunk or distracted driving and speeding.

Pittsburgh City Planning Deptartment

The Port Authority is set to begin replacing the rails of the Red Line “T” route on March 27, but a project to simultaneously improve the safety of the T stops there hasn’t gotten off the ground.

The Beechview T stops are situated on concrete islands in the middle of Broadway Avenue’s four lanes. They don’t have pedestrian crossings and they’re not well marked. Beechview’s councilwoman, Natalia Rudiak, said the situation is unsafe and discourages people from riding the T.

Mike Richards / 90.5 WESA

Port Authority of Allegheny County officials heard from the public Wednesday on a proposed fare change that would take place next year.

Currently Port Authority buses and light rail lines run through two zones. Riding through one zone costs $2.50, with an additional $1.75 to ride through a second. Officials are proposing consolidating service into one zone, costing a flat $2.50 fee.

Marty Gabel / Flickr

 

Pittsburgh International Airport officials say Southwest Airlines is adding daily nonstop service to Los Angeles starting Aug. 7.

The flights will leave Pittsburgh at 7:10 p.m. Eastern time and arrive at Los Angeles International Airport at 9:10 p.m. Pacific time. Flights from Los Angeles will leave at 4:55 p.m. Pacific time and arrive in Pittsburgh at 12:25 a.m. Eastern time.

The flights will give Southwest 16 nonstop destinations from Pittsburgh, the most of any carrier.

John Marino / flickr

OneJet has named Pittsburgh a "focus city" and plans to add daily flights to Hartford, Connecticut and four other cities.

The carrier uses seven-passenger Hawker 400 jets to cater to business travelers. It launched service from Pittsburgh International Airport in May, with nonstop flights to Indianapolis and Milwaukee.

At a news conference Thursday, the company pledged to add nonstop flights to four still-to-be decided destinations later this year, and to hire about 40 pilots, mechanics and other workers in Pittsburgh.

Luke H. Gordon / Flickr

Some 12,000 daily riders of the Port Authority’s light rail Red Line are going to have to find an alternative mode of transportation for six months starting March 27. 

The transit agency will replace a nearly mile-long stretch of deteriorating tracks and street pavement in Beechview.

This section on Broadway Avenue, “has reached the end of its useful life,” according to Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie. And it has required “22 costly repairs” since 2008 to keep it open.

The Red Line provides service from the South Hills to Downtown and the North Shore. 

Michael Watkins / AP

 

Part of a section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike that was closed over the weekend due to a massive backup of hundreds of vehicles will be closing again for several hours to allow recovery of one of the tractor-trailers involved.

Turnpike officials say an 86-mile stretch of the westbound lanes of the turnpike between the Breezewood and New Stanton interchanges will be closed for about three hours beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

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