Development & Transportation

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

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA News

  Nearly 40 people told the Port Authority Board of Trustees Friday that cuts in service over the years has cut them off from getting where they want to be.

In the past few years the port authority has had to decrease service which it blames on inadequate state funding. Residents in Penn Hills want an extension of the 79 route, Garfield residents want weekend service through the neighborhood and students and staff at the Community College of Allegheny County want a route taking them closer to the north campus.

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

The Monongahela Incline is scheduled to reopen Wednesday ahead of its long-stated Light Up Night goal.

The 635-foot incline closed for renovations Sept. 8.

PennDOT

Leave extra travel time if you plan to take Parkway East this weekend.

The inbound and outbound sides are scheduled to close in spots starting 11 p.m. Friday through 6 a.m. Monday.

The outbound detour begins at the Oakland exit, but drivers should be able to access the outbound parkway from the Squirrel Hill/Homestead and Edgewood/Swissvale entrances.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The North Side will become the home of the city's newest bike lanes. 

The City of Pittsburgh is installing bike lanes on East Street in the North Side, between Suffolk Street and Lareda Street.

In September, the city installed bike lanes along Bigelow Boulevard and Bayard Street in Oakland.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Drivers can now reach for their smartphones to pay for city parking rather than coins or credit cards.

The Pittsburgh Parking Authority launched a mobile payment option Thursday. Users download the Go Mobile PGH app on their smartphone and register their license plate and credit card numbers. Drivers enter the zone number found on a sign located at the nearest kiosk and how long they want to park there. Then the countdown on their phone begins.

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

  From July through September, more than 40,000 trips were made on Healthy Ride bicycles through Pittsburgh’s bike sharing program, an average of about 440 trips per day.

Healthy Ride Executive Director David White said that’s a slight uptick from the June numbers, when 300-400 trips were taken each day. The program launched on May 31 and stations were still being installed through mid-July.

Mike Richards / 90.5 WESA

Dozens of students and retirees joined residents of Garfield, the North Hills and Penn Hills on Friday urging the Port Authority of Allegheny County to restore some bus routes in those communities. 

Andrew Duthie / flickr

The jack-o-lanterns have not yet found their way to the compost pile, but the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is already thinking about getting its snow plows on the road. This year, managers and the public will be better able to keep tabs on those trucks.

New Hulton Bridge Opens

Oct 20, 2015
Erika Beras / 90.5 WESA News

  A new Hulton Bridge, which connects Harmar and Oakmont, opened  Tuesday afternoon after a celebratory ribbon cutting.

Construction on the 4-lane bridge began in September 2013.  It cost $65 million and replaces a 2-lane 109 year-old- bridge over the Allegheny River.  

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Local, state and federal leaders gathered Wednesday afternoon to celebrate East Liberty’s revitalization as a transit hub with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new East Liberty Transit Center.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto remembered the parking lots, indoor tennis facility, car wash and defunct taxi stand that once existed where 360 units of market-rate housing now stand and ground-floor retail space soon will open.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

If you want to take one last drive across the 93-year-old Greenfield Bridge, you had better do it before Friday at 10 p.m.

That’s when the bridge will close to automobile traffic; it will remain closed until the new bridge opens in May 2017.

xlibber

Passengers taking off from Pittsburgh International Airport owe just a little less now. Airline fees declined for the third consecutive year. 

In approving a 2016 budget,  the Allegheny County Airport Authority voted to decrease the passenger charge from $12.90 to $12.88. The cost per enplaned passenger is the lowest it's been since 2008.

Pittsburgh International does not receive any tax dollars from the county, so this fee allows operations within the airport to continue as usual.

LM Otero / Associated Press

The leading cause of death among American teens isn’t an illness – it’s traffic crashes, largely due to distracted driving, according to the National Department of Transportation.

“It is a big problem in this country,” said Chris Vitale, manager for injury prevention and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. “For the past two years, we’ve lost about 3,000 to crashes that have been attributed to distracted driving.”

FLICKR USER WILD CELLIST

The newly launched Regional Transportation Alliance of Southwestern Pennsylvania (RTA) is hoping it will be able to improve connectivity – and with that also improve the quality of life in the region.

The public-private partnership that will look at transportation issues in the 10-county region through a community lens was launched Wednesday.

The RTA will be led by a 22-person, mostly-male, steering committee.  It's members represent both the private and public sector throughout the region.

Courtesy: City of Pittsburgh

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority a $1.2 million grant for transit-related development in Uptown.

Development carved through Uptown, Oakland, Downtown and the East End, known to senior city planner Justin Miller as the “EcoInnovation District,” is designed to make more effective use of the city's resources as a key component to its Bus Rapid Transit corridor.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh and several organizations are teaming up to get a clearer picture of the region’s commuting habits.

The “Make My Trip Count” survey aims to get a comprehensive look at how people get to work or school or any destination – be it by bike, bus, rail, foot or car.

Mike Richards / 90.5 WESA

Two buses pull up to the stop at 6th Avenue and Wood Street in Downtown Pittsburgh. Nothing out of the ordinary, right?

On Wednesday, they carried residents from Baldwin and Groveton Village whose residents haven't had a nearby bus stop since 2011 when the Port Authority of Allegheny County cut services to 15 percent of its users as a cost-savings measure.

The authority's expansion of both the 44 Knoxville route to Baldwin and the 20 Kennedy route to Groveton began Tuesday as part of its quarterly service adjustments.

Josh Hallett

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and state and local law enforcement are teaming up over the holiday weekend to crack down on alcohol- and drug-impaired driving. 

The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is ramping up nationally, increasing checkpoints and roving patrols across the state.

PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick says the holiday excitement often leads to bad decisions behind the wheel.

Danielle Scott / Flickr

This year’s Labor Day is going to be a busy one for travel. And why not, with gasoline prices nationwide dipping their lowest since 2004.

“People are taking advantage of that, and a lot of people are traveling," said Chelsea Pompeani, public affairs director of AAA East Central. “And I know the weather is supposed to be nice in certain areas.”

Three weeks after rejecting Yellow Cab’s request to impose a surcharge of up to $8 per trip on weekends and holidays, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has tentatively approved two other fare increases for the taxi service.

The PUC rejected one provision of the request but agreed to a jump in the flag drop rate — the starting amount on the meter — from the current $2.25 up to $4 and a 30-cent-per-minute increase in the wait time rate. The charge to customers to have drivers wait will cap at be 55 cents per minute.

Expert Assesses Risk Of Oil Train Derailment In Pennsylvania

Aug 17, 2015
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

With as many as 70 oil trains rumbling across Pennsylvania each week, the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday released a series of recommendations meant to reduce the risk of a catastrophic derailment, including reduced speeds through cities, beefed-up track inspections and a call for trackside communities to plan for an emergency.

Emma Gross / 90.5 WESA

For $49, you can get a one-way ticket directly to Orlando, thanks to Allegiant Air’s new flight route out of Pittsburgh International Airport.

Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis announced Tuesday a new non-stop route to Orlando Sanford International Airport beginning Nov. 5. The route will run twice weekly, increasing Allegiant Air’s flights out of PIT from 10 flights a week to 12.

Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

  Ridership along the Penn Avenue bike lanes is up at least 25 percent since June, according to data released last week by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

Spokesperson Leigh White said they counted roughly 1,000 trips per day on average in July. Ridership also spiked on weekends, she said.

Summer is prime time for road construction, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is taking advantage of the mild weather to push forward on major construction on Parkway West (I-376).

The project also involves $14.2 million worth of repairs and upgrades to the Fort Pitt Tunnel, including concrete repair work to the tunnel walls, electrical updates, drainage improvements and resurfacing of the roadway. Work on the tunnel is expected to be finished by the spring of 2016.

Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

Christoph Mertz spends his days looking at cracks in the street.

“Once you’re involved in something like this, you see every crack in the road, every pothole, you say, ‘ohhh, this is interesting,’” he said as he wove around sizeable potholes on the narrow streets behind Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh.

By a 5-0 vote Thursday the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission rejected one part of Pittsburgh Yellow Cab’s fare hike request and delayed action on the other two provisions.

Pittsburgh Transportation Group, the parent firm of Yellow Cab, wanted to impose a surcharge of up to $8 per trip on Friday and Saturday nights, Sundays and holidays.

Commissioner James Cawley joined his colleagues in rejecting that request, saying the variable surcharge “does not allow a passenger to determine if it is the proper amount,” and because it “appears to be arbitrarily determined.”

A flight operations control center in Moon Township is closing, causing some 650 employees to relocate to Texas, retire or look for a job elsewhere.

The Moon Township center was built less than seven years ago, specifically for US Airways, which merged with American Airlines in December 2013.

The last flight out of the Pittsburgh-area center is scheduled to take place on Aug. 23, which is also the day when the new operation center in Fort Worth will be fully functional. Pittsburgh workers who choose to move must do so between Aug. 20 and 24.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the view of the city from the Monongahela Incline through Labor Day weekend.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County announced Wednesday that it will delay the start of major renovations until Tuesday, Sept. 8.

The twelve week shutdown had been planned to start Aug. 31.

Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman proposed a resolution Tuesday that would create a data sharing system between the city and the Pittsburgh Parking Authority to assist authorities in tracking down stolen or wanted vehicles.

“Right now our ticket enforcement officers could walk down the street, enter a license plate at a meter, write a parking ticket, and that car could either be stolen or wanted as part of an Amber Alert and they would have no idea,” he said.

Better Bikeways Plan / BikePgh

Pittsburgh may not yet be a mecca for bicyclists and walkers, but local officials are trying to change that and make area roadways accessible for a mixture of transportation options. Efforts are not going unnoticed.

TransitCenter, a group that advocates for public transit and comprehensive transportation policies, released a report this week profiling Pittsburgh among six innovative U.S. cities for transportation policy planning. 

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