Development & Transportation

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

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Base water rates in Pittsburgh will increase by 49 percent by 2020. The board of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority also approved significant increases to 2018 capital and operating budgets in a special meeting Wednesday morning.

Emily Previti / WITF

In 2013, Pennsylvania created the City Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ) program in hopes of spurring economic growth by allowing a few select communities in the commonwealth to reinvest tax dollars that normally would go to the state or local government.

The program aims to ignite investment in historically hard-to-develop neighborhoods by, for instance, allowing developers to use tax revenue to pay off things like construction debt.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Residents supported one another’s calls for affordable housing and a community-driven, transparent process in the development of a former industrial site in the Point Breeze North neighborhood at a public meeting in early November.

KitAy / Flickr

The City of Pittsburgh has reached a tentative deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins on redevelopment of the Lower Hill District. 

Stuck On Slow, Pennsylvania Renews Push For Rural Broadband

Nov 6, 2017
Toby Talbot / AP

In rural swaths of Pennsylvania, fast internet is a literal pipe dream.

Residents in sparsely populated areas with little or no high-speed infrastructure say it's next to impossible to stream TV shows, telecommute, do videoconferencing or consistently access their cloud-based email. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

About a hundred members of the public attended the final opportunity to weigh in on what might be included in a consultant’s recommendations for restructuring the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

The city hired Infrastructure Management Group in April to decide how to best address widespread problems at the struggling authority.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Pamela Edwards leaves her house in Brushton every morning at 6:40 a.m. to catch her first bus.

While she waited for her second bus in East Liberty on a recent morning, she remembered a time when there were five different buses to catch in and out of the East End, whenever she needed them. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh's public transit agency says light-rail riders could face delays.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County says a higher-than-usual number of light-rail vehicles are undergoing maintenance and inspection. The agency says that's preventing it from operating as many two-car trains as usual.

Light-rail is operating on its regular schedule, although riders could see delays and overcrowding.

The agency says it's making every attempt to put the vehicles back into service.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

An audit of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority shows an urgent need for immediate action on several fronts, including addressing the organization's more than $750 million in debt, crumbling infrastructure and lack of leadership. 

The report, which covers Jan. 1, 2014 to June 30, 2017, was conducted by State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. 

"I don't believe that this is rising to some level of corruption," he said. "I think this was a bad setup from the beginning that led to a path of bad results."

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The race to represent Allegheny County Council’s District 4 pits a relatively new incumbent against a political rookie. Democratic candidate Patrick Catena was appointed to council in January, while Republican Dimitrios Pantzoulas won a place on next week’s ballot as a write-in candidate.

Joseph Novak / Flickr

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Tuesday that he expects to have an agreement with the Penguins on the first phase of development on the Lower Hill by Wednesday afternoon.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

Extending the Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway beyond Swissvale could cost between $549 and $704 million in 2026 dollars, according to a feasibility study released to WESA by the Port Authority of Allegheny County. 

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA


In October 2013, the Hill District held a triumphant groundbreaking: the opening of Shop n’ Save, the neighborhood’s first grocery store in 30 years.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

After more than 1,000 hours of mediated sessions and discussions, the city of Pittsburgh and community groups have reached an agreement with the developers of the former Penn Plaza site, to ensure affordable housing and green spaces remain in East Liberty.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has approved a moratorium on water shutoffs to help low-income residents who rely on radiators in the winter months. Shutoffs for customers 250 percent below the federal poverty level will be barred from Dec. 1 to March 30.

PWSA interim executive director Bob Weimar said this is the first step in creating fair-payment policies within the authority.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The Urban Redevelopment Authority board voted Thursday in a special meeting to extend the Penguins' deadline to begin development on the former Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill by another two weeks.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority was ordered to speed up its work on major infrastructure projects Wednesday when the state’s Department of Environmental Protection issued an administrative order aimed at ensuring consistent water volume and water pressure in the system.

90.5 WESA

Extending the Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway could generate between 800 and 2,400 more daily riders in 2035, according to a feasibility report completed for the Port Authority in September by engineering firm Gannett Fleming. 

Keith Srakocic / AP Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins' development arm, Pittsburgh Arena Real Estate Development LP, is nearing its final deadline to start the first phase of development at the former Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill District.

Elaine Thompson / AP Images

It was Sept. 7. A quick glance at the morning’s headlines revealed President Donald Trump had made a debt ceiling deal with Democratic leaders.

Maria Scapellato / 90.5 WESA

The Greenfield Bridge, a vital artery between Pittsburgh’s Greenfield neighborhood and Schenley Park, re-opened this weekend.

When workers imploded the old bridge in late 2015, approximately 19,000 vehicles that used it daily had to find other routes, resulting in traffic congestion in parts of Oakland and Squirrel Hill.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Nearly 200 residents filled the auditorium of Propel Hazelwood last week for the first community meeting of the Greater Hazelwood Neighborhood Plan.

In Seattle, Amazon Is A Low-Key Presence And A Powerful Influence

Oct 16, 2017
Megan Farmer / KUOW

Pittsburgh is among the cities competing to land Amazon’s second headquarters and that has many people wondering what could happen if the company actually picked their city. To get some answers, we turned to our fellow NPR member station, KUOW in Seattle, home to Amazon’s first headquarters.

Kim Dinh / The Merton Center

On Thursday, more than 50 public transit riders sent hundreds of postcards to state representative and Port Authority board member Dom Costa, urging him to oppose plans to possibly allow police enforcement of ticketing systems on public transit.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s last large riverfront property, Almono, got a new name today: it will now be called Hazelwood Green.

The Regional Industrial Development Corporation, or RIDC, owns the site’s old mill building, Mill 19. RIDC’s Senior Vice President for Development Tim White said RIDC is negotiating a lease with the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, or ARM, to be Mill 19’s first tenant.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Technology alone won’t prepare people to build careers or pursue education in a rapidly changing economy.

That was the message from Google executives and state and local officials who gathered at the company’s Pittsburgh headquarters Thursday to announce new online tools and more than $1 billion in funding for nonprofits that seek to close gaps in education and the labor market nationwide.

Skitterphoto / Pixabay

A new policy to help low-income residents pay their water bills during the winter months is in the works, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority board members said Thursday. 

The PWSA's recently formed affordability committee will help develop the fair payment policy.

The board considered a complete moratorium last month on water shutoffs between December and March for low-income residents who can't pay their bills but also rely on radiators heat their homes.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

More than a decade after a master plan was completed for Allegheny Commons Park, a coalition is working to implement it.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

*UPDATED: Oct. 9, 2017 at 4:18 p.m.

Braddock residents crowded into a meeting Monday night to express their concerns with the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plan. It was the first of three meetings the Port Authority will hold in outlying communities whose service could be affected by the $200 million project.

Kaffeeeinstein / flickr

Advocates spoke out Friday against a proposed policy that would authorize Port Authority police officers to issue criminal citations to light rail riders who can't prove they’ve paid a fare.

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