transportation

Transportation
7:41 am
Wed December 10, 2014

The State of PA's Bridges, Part 3: Inspecting and Managing Them More Efficiently

Steve Haluska inspects the floor beams of the second level of the Fort Pitt Bridge in Pittsburgh.
Credit Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

This is the third story of a three-part series on the state's bridges.

About seven years ago, the Bridge Maintenance Engineer for the South Carolina Department of Transportation, Lee Floyd, was concerned about one of his bridge’s ability to hold up while a replacement was built. He placed sensors on the bridge to monitor how it behaved and found that actually he could keep it open without any temporary repairs.

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Transportation
7:28 am
Tue December 9, 2014

The State of PA's Bridges, Part 2: Rebuilding Them Faster

The concrete piers (walls) on this bridge over the Swatara Creek in Middletown took weeks to harden and strengthen. Under the state's new program, the construction team will be able to put a pre-fabricated pier together in days.
Credit Keystone Crossroads

This is the second story of a three-part series on the state's bridges.

Twenty-three percent of Pennsylvania's bridges are structurally deficient, and many need to be replaced. But between permitting, design, and construction, building a new bridge takes years.

That's why the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is trying to speed things up.

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Transportation
7:57 am
Mon December 8, 2014

The State of PA's Bridges, Part 1: How Are They Holding Up?

The bridge on Main Street over East Branch Perkiomen Creek in Sellersville is one of about 6,000 bridges in Pennsylvania that is considered structurally deficient.
Credit Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

This is the first story of our three-part series on the state's bridges.

If you drive in Pennsylvania, you've probably crossed a structurally deficient bridge. Maybe you're driving over one right now.

Pennsylvania has more than 30,000 bridges. Some span rivers, like the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia, and others are much smaller, crossing rural creeks and highways. More than 6,000 of these bridges are structurally deficient. (We put together an interactive map of the state's structurally deficient bridges.)

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Transportation
3:18 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Major Construction On Route 28 Close To Completion

Route 28 outbound, heading away from the city, will be closed overnight through Saturday as workers begin the final push in a four-year project to streamline the artery that runs along the Allegheny River from the northeast.

The major construction, which eliminated traffic lights and created separate exit and entry lanes for the 31st and 40th street intersections, has meant ever-changing traffic patterns and lots of congestion. This last phase includes adjusting lanes, paving and removing and adding barriers.

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Environment & Energy
4:48 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Report: Natural Gas to Replace Diesel as Marine Cargo Vessel Fuel

35 million tons of freight passed through Pittsburgh's waterways in 2012.
Credit Flickr user KordIte

As the natural gas boom continues across Pennsylvania and the rest of the country, producers are looking for new markets for their products.

A recent study commissioned by America’s Natural Gas Alliance, an industry trade group, identified opportunities for the use of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to power cargo vessels on the nation’s waterways and railroads.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:43 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Mayor Peduto Talks Pre-K Education, Transportation, and Chief Cameron McLay

Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Like any new city mayor, Bill Peduto has a whole lot on his plate, and room for creative decisions. This month we talk with him about some of his most recent plans for the city, from selecting a new police chief, to improving pre-k education and developing bike lanes on some of the city bridges.

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Transportation
3:30 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Study: PA's Rural Bridges Worst in the Country

Pittsburgh is known as “The City of Bridges,” but a recent study by national transportation research group TRIP suggests that there are other areas in the state whose bridges could use a little more attention.

The study, published Thursday, found that the condition of Pennsylvania’s rural bridges was the worst in the country. Pennsylvania’s country roads scored slightly better, at the 20th worst among the 50 states. The fatality statistics were grim—Pennsylvania has the 10th highest death rate on its country roads of any state.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:42 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Mayor Peduto Touts Alternative Transportation & Calls Ride-Share Dispute "Dysfunctional"

A bike lane runs parallel to motor vehicle traffic on Rt. 422 in Montgomery County PA.
Credit Montgomery County Planning Commission / Flickr

Right now, most Pittsburghers use their car to get around, but that may change in the near future. First of all, the city lacks sufficient parking, especially downtown. But new transportation options backed by the mayor will make it easier to get around “tahn” without owning a car. Mayor Peduto stopped by Essential Pittsburgh to focus on the city’s transportation goals going forward.

The most immediate issue the mayor has been dealing with was the Uber/Lyft dispute. Peduto said he is behind the two ride sharing companies and calls the ongoing dispute with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission "dysfunctional."

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Community
3:30 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Pittsburgh Bike Share Program Launch Delayed Until Spring 2015

Chicago's bike sharing program launched in June 2013.
Credit Flickr user WBEZ/Robin Amer

It’s been more than a year since former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced Pittsburgh’s bike share program, with a proposed launch date of spring or summer 2014.

Spring has come and gone and summer is upon us, so where are the bikes?

Bart Yavorosky, executive director of Pittsburgh Bike Share, said it’s been a matter of bureaucracy keeping up with technology.

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Transportation
3:30 am
Mon March 31, 2014

No April Fool’s Joke: PennDOT Fee Increases To Take Effect Starting Tuesday

Starting Tuesday, an initial wave of fee increases for motor vehicle and driver services will go into effect.

The higher fees were part of the transportation law that passed last year, which allots $2.35 billion to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to roads, bridges and transit systems. That price tag is being paid for, in part, by an increase in gasoline taxes and higher vehicle service fees.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:12 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Mayor Bill Peduto Responds to Pittsburghers' Transportation Questions

What would it take to expand routes for the T?
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5WESA

From potholes, to public transit, to bike lanes, the possibilities of transportation reforms in Pittsburgh are endless.

As part of a monthly conversation with Essential Pittsburgh, Mayor Bill Peduto explained his vision for better transportation and who he's working with to make those plans possible.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:59 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Making Sense of Pittsburgh's Nonsensical Roads

An aerial view of Pittsburgh
Credit Phil Quinn / wikipedia

Pittsburgh’s topography is pretty unique as far as cities go. It's essentially a peninsula surrounded by mountains. And with the city's numerous bridges and triangular shape, facilitating efficient traffic patterns has long been a challenge for the region.

Pittsburgher Phil Anderson runs the popular blog The Nonsensical Roads of Pittsburgh, where he records his observations about bizarre traffic and road layouts. He's driven in cities throughout the world and seems to find Pittsburgh infrastructure both amusing and frustrating.

“You have stages of driving on Pittsburgh roads," he said. "There’s anger, grief, and eventually you have acceptance.”

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Government & Politics
3:17 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

City to Implement Nighttime Transportation Solutions Along Carson Street

City Council President Bruce Kraus has been working to find ways to mitigate the negative effects of a bustling nightlife economy on the South Side and other neighborhoods.
Credit Flickr user michaelgoodin

According to City Council President Bruce Kraus, between 15,000 and 20,000 people stream out of South Side bars, venues and pubs around 2 a.m. every Friday and Saturday night.

That creates public safety problems and significant transportation issues, Kraus said, which is why for the last two years he’s been working with the Responsible Hospitality Institute, or RHI, to find ways to manage the nightlife economy in the city.

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Government & Politics
5:33 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Peduto Seeks PUC Rule Change to Make Room for Lyft, Uber

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, City Councilman Dan Gilman and Policy Manager Matt Barron discuss a request to the PUC that they change their rules to make room for ride-share services such as Lyft and Uber.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

In recent weeks, two ride-sharing services have launched in Pittsburgh – Lyft and Uber.

Both offer paid rides available through a smart phone app. Shortly after their launch, the Pittsburgh Transportation Group, which owns Yellow Cab, asked Mayor Bill Peduto to pass an ordinance cracking down on such services. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission made a similar request of Peduto.

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Environment & Energy
3:30 am
Mon February 3, 2014

New Method of Charging Electric Cars Could Bring Savings

A new study by a team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University suggests that electric car owners can cut costs if they forfeit control over when to charge their vehicles.

The study found that allowing the power grid to control charging is more beneficial than charging the vehicles during peak electricity times.

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Science & Technology
11:50 am
Sun January 19, 2014

Area Middle School Students Imagine the Future of Transporation

Eight graders Warren Sipe, Zoya Domashnev, and Katarina Mico from St. Bede School will represent the Pittsburgh region at the Future City National Finals in Washington, D.C. in February.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Students from three dozen middle schools across the region gathered at Carnegie Music Hall Saturday for Pittsburgh’s 15th annual Future City competition.

Coordinated by the Carnegie Science Center, the competition challenges students to imagine and build the cities of the future.

Linda Ortenzo, director of STEM programs at the science center, said getting to the actual competition is a semester-long process.

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Weather
7:18 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Winter Storm Fizzles, Bringing More Rain Than Snow

Snow and ice fighting material sit unused Wednesday morning in a parking lot on Pittsburgh's South Side. Warmer than expected temperatures resulted in more rain than snow overnight.
Credit Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Temperatures remained above freezing much longer into the night Tuesday than expected, bringing more rain than snow to southwestern Pennsylvania.

However, it was enough to prompt the Pittsburgh Public School District to issue a two-hour delay.  Several other schools in the county followed suit.

By the time most alarm clocks were going off the rain had turned back into snow, but road conditions throughout Allegheny County were just wet for the start of the morning commute.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:09 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

A Fresh Viewpoint on Pittsburgh Public Transit

Architect Intern Ben Samson designed a new and improved transit system for Pittsburgh for his graduate thesis.
Credit Ben Samson

Architect intern, Ben Samson, created a proposed transit map for Pittsburgh in his graduate thesis at Virginia Tech. The map has since gone viral and people are talking.

Samson believes his plan speaks to the core of what the city needs. He says he started working on this project because of his combined love for architecture and Pittsburgh. He wanted to take on the biggest architectural problem in town, the transit system.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:16 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

County Officials Looking for Input on Downtown Transportation

A proposed plan to re-configure downtown bus routes has been placed on hold.
Credit Flickr user wildcellist

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.

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Transportation
3:30 am
Sun October 13, 2013

Should Buses be Downtown? The Debate Begins

Opposition is mounting over a proposal to limit the number of buses and bus stops in downtown Pittsburgh.
Credit Flickr user wildcellist

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. 

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Transportation
3:30 am
Fri September 6, 2013

New Public Awareness Program Reminds Motorists to Share the Road With Cyclists

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.

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Transportation
5:03 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Allstate: Pittsburgh Drivers Crash Every 7.2 Years

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.

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Transportation
7:16 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Photos: What the Liberty Tunnel Closures Look Like From the Inside

A worker looks north down the inbound Liberty Tunnel as crews work on the ventilation arch wall.
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.

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Transportation
9:52 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Andy Warhol Bridge to be Closed Tonight, Through Weekend

The Andy Warhol Bridge will be closed to all vehicle and pedestrian traffic starting at 6 p.m. Thursday for sidewalk and deck repairs, according to the Allegheny County Department of Public Works. The bridge will remain closed through 6 a.m. on Monday.

The installation of the Knit the Bridge project is also planned for this weekend. The project is expected to be the largest “yarn bomb” ever in the United States. Installation will begin Saturday morning and be completed by Sunday evening.

Transportation
3:30 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Bridges Could Be Weight-Restricted This Fall Without a Funding Plan

The state could put weight limits on aging bridges across Pennsylvania as early as this fall as a direct result of the failure in Harrisburg to pass a transportation funding plan.

The limit would require certain vehicles to find detours around bridges.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:52 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

State Budget Passed by Deadline, No News On Most Pressing Legislation

Budget passed just before the Sunday deadline
Credit 90.5 WESA

Following a “bad weekend” with the collapse of his agenda, Governor Tom Corbett signed a nearly $29 billion state budget Sunday night.  Controversial issues including liquor privatization and allocations for transportation funding remain in the Legislature until the fall, prompting a close examination of these pressing topics and the motivations behind both parties in both the House and Senate.

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Environment & Energy
12:09 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Bill Aims to Spur Growth in Alternative Fueling Stations Along Nation’s Highways

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has announced a plan he says would spur growth of alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure.

The so-called Clean Vehicles Corridors Act would result in more fueling stations across interstate highways, thereby making it easier for alternative fuel vehicles to travel longer distances.

“The way it will work is the U.S. Transportation Department, in consultation with the Energy Department as well as other federal agencies, will designate highway routes where the development of an alternative fuel support system will succeed,” Casey said.

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Transportation
7:18 am
Wed June 26, 2013

House Struggles with Transportation Funding

When it comes to money for fixing roads, bridges and mass transit, state House lawmakers are struggling to even get a plan out of committee.

What's clear is House Republican leaders want a transportation infrastructure funding plan that spends less than the $2.5 billion the Senate proposed. What's not clear is how they'll make the bill palatable to enough Republicans and Democrats to pass the bill out of committee, let alone the full chamber.

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Government & Politics
12:09 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

House GOP Drops Speeding Ticket Surcharge Idea

An effort to slap a $100 surcharge on speeding tickets to help fund mass transit in Pennsylvania looks to be dead in the water, as one House member said Wednesday.

The proposal is part of a $2.5 billion plan to fund roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure that has passed in the Senate. The surcharge revenue would be specifically routed for public transportation.

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Transportation
3:30 am
Sun June 16, 2013

Port Authority Makes Changes to Schedule and Routes

While waiting for the bus that takes you to work Monday morning, you might be surprised when it zips right past you.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT) is eliminating nearly 430 stops along 36 bus routes beginning Sunday as the first of several phases of bus stop consolidations.

Spokeswoman Heather Pharo said PAT is only eliminating stops that receive little to no use.

“When I say little to no use, most of these stops were actually used by zero people, and we monitored them in fall of 2012,” Pharo said.

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