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Pittsburgh 2020 Transportation Plan

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http://www.pittsburghfirst.com/pg/05028/449175.stm

$9.5 billion for projects envisioned over two decades

Friday, January 28, 2005

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The 20/20 Vision Study proposes investing $9.5 billion in capital projects through 2025.

The improvements have the potential to carry 55 percent more transit riders than today, the study claims, increasing the customer base in the nine-county region from 262,000 daily riders to 408,000 daily riders.

To finance the capital program, the study foresees $5.8 billion from the federal government, $2.3 million from state government and the remainder coming from a combination of local government and private funding.

Here is a summary of projects and strategies that the study predicts would bring smart growth and create opportunities for employment, higher population densities and mobility to the Pittsburgh metro region:

Light rail: Over 40 miles of new light-rail lines, connecting regional centers to Pittsburgh. The lines would extend east to Oakland, Wilkinsburg and Penn Hills, west to Pittsburgh International Airport, south to McMurray and north to North Avenue on the North Side.

Busways/bus lanes: Almost 100 miles of buses-only roads or preferential bus lanes on major highways. They would extend as far as Cranberry, Clairton, Freeport, Greensburg and Penn Hills.

Commuter rail service: Fifty-two miles on existing rails north to Butler and west to Beaver Falls. A line utilizing Allegheny Valley Railroad is part of an alternative plan.

Expanded regional bus service: Over 50 new lines, involving the Port Authority and regional systems such as the Beaver Valley Transit Authority and Westmoreland County Transit Authority.

Customer amenities: Over 167 transit-related facilities ranging from intermodal centers such as the parking garage proposed on the North Shore, including a light-rail station, to more park-n-ride lots.

Circulator transit systems: More mini-buses and vans. The Port Authority now operates two such services: GoldLink in Monroeville and Aircor in the Moon-Robinson area.

Railroad corridors: Relocating railroad lines away from rivers. Some would be lowered 30 feet below existing grades to minimize intrusion on the landscape, such as Homestead at the edge of The Waterfront retail complex.

Waterways: Expanding water taxis. A Homestead-Pittsburgh commuter ferry during weekday rush hours. More excursion boats.

No to maglev:: The study did not endorse a proposed $3 billion link to Pittsburgh International airport using high-speed, magnetically levitated trains as a national demonstration project because it would duplicate service.

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Light rail: Over 40 miles of new light-rail lines, connecting regional centers to Pittsburgh. The lines would extend east to Oakland, Wilkinsburg and Penn Hills, west to Pittsburgh International Airport, south to McMurray and north to North Avenue on the North Side.

How many decades has this been needed, anyway?

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^^ agreed. In fact they have been talking about subway or transit lines to E. Liberty and the Universities since the 1910s!

It is interesting how the light rail lines will extend to the farthest reaches east, west and south but to "North Avenue on the Northside" basically a bridge and 10 blocks outside of the city center. Wonder why they won't extend light rail up to Shaler, Observatory Hill, Allison Park, Christina Aguilera town (Wexfort) and Cranberry? Why stop on the northshore?

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^^ agreed.  In fact they have been talking about subway or transit lines to E. Liberty and the Universities since the 1910s! 

It is interesting how the light rail lines will extend to the farthest reaches east, west and south but to "North Avenue on the Northside" basically a bridge and 10 blocks outside of the city center.  Wonder why they won't extend light rail up to Shaler, Observatory Hill, Allison Park, Christina Aguilera town (Wexfort) and Cranberry?  Why stop on the northshore?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

There's probably no easy way to get it up there. To go west or east you can theoretically lay tracks on or parallel to the busways. To go north? I guess they'll have to coordiante with PennDOT to run tracks alongside I-279 (which will likely require reconstruction of I-279). As for Shaler and Allison Park, the plan calls for a commuter train to Butler and I assume that will run up the PA 8 corridor. The McKnight Road/Perry Hwy. corridor is also probably the least congested of the suburban corridors leading into Pittsburgh in any event. From the south, east, and west you likely will have to merge into a tunnel. From the north you have your choice among bridges.

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Urban you bring up excellent points. I would like to see some cooperation between the state the fed transportation dept. etc. on this. A lot of talk and very little action (or not enough of some good actions like the subway the southhills LR and the bus routes) all since 1910.

Since these are "plans" which knowing politics only about 20% will see the light of day over the next decade, why not shoot for the moon on some of this depending how the political wind shifts the north hills proposal might get a green light. Something fishy about extending the north 10 blocks while S E and W go 10 miles or more.

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The first priority should be extending period. There is no excuse for not having Oakland on the T. In fact, there should be 2 lines, one following the Strip to Lawenceville, N Oakland, to Bloomfield and Shadyside and beyond. Another line would go Uptown stop at Duquesne/Mercy and then go east along Fifth/Forbes (with appropriate stops) through Uptown and Oakland to Squirrel Hill etc.

Ideally the routes would go well beyond that, but just going this far would be quite a task...

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The first priority should be extending period.  There is no excuse for not having Oakland on the T.  In fact, there should be 2 lines, one following the Strip to Lawenceville, N Oakland, to Bloomfield and Shadyside and beyond.  Another line would go Uptown stop at Duquesne/Mercy and then go east along Fifth/Forbes (with appropriate stops) through Uptown and Oakland to Squirrel Hill etc.

Ideally the routes would go well beyond that, but just going this far would be quite a task...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think one problem with planning for transit improvements in Pittsburgh is that, unlike the case with many other major metro areas, Pittsburgh can't argue "increasing demand". Places like LA, DC, etc. can easily argue that their growing metro areas demand more transit otherwise there will be congestion. Pittsburgh will have a hard time at using that argument. The Feds will rather dole out money to the growing areas. I suspect this is why Downtown and Oakland are not connected via T. Doing so would require PAT to get serious federal funding. The Feds were more willing with the South Hills lines since they were just rebuilds. When you're talking about a brand new line which will likely require much underground construction (in Oakland), they're going to be more stingy - not that PAT has even asked for money but I think they are inhibited from doing so for these reasons.

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^^ I would tend to agree on the face of it, however I suspect it is more a local logjam then the Feds. The Northshore connector (mentioned in another thread on this forum) has recieved the highest form of federal funding available through fasttrack. True it pales in comparison to a east hills extension in scope and length, but the Feds will fund the project if the transit system is seeing growth (which doesn't always correlate with what the metro is seeing though the metro growth helps). One thing to remember about fed funding is an LA or Las Vegas can get zilch year in and year out all while a Cleveland or Pittsburgh gets hundreds of millions because of what committee is chaired or tenured by their hometown congressman or senator. Urban I am sure you are familiar with the I-99 phenom in central Pa. Bud Shuster broke almost every axiom of transportation with that pork project, and the federal funding is still coming today for it (almost a decade long pork train from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation). Given that the zen master of Capitol Hill Sen. Spector is determined to lock metro Pittsburgh for his re-elections and that Sen. Santorum is the #2 GOP man in the Senate federal funding has a way of landing in Pittsburgh. Though both men--as well as some of our Congress people like Rep. Hart--could take a lesson from Sen. Byrd in W.V., that man has single handly given W.V. some great roads and infrastructure.

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The leadership (if that would should even be used) is pathetic. Pittsburgh has the worst roads of any decent size metro. The roads must be widened (I don't to hear about topography). The parkway East should continue straight into Westmoreland County and Altoona (whether as an upgraded 22 or alternate)....

Of course there other needs as well.

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Never meant to say Pittsburgh was the top 10 porkers but we do ok on some federal funding areas, the northshore connector and the mon/fay, route 22 widening and southern beltway are a few examples. It is not JUST federal funding though it is the coordination of the local government as well. In that respect Pittsburgh which is splintered 130 different ways in just ONE county has to look at a plan for the whole metro and not just every little borough.

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