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Development & Transportation

Port Authority Proposes New Bus Routes

Flickr user HerrVebah

The Port Authority (PAT) is planning to limit the number of buses and bus stops in downtown Pittsburgh.

PAT hopes to reduce sidewalk traffic by shifting routes onto wider streets that outline Pittsburgh’s downtown.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald supports the plan, saying the new routes will cut down sidewalk obstruction on some of the area’s narrower streets.

“Taking buses off of certain streets,” he said, “away from certain corners, will alleviate some of that congestion, some of that traffic and some of the blockage of walking on the sidewalks.”

Fitzgerald said nothing has been finalized and changes aren’t expected to occur until sometime next year.

Those who depend on the downtown bus routes are going to have to walk a little farther or use the city’s subway system, and Fitzgerald said that’s something people are going to have to get used to.

“Bus service and rail service is not meant to be door-to-door service,” he said. “It’s really meant to be as reliable and as fast and as efficient as it can be.”

According to a 2010 Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership survey, 38.4 percent of downtown workers used the bus system as part of their weekly commute.

Pittsburgh’s downtown businesses, as well as groups like the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and the Allegheny Conference of Community Development are also onboard, according to Fitzgerald.

“Most of the business owners that we’re hearing, and the building owners, are asking for this,” he said. “They would like to see the bus stops taken away from the front (to stop) people congregating in front of their buildings.”

This isn’t the first time a plan like this has been proposed. In 2008, PAT eliminated 22 bus routes in Market Square and another stop was removed in 2010 because of sidewalk congestion complaints.

Fitzgerald said clearing the sidewalks and streets will add to Pittsburgh’s reputation as the “most livable” city.

“By moving the stops and taking buses off of some of those inner streets like Smithfield,” he said, “it’ll make the city even more user-friendly, bike friendly and make it a more vibrant downtown core.”