Margaret J. Krauss

Development and Transportation Reporter

Margaret J. Krauss is WESA's development and transportation reporter. She previously worked for Keystone Crossroads, a statewide reporting initiative that covers problems facing Pennsylvania's cities and possible solutions. Before joining Keystone Crossroads, Margaret produced a 48-part radio series about Pittsburgh's lesser-known history, biking 2,000 miles around the region to do so.

Ways to Connect

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto and his administration on Tuesday launched ForgingPGH, a new, year-long effort to explore how people want to see their neighborhoods and the city change. Ultimately, ForgingPGH will create a comprehensive guide to land use for the next 20 years.

Margaret J. Krauss

The coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt life in the region; overall, residents of Allegheny County are still traveling less compared to 2019. However, bike miles have gone up.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The coronavirus pandemic upended commuting patterns in the Pittsburgh region. In the early months of Pennsylvania’s shutdown, traffic dropped by as much as 50 percent in Allegheny County, according to Streetlight Data. On average, PennDOT officials say vehicular traffic remains about 20 percent lower than normal.

Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvanians who receive unemployment benefits will be short $600 dollars this week; the weekly $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation expired for Pennsylvanians on Saturday, and Congress has yet to decide to renew the additional payment. 

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority officials gathered with local and state leaders at a lead line replacement site in Bloomfield on Wednesday to celebrate news that lead levels in the system have dropped to 5.1 parts per billion. The agency is now in full compliance with federal and state regulations for the first time since 2016.

Tom Dougherty / Allegheny Land Trust

The nonprofit Allegheny Land Trust has acquired 155 acres of woodlands in Elizabeth Township. The land sits about a mile above the Youghiogheny River, and is home to wild turkey and other wildlife, as well as a network of trails. The organization sees its work playing an important role in Allegheny County’s future.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Renters and homeowners struggling to cover the costs of housing due to the coronavirus pandemic can now apply for help. Pennsylvania’s rent relief and mortgage assistance programs began accepting applications Monday.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

A coalition of advocacy groups is calling on the Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Directors to remove police officers from school buildings.

Antunovich Associates

The historic Produce Terminal in Pittsburgh’s Strip District is expected to be ready for new tenants this fall. The first phase of renovations was completed last week.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On Saturday afternoon hundreds of people gathered in front of Pittsburgh’s City-County Building. They filled Grant Street between Fourth and Forbes avenues in a giant circle to oppose police brutality and call to amend Pennsylvania’s use of force law.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council voted against a study that could have changed how a new pot of money is spent on affordable housing. Tuesday’s vote is the latest chapter in a years-long fight over the redevelopment of the former Penn Plaza Apartments in East Liberty.

Matt Rourke / AP

A day after leaving his post as speaker of Pennsylvania's House of Representatives, Mike Turzai has become general counsel for Peoples Gas, the Pittsburgh-based natural gas division of Essential Utilities Inc., the company said Tuesday.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Hundreds gathered in Squirrel Hill this afternoon for “Civil Saturday,” a weekly demonstration begun by Black, Young & Educated, a Pittsburgh group created in 2019 by five teenagers. Participants were asked to wear black as a tribute to the Pan-African flag; adopted in 1920, the red, black, and green flag represents "black freedom." 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania will offer $225 million to small businesses struggling with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. At a press conference on Monday, Gov. Tom Wolf said residents must remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19, but that the state can begin to focus on economic recovery.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police has sparked waves of protests across the country to oppose police brutality. On Monday afternoon, officials held a press conference to discuss how a Saturday demonstration in Pittsburgh devolved into a clash between protestors and the Bureau of Police, and ended with property destruction, tear gas, and rubber bullets.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The day after a peaceful Pittsburgh demonstration downtown turned chaotic, leaving a police car burned, businesses looted and damaged and a multiple reporters injured, community members met for a peaceful vigil in East Liberty around racial justice.

Courtesy of Gensler

The Pittsburgh Penguins will advance their plans for a 26-story office tower on the former site of the Civic Arena in the Lower Hill. The project won preliminary approval from the board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Thursday, a week after they moved to delay the vote, citing community concerns and documents received at the last minute.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

With the warming weather and the city of Pittsburgh squarely in the yellow phase of Gov. Tom Wolf's reopening plan, more people are leaving their houses. A City of Pittsburgh task force has proposed a number of ways that streets and transit could be modified to balance the demands of physical distancing with an increase in economic activity.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today they will stop development in the Lower Hill on the former Civic Arena site. The decision came shortly after the Urban Redevelopment Authority delayed a vote on the first project planned for the 28-acre site, an office tower for First National Bank.

Nisha Blackwell / Knotzland Bowtie

After nearly two months of lockdown, some area businesses can resume operations on Friday. Dozens of new state rules are meant to guide the reopening across much of southwestern Pennsylvania, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty, said Audrey Russo, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council.

Courtesy of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Much of southwestern Pennsylvania is moving into the “yellow” phase of reopening this week. Library staff in those counties can begin to plan to resume in-person operations, as well as order supplies such as gloves and masks to protect employees and patrons. However, it will be a while until they can open their doors, said Suzanne Thinnes, communications manager for Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, or CLP.

Small businesses are essential to cities and towns across the country. They create jobs, they create a sense of place — think of New York City without bodegas, Portland, Ore., without bike shops or your town without its dance studio or hardware store — but they also create sales, income and property tax revenues.

"[It's] super important that we make it very easy for people to keep their purchases local," said Karina Ricks, director of the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure in Pittsburgh.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

With much of the United States shut down in response to coronavirus, it’s hard to shake the feeling of living in a post-apocalyptic movie set: empty streets, empty buses, empty playgrounds wrapped with caution tape. Now, weeks into the effects of the pandemic, states have begun to lift restrictions to allow non-essential businesses to open.

Shari Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

While much of Pennsylvania remains in coronavirus lockdown, restrictions on businesses in the northwest and north-central parts of the state will begin to loosen on Friday. Lawrence County, closest to Pittsburgh, is one of 24 counties where retail businesses will be allowed to welcome in-person customers.

Lexi Ribar / Beauty Shoppe

When Pennsylvania shut down in response to coronavirus, many businesses didn’t know if they were essential or not. This was especially true for the coworking industry, where flexible office space is shared by all kinds of companies, including life-sustaining businesses required to stay up and running.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Construction across Pennsylvania will be allowed to resume in-person operations on Friday. The commonwealth was one of only a few states that idled the entire industry before making exceptions for some road and bridge work.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Editor’s Note: On Tuesday, April 28, after this story was published, the state Supreme Court amended its previous stay on court actions and extended the prohibition on evictions and foreclosures until Monday, May 11.

In the early weeks of Pennsylvania’s response to the coronavirus, the state Supreme Court put a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. That protection runs out on Friday. 

Bytemarks / Flickr

Since March 15, nearly 1.6 million Pennsylvanians have filed for traditional unemployment compensation. Thousands more have applied for help under a new federal program for self-employed and contract workers. But the unprecedented volume of applications may still not reflect the true number of people in need.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

2020 was shaping up to be a bumper year for home sales in the Pittsburgh region before real estate agents were forced into a holding pattern by the coronavirus pandemic; real estate did not make Gov. Tom Wolf’s original or updated list of life-sustaining businesses.

Buccini / Pollin Group

Since the response to the coronavirus put most of Pennsylvania’s economy on lockdown last month, Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority has provided more than $3 million in emergency loans to support small businesses.