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.

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Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

In the space of just a few weeks the response to the coronavirus has forced people throughout western Pennsylvania and the world to overhaul their daily lives. The pandemic presents a dual challenge for transit agencies; they must continue to connect people to work, grocery stores and health care but with dramatically decreased revenue as ridership plunges.

Pittsburgh Department of Mobility and Infrastructure

A new report finds that a planned transit connection between Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood and Oakland neighborhoods would not meet the travel needs of existing residents nor future demand expected from continued redevelopment at the 178-acre Hazelwood Green site. The analysis of the city’s Mon-Oakland Connector project was commissioned by nonprofit advocacy group Pittsburghers for Public Transit, or PPT.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Thirty-five new cases of COVID-19 were reported for Allegheny County on Wednesday. The 5 percent increase in new cases is the smallest since the pandemic began. However, it’s too soon to say whether the county is actually flattening the curve, said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The coronavirus pandemic has forced more than 10 million out of work nationwide and upended the lives of millions more. The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, a labor federation, opened its biennial convention Monday with calls for solidarity in a time of crisis and greater protections for workers on the front lines.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Efforts to reign in coronavirus have made home the one place most people are supposed to be. Home has also become the office, school, a place of worship, and, for an increasing number people, the gym.  

Zach Morris / Wikipedia

Jem Dittmar has been a Lyft driver for six years. Sometimes it’s been part-time work, but recently it’s been a full-time gig.

“I love working for Lyft,” they said. “I love people, I love driving, I love the schedule.”

Then coronavirus hit. St. Patrick’s Day weekend was the last time Dittmar drove; they headed out to ferry drunk revelers home, despite feeling a little under the weather.

Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority and its board on Thursday passed measures to support people and businesses suffering financially because of the coronavirus. A new program that aims to keep people in their homes was among the approvals.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Transit agencies across the country are scrambling to keep up with the effects of coronavirus: MTA in New York City says it needs $4 billion from the federal government, operators in Detroit, Mich. held a walkout because of exposure concerns. Port Authority of Allegheny County is seeing rising costs, a drop in ridership, and worried employees.

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In response to the spread of the coronavirus, people are encouraged to wash their hands and to isolate themselves if they experience symptoms. “When you’re homeless you don’t have many of those options,” said Jerrel T. Gilliam, executive director of Light of Life Rescue Mission on the North Side.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County President Judge Kim Clark declared a judicial emergency Monday night for the Fifth Judicial District of Allegheny County. The order halts almost all criminal and civil proceedings through April 14, which means a county-wide moratorium on evictions.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The head of Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry said people may be eligible for assistance if an employer cuts hours, shuts down or goes out of business, or if people have to isolate to prevent spread of the disease.  The news came a few hours before Governor Tom Wolf ordered all non-essential businesses to close

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority urged small business owners to seek help if their livelihoods are impacted by the response to the novel coronavirus.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Whether it takes place in a church or in a social hall, fish fry season is a sacred institution in Pittsburgh. While the region is bracing for the arrival of coronavirus, fish fries are still in action, with a few adjustments.

Pittsburgh’s philanthropic community is preparing to stem the effects of coronavirus on the region. So far, there are no confirmed cases in Allegheny County.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Port Authority of Allegheny County will now disinfect its vehicles every 72 hours, an increase from its regular monthly schedule. Agency officials say it is a preventative measure to limit the reach of the coronavirus. So far, there are no confirmed cases in Allegheny County. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh wants to change a rule that requires rowhouses to provide off-street parking spaces. Legislation proposed by Mayor Bill Peduto’s office would drop the requirement from one spot to zero.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Lack of access to childcare has a tremendous impact on the Pennsylvania economy, according to a new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. More than half of the 330 parents surveyed for the research said they’ve missed work because of a childcare problem. Others say they’ve delayed education or training, or left a job in order to care for a child.

Pennsylvania officials say the state lags behind its neighbors when it comes to attracting new businesses and creating jobs. In a budget hearing Wednesday, lawmakers sought assurances that investments made by the Department of Community and Economic Development will pay off.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation oversees everything from road and bridge maintenance to mass transit. 

Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Councilor Ricky Burgess says the city must take bold action to solve its affordable housing crisis. In 2016, a task force estimated a need for 20,000 units, which led to the creation of the Housing Opportunity Fund. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh is part of a new initiative that aims to help municipalities attract equitable investment. The city is one of 13 to join the National Opportunity Zones Academy, a project created by national nonprofit Smart Growth America with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Barr Foundation.


Small businesses owned by women and minorities are driving the redevelopment of Centre Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. The board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority greenlighted six proposals for the corridor on Thursday.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Planning Commission approved an amendment to the zoning code on Tuesday that's expected to help the city reach its climate goals.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

In the next few years, Port Authority of Allegheny County is preparing to make changes to its fare policy, its infrastructure, and how it connects to communities. But first, it wants to hear from residents. The agency launched its listening tour on Wednesday with three public meetings at the David Lawrence Convention Center. Each session began with brief presentations from Port Authority officials.

Sabrina Bodon / 90.5 WESA

Water company Aqua America will acquire Peoples Gas for $4.3 billion, after state regulators approved the merger on Thursday. By February the two companies will do business under the new name “Essential Utilities, Inc.” 

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto and his administration want to shift the focus of economic development and investment in the city. Instead of relying on the Urban Redevelopment Authority to drive broad growth, city hall and city agencies must work together to ensure all Pittsburghers thrive, said Dan Gilman, the mayor’s chief of staff.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

At the time when many of Pittsburgh’s streets were built, top travel speed was dictated by horses, and later, a trolley car at full tilt. 

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Construction of Pittsburgh’s proposed bus rapid transit or BRT system is expected to begin in 2021, a year later than initially planned.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

McKeesport is one of the largest municipalities in Allegheny County after Pittsburgh, but has taken longer to bounce back from de-industrialization. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The population of the City of Pittsburgh has stabilized, according to five-year estimates just out from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. However, the same data show a rapid loss of the city’s black residents.