The Port Authority is set to begin replacing the rails of the Red Line “T” route on March 27, but a project to simultaneously improve the safety of the T stops there hasn’t gotten off the ground.
The Beechview T stops are situated on concrete islands in the middle of Broadway Avenue’s four lanes. They don’t have pedestrian crossings and they’re not well marked. Beechview’s councilwoman, Natalia Rudiak, said the situation is unsafe and discourages people from riding the T.
Her $1.2 million proposal would install curb ramps, crosswalks, shaded benches, speed bumps and better signage to increase the visibility and safety of the Beechview T stops.
“Let’s improve ADA access at the T stops,” said Rudiak. “Let’s use the speed tables to calm traffic and essentially create a bridge for people crossing the street to the T stop.”
Rudiak submitted the project to the state’s Commonwealth Financing Authority in August, expecting approval for a grant to cover three-quarters of the cost. But she said the CFA hasn’t met since November and financing is still in limbo for a project that was meant to begin this month.
She said other municipalities in southern Allegheny County would benefit from the transformation, so she doesn’t want the city to pay for the entire project itself.
“I don’t think it’s fair for the taxpayers of the City of Pittsburgh to single-handedly carry the burden of redeveloping this entire corridor on their shoulders,” said Rudiak.
Rudiak said it may be too late to incorporate the train stop improvements into the Port Authority’s rail replacement work this spring and summer, but she’d still like the project to start as soon as possible.
CFA board member John Verbanac said he’s familiar with the Beechview project, but noted that it was one of 200 proposals in the transportation grant program and approval isn’t guaranteed. He said he doesn’t know whether transportation grant funding is on the agenda of the authority's March 9 meeting.