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Pittsburgh Regional Transit plans to look at bus routes, potential changes

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Margaret Sun
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90.5 WESA

On today’s episode of The Confluence:

Pittsburgh Regional Transit CEO details revised plans for Oakland to Downtown bus loop project
(0:00 - 12:00)

Last week, Pittsburgh Regional Transit unveiled updated plans for the Bus Rapid Transit Project, which will use exclusive lanes to provide service between downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland, inbound on Fifth Avenue and outbound on Forbes Avenue. It also comes with an $61 million cost increase from past estimates.

According to Katharine Kelleman, CEO of PRT, the cost increases are the result of added contingency plans, as recommended by the Federal Transit Administration. She says that the construction of the loop is expected to begin next year.

“Even with pandemic traffic, it's still crazy getting through Oakland and we've made this commitment to our communities that we will not just improve that bus trip, but will use what we can to improve the corridor for everybody traveling through it,” says Kelleman

Aside from the bus route, the project is expected to include a standalone bike lane in Oakland and updated stops that allow for faster boarding.

Kelleman says that PRT will begin a “route overhaul,” using data to accommodate the needs and wants of travelers. First they must complete a route review which is expected to begin in the next year.

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Historian David McCullough incorporated Pittsburgh into his retellings of American history
(12:03 - 22:30)

David McCullough, a Pittsburgh native, whose work as an author and historian, garnered him two Pulitzer prizes and two National Book Awards, died Sunday at age 89.

He was also honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His writings included biographies of Harry Truman and the Wright Brothers as well as narratives on the building of the Panama Canal, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Johnstown Flood.

McCullough called Pittsburgh a “great story town.” Andrew Masich, president and CEO of the Senator John Heinz History Center, says McCullough incorporated innovation out of Pittsburgh into his other stories.

“He knew that innovation was something that emerged from this rough and tumble river city that was the gateway to the West,” says Masich. “When it was time to build a history museum here in western Pennsylvania, he was the champion for the Heinz History Center, which features innovation.”

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm
Marylee is the editor/producer of The Confluence, the daily public affairs show on WESA. She got her start in journalism at The Daily Reveille and KLSU while attending Louisiana State University. She took her passion for audio journalism to UC Berkeley's graduate program and worked in public radio at WPR in Madison, WI, and WOSU in Columbus, Ohio.
Laura Tsutsui is a producer for The Confluence, WESA's morning news show. Previously, she reported on the San Joaquin Valley with the NPR affiliate station in her hometown of Fresno, California. She can be reached at ltsutsui@wesa.fm.
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