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Bus rapid transit will connect Downtown to Oakland in first phase of PRT's project

Kiley Koscinski
90.5 WESA

On today’s episode of The Confluence: 

Ten years since a case of mistaken identity and a police shooting left him paralyzed, Leon Ford’s non-profit wants to make Pittsburgh safer for everyone
(0:00 - 8:03)

Tomorrow marks 10 years since then-19-year-old Leon Ford was shot by Pittsburgh Police during a traffic stop. Officers thought they were stopping a suspect with a similar name.

Ford was left paralyzed after that shooting.

Earlier this year he partnered with former Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert to create The Hear Foundation to reduce youth violence and improve community relations.

“One of the things that we must consider and think about is the uptick in violence, and people are tired of, you know, burying their babies and loved ones,” says Ford. “I think a lot of people really leaned into this idea of public safety and making Pittsburgh safer for everyone.”

Tomorrow evening, Ford will be joined by national speakers in a community event at the Heinz History Center to discuss trauma, healing and resilience. The event begins at 5:45 p.m, and will conclude with a special announcement by Ford and the Heinz History Center.

Pittsburgh Regional Transit is moving forward with the first phase of its bus rapid transit project
(8:10 - 15:48)

Yesterday, elected officials, and leadership from Pittsburgh Regional Transit, broke ground for the first phase of the Bus Rapid Transit project, which will connect Downtown to Oakland.

“The core parts of the project have remained fairly constant. We're doing the downtown loop. There will be dedicated bus lanes and bike lanes throughout Uptown and Oakland, and then we will have stations that will have a lot of passenger amenities added to them throughout that core area,” says David Huffaker, chief development officer of the transit agency.

Future phases will add bus rapid transit routes extending to Highland Park and Squirrel Hill, but money still needs to be raised for those projects.

The first phrase will cost an estimated $291 million, and further construction will get underway early next year.

Housing and social justice advocate Celeste Scott will be remembered this weekend
(15:56 - 22:30)

Last week, the Pittsburgh community lost Celeste Scott, the housing advocate who helped to transform the landscape of affordable housing in Pittsburgh. This weekend, Pittsburghers are mourning the loss.

Crystal Jennings-Rivera, stewardship and engagement manager at City of Bridges Community Land Trust, worked with Scott.

“She is a big reason why I continue to do what I do,” says Jennings-Rivera. “She touched areas like Stop the Violence rallies, gun violence, police brutality, the safety and uplifting of black women in the Pittsburgh area and beyond, and battling for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.”

Scott's advocacy help lead to the creation and funding of the city’s Housing Opportunity Fund, which works to address Pittsburgh’s affordable housing crisis.

This Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. there will be a celebration at 748 Wallis Ave. in Wilkinsburg, and a memorial Sunday at the Homewood Brushton YMCA.

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.

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