Development & Transportation

We cover how people move about the region, as well as trends in housing and commercial development.

Record-Breaking Travel Volume Expected This Holiday Season

Dec 20, 2019
Jacqueline Larma / AP

The number of people traveling for the upcoming holiday period could break some records this year.

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.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority expects to exit crisis mode in the next couple of years. Officials say decades of disinvestment weakened the system, and it’s taken time to stabilize. But with several years of investment and long-range planning behind them, PWSA expects to be able to spend more time on green and stormwater infrastructure. That could mean a new fee for ratepayers.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Riders on Port Authority of Allegheny County buses now have access to free WiFi, the agency announced on Monday. About half of Port Authority’s 700-bus fleet is connected, and a spokesperson said they expect all buses and light rail vehicles to offer WiFi within the next two months.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Brighton Heights residents may again have a direct connection to Riverview Park. A $200,000 state grant will go toward planning for a new pedestrian and bicycle-friendly span where the Davis Avenue Bridge once stood.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

State Correctional Institute Pittsburgh and Saints Peter and Paul Church are among the Pittsburgh area's historic sites to preserve, according to a new top 10 list by the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh. The organization created the list to highlight sites at risk of demolition, with the goal of breeding new life for the buildings.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The advisory board of Pittsburgh’s Housing Opportunity Fund met Tuesday morning to discuss how to fund its six programs in 2020.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

At a public hearing on Pittsburgh’s proposed budget for 2020, dozens of residents called on city officials to show how its spending supports the values of equity and inclusion.

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This month the city will seek final designs for a $14 million renovation of Homewood Park, home to Willie Stargell Field and the Homewood Pool. City officials and partners announced the investment last September, when pro football Hall of Famer and Pittsburgh native Curtis Martin helped land funding for a new sports field.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District recently finished a $6.6 million renovation of Allegheny River Lock and Dam No. 2 near the Highland Park Bridge. The agency upgraded the concrete land wall inside the chamber, which required 400 cubic yards of concrete.

Vincent DeCarlo, deputy chief of operations for the Pittsburgh District, said pieces of concrete had been breaking off and falling into the chamber, which posed a hazard for commercial and recreational boats.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Travelers are urged to pack some patience as they use Pennsylvania’s roads, rails and airports over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.


Pennsylvania’s governor is turning to an engineer who’s served most recently as a top PennDOT administrator to be the agency’s next transportation secretary.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Four city councilors introduced legislation on Tuesday that would scrutinize the city's relationship to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, calling for a review of all working agreements with the organization. 

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The future of the Shop ’n Save plaza in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood will be decided by the public, the board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority voted on Thursday. The agency will try to buy the mostly vacant Centre Heldman Plaza, which requires paying off the mortgage and back taxes.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Greg Flisram will be the next head of Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Argo AI

On today's program: Argo AI’s CEO explores the future of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh; Hazelwood’s neighborhood plan gets approved after years of work by residents; and Honor Flight Pittsburgh is taking veterans on tours of Capitol memorials free of charge.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

Potholes have long provided Pittsburgh a rich vein to mine for jokes and complaints. So when a sinkhole downtown swallowed a Port Authority bus two weeks ago—unaccompanied, thankfully, by serious injuries or fatalities—it was pure gold for wags and Halloween costumes alike.

For utility companies, it set off a flurry of infrastructure work.


Pennsylvania is home to a lot of old dams—many of which are privately owned.

The state agency that regulates those dams says it has serious concerns about 145 of them.

The new numbers come from the Associated Press. After a two-year investigation, reporters found more than 1,600 dams around the country that could be susceptible to collapse.

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is about to be the proud owner of a swimming pool.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Each year, the advisory board of the Housing Opportunity Fund  must decide how to split $10 million among its programs, from helping homeowners afford necessary repairs to providing emergency funding so people can make rent. On Thursday, the board began work on its 2020 allocation.


U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said Carnegie Mellon University is leading the way in automated transportation research on a visit to Pittsburgh Thursday, citing $8.4 million Department of Transportation grants the university received in conjunction with PennDOT.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

On Tuesday, Pittsburgh Planning Commission approved the Greater Hazelwood Neighborhood Plan. Residents are optimistic that with the plan in place, they can make sure future development furthers the community's goals.


On today's program: Etna is the world’s first EcoDistrict; Murray Energy’s collapse could be a disaster for retiring coal miners; enrollment at Pittsburgh Public Schools is declining; a researcher is gathering data about plastics in PA rivers; and what to know before you vote today. 


After four years of testing, the Pennsylvania Turnpike says it plans to move ahead with a $129 million project to become a completely cashless toll system in two years, eliminating hundreds of toll collecting and auditing positions along the way.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A 2017 change to the federal tax code aimed to spur private investment in some of the country’s most distressed areas through the creation of “opportunity zones.” As regulations surrounding the program are finalized, Allegheny County officials and residents are trying to figure out how best to capitalize on the change.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council approved a land swap on Tuesday that will allow development of the former Penn Plaza site in East Liberty to move forward. 


Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

A bus that was partially swallowed when a sinkhole opened during morning rush hour in downtown Pittsburgh has been removed from the hole.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

A city bus is currently stuck in a sinkhole in downtown Pittsburgh, after the pavement collapsed under it during rush hour.

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Pittsburgh’s Planning Commission approved a zoning change that will allow the owners of a Shadyside shopping center to replace existing stores with a dense, multi-story retail and housing project.