Development & Transportation

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

Gas prices have been trending downward in the U.S. for the last several weeks, and that trend is expected to continue into 2013. That’s according to AAA East Central, which covers Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.

“It is expected to continue unless something happens that affects the supply or the demand then we do expect them to trend downward, this is usually the time of year when gas prices do fall,” said AAA Spokeswoman Bevi Powell.

Barges and other river traffic moving through Pittsburgh might soon be using a broadband wireless network to announce their arrival and keep everyone a little bit safer.

The Port of Pittsburgh Commission (PPC) is developing a first-of-its-kind network that it feels could have uses in busy inland waterways across the country. 

Round Two of Pittsburgh v. Winter

Dec 29, 2012

The second wave of winter weather moved into the Pittsburgh area early Saturday morning leaving about five inches of fresh snow on the ground by the time it left.

The National Weather Service says another storm could drop as much as an inch on the Pittsburgh region over night Saturday into Sunday.

Pittsburgh Public Works crews were seen throughout the city Saturday morning trying to stay ahead of the snow. Most major arteries remained clear but some side streets remained untouched for hours.  

City Fights Snow and Prepares Weekend

Dec 27, 2012

50 city-owned vehicles have been working on Pittsburgh streets since Wednesday to battle the snow, sleet and ice combination coming down on the area. 

Pittsburgh Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski said the primary, or critical, roadways in the city were addressed first. By 2:00 p.m. Thursday, nearly all of the secondary streets had been plowed, cleared, and salted.

For those who park on those secondary roadways, which is the case in most of the city, Kaczorowski suggested moving the vehicle if at all possible.

Storm Hits Pittsburgh

Dec 26, 2012

<strong> UPDATE: 3:21PM 12/26/12 </strong>

Non-essential state employees have been sent home early as winter storm Euclid spreads across the state. A thin layer of ice under a quickly falling snow has made travel throughout western Pennsylvania extremely difficult on this day-after Christmas. 

Pennsylvania State Police have closed Route 28 in both directions from Harmarville (Exit 11) to Tarentum (Exit 14). Turnpike officials have declared a weather emergency and have lowered the speed limit to 45 mph from the Ohio state line to the Blue Mountain Tunnel. 

AAA East Central anticipates having to help about 39,000 stranded motorists in the four-state region including Pennsylvania during the holiday travel period which started before Christmas and will end January 2nd. AAA’s Steve Popovich said the good news, is motorists can take an active role in avoiding being stranded.

Winter Storm Draco Could Delay Travel Plans

Dec 21, 2012

UPDATE:  11AM 12/22/12

Weather officials say a winter storm  brought more than eight inches of snow to parts of western Pennsylvania. The National Weather Service says 8.3 inches was reported Saturday morning in Fayette County.

Parts of  Venango and Mercer Counties received six inches;  five inches in Forest County and four-inch totals were reproted in Clarion and Jefferson counties.

A winter storm warning for parts of western Pennsylvania remains in effect until 7 p.m. Saturday.


The nation’s roadways and airports are about to get a lot busier, as families and friends head out to spend Christmas with those they love.

“We’ll have 93.3 million who will be traveling an average of 760 miles or more away from home, 90 percent of those will be on our nation’s roadways,” said Ruth Nagy, managing director of travel operations for AAA.

Three main issues worry leaders throughout the state: clean water, redevelopment, and transportation. Those things were tackled at a one-day conference in Pittsburgh, which included state and local leaders along with business owners and operators and community members. One of the biggest issues is funding transportation systems. It’s a problem Allegheny County knows all too well.

Woman Struck by 3 Vehicles in Strip Dist. Dies

Dec 11, 2012

Pittsburgh police say a woman has died after being struck by three vehicles, including a box truck which left the scene.

Police say it's possible the truck driver didn't realize he had run over 53-year-old Judith Kollar, of West Mifflin, about 7 a.m. Tuesday.

The incident happened in the Strip District, a section of the city dominated by vegetable and fresh food wholesalers, where freight trucks unload overnight and into the morning.

PennDOT is to finish work by the end of next week on the Fancourt Bridge that carries ramps from Fort Duquesne Boulevard to I-376 over the 10th Street Bypass in downtown Pittsburgh.  

But there will be additional restrictions next week before the span reopens.  The ramp connecting  the 10th Street Bypass to westbound I-376 (outbound Fort Pitt Bridge/Parkway West) will be closed December 10-15 to replace an approach slab on the Fancourt Bridge and reconstruct the bypass roadway along the retaining walls.

Lawmakers are continuing to work on a comprehensive transportation funding solution, according to Governor Tom Corbett. The governor was in Wexford, highlighting the role transportation plays in the overall economy. He said Pennsylvania is currently at a very important economic juncture with the continuing energy boom as well as the growing manufacturing and technology sectors.

“The role transportation has will be putting all of these pieces together, allowing the people that are here to be able to move about from region to region,” said Corbett.

United Airlines Ranks Last in Flight Timeliness

Dec 3, 2012

According to analysis by the company Lets Fly Cheaper, air travelers are more likely to leave the gate late if they choose United Airlines over other carriers.

United Airlines ranked last in terms of timeliness on a list of 15 major carriers, using federal data from January to September of this year. The company's flights were on schedule roughly 76.5 percent of the time.

Just ahead of United in terms of punctuality were Express Jet Airlines (76.72% on time); American Airlines (77.86%); Frontier Airlines (79.12%); and JetBlue Airways (80.41%).

Empowering Senior Drivers And Keeping Them Safe

Dec 3, 2012

In Pennsylvania, drivers must renew their licenses every four years.  Motorists 65 and older have the option to renew every two years but are not required to do so, and they don't have to take another driving test.

So PennDOT and law enforcement officials want to keep elderly drivers safe while preserving their independence. During this week there are several events being held across southwestern Pennsylvania to highlight safety for older drivers.

Two dozen freight rail projects in Pennsylvania are receiving $18.6 million in state funding for infrastructure upgrades, much-needed repairs, and improving businesses’ rail access in 25 counties throughout the state.

The grant money is administered by PennDOT’s Bureau of Rail Freight, Ports, and Waterways.  PennDOT spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt said the money will be divided based on the specifics of each project.

Lucky Day: Free Parking in Pittsburgh on Saturday

Nov 23, 2012

Parking will be free at city-owned meters on Saturday, thanks to a resolution rushed through Pittsburgh City Council on Monday.

Councilman Bill Peduto said his bill suspends enforcement of parking meters all day on Saturday, in honor of Small Business Saturday. Peduto said it's a way to help Pittsburgh's neighborhood business districts attract shoppers just after the corporate marketing push of Black Friday.

PennDOT has scrapped a plan to put traffic signals on the ramps leading to the Parkway East.  The goal was to improve flow but drivers were worried it would do the opposite.

A transportation study done by the University of Pittsburgh recommended a combination of ramp closures and so-called ramp-metering-- a method in which signals or other devices that gauge when a vehicle can best enter the highway are placed at ramp entrances. But, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the outcry over that plan was loud.

Traveling for Thanksgiving? Be Ready For Busy Roads

Nov 19, 2012

Are you one of the 43.6 million Americans traveling more than 50 miles for their Thanksgiving celebration? If so, consider traveling on an off day or be prepared to hit traffic.

Ruth Nagy, Managing Director of Travel Operations for AAA East Central, said about 90 percent of travelers, or 39.1 million, this Thanksgiving will be going by car.  She said some are flying, but limited seats being offered by the airlines have reduced that number.

CMU May Study Month-by-Month City Parking Rates

Nov 14, 2012

If Pittsburgh City Council approves the necessary legislation this month, Carnegie Mellon University researchers will conduct a study of the optimal pricing for metered city parking spaces around the college.

CMU economics professor Stephen Spear said that means finding out the perfect parking price for each individual roadway, so as to keep every street's spaces 75 to 80 percent full.

Signal Violation to Blame in T Derailment

Nov 12, 2012
File photo / 90.5 WESA

The Port Authority of Allegheny County said that “a violation of a light rail signal” was what lead to Friday night’s derailment between the Gateway and Wood Street "T" Stations. PAT said the signal violation resulted in the light rail vehicle trying to pass through a switch before it had fully moved, and locked, into the correct position. The train derailed when it hit the switch. An investigation continues.

Three passengers complained of minor injuries after the incident.

Slowly but surely, the days of cash and cardboard card passes for Pittsburgh mass transit are becoming a thing of the past. Starting November 16, riders who buy December monthly passes at the Downtown service center will get “ConnectCards,” plastic cards that a rider will use in place of cardboard passes.

Port Authority spokesperson Jim Ritchie said the new payment system will be more convenient for than cash.

Pittsburgh’s 25-year transportation plan, MovePGH, has been taking public comment over the last year to craft an ultimate vision. Through that process the group has come up with a list of priorities and 5 goals, which it enveiled today.  Among the priorities -- providing balanced choices in transportation.

Operations at Pittsburgh International Airport are a mixed bag today as Sandy continues to affect areas from the East Coast to the Midwest. Numerous flights were canceled this morning, mostly due to a lack of planes.

“When there’s upheaval in the airline system, when a whole day’s worth of flights get canceled out of heavily-traveled airports such as Philadelphia, the New York airports, Washington DC, it does leave an imbalance in the system and aircraft aren’t where they should be when they need to be,” said Airport Spokeswoman JoAnn Jenny.

Highlands are Ready for the Megastorm

Oct 29, 2012

Somerset County says it is ready to go when it comes to the “Frankenstorm” brewing over Pennsylvania.  The county and the rest of the Laurel Highlands stand at a high enough elevation that the area could see some wet snowfalls.

“We are a ‘snow county,’ we’re used to the snow,” said Somerset County Emergency Management Agency Director Richard Lohr. 

Locals Prepare for "Frankenstorm"

Oct 26, 2012

The pre-Halloween hybrid weather monster that federal forecasters call "Frankenstorm" is looking more ominous by the hour for the East Coast, and utilities and local governments are getting ready.

“We actually begin preparing for winter well before the fall months,” said PennDOT District 11 spokesperson Jim Struzzi.  “Right now we are just double checking everything to make sure all the equipment is as it should be.”

Allegheny River Locks Services Changing

Oct 23, 2012

As part of a national effort to redirect funding from operations to maintenance,  the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Pittsburgh will change the hours and days of operation of several locks on the Allegheny River. Three locks will be restored to 24/7 service and Locks 6 and 7 will be reduced to commercial appointments only.

Given the deteriorating condition of the locks, services are being adjusted based on usage to help reduce costs. Jeff Hawk, Public Affairs Officer for the Corps’ Pittsburgh branch, said there is a direct relationship between funding and lock usage.

UPDATE: This story was originally published Oct 11th.  The second weekend of work began Friday night.  The detours are once again in place and the state is warning that delays could grow throughout the day.

ORIGINAL POST:The inbound lanes of the Squirrel Hill Tunnel are closing the next two consecutive weekends in order to complete work that raises the ceiling.  PennDOT spokesman, Jim Struzzi, said to expect significant delays during the closures starting at 9 p.m. on Friday through 5 a.m. Sunday on October 12-15th and 19-22nd.

IBM Wraps Up Pittsburgh Transit Consultation

Oct 12, 2012

IBM data experts made their final recommendations Friday after three weeks of studying Pittsburgh's transit systems and transit infrastructure. The city was one of 33 recipients of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant, which allowed Pittsburgh City Planners to work with analysts to further the city's transportation initiatives.

The final mile of the Great Allegheny Passage is expected to be completed in April 2013.  When done, the 141-mile bicycle trail will connect Pittsburgh to Maryland. At that point, the trail, which connects to Washington D.C via the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath, has a small gap between Pittsburgh and Duquesne. Officials say the trail is already a big draw, and this will only boost that.

A new report finds that young people are increasingly moving to Pittsburgh from cities such as Philadelphia, New York City and Washington D.C. 

The report, from PittsburghTODAY, examines the behaviors and attitudes of 400 + young residents living in the region.

Over the past five years, Pittsburgh has seen a seven percent influx of 20-34 year olds. That’s in contrast to years past when young people left Southwest Pennsylvania in droves.