Development & Transportation

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

Transportation Funding Bills Moved in Pennsylvania

Oct 20, 2011

A top Pennsylvania Senate Republican is trying to bring the issue of the commonwealth's ailing roads and bridges to the forefront by introducing a package of bills dealing with the financial side of the equation.

At the beginning of the month, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said he hadn't made any decisions about transportation funding because of the tough economy even though his Transportation Funding Advisory Commission released a lengthy report identifying possible revenue streams and funding needs. However, Senator Jake Corman believes now is the time to act.

Pittsburgh is one tiny step closer to the installation of a passenger rail line along the Allegheny River.

Pittsburgh City Council has given preliminary approval to bills that would allow the Urban Redevelopment Authority to apply for and administer a $1 million federal rail improvement grant.

Sponsoring Councilman Patrick Dowd said the grant would be used to help make adjustments to the existing Allegheny Valley Rail Line for use as both a commuter rail service, and as an "urban circulator," as per the Allegheny Riverfront Vision Plan announced last year.

Barge Sinks on Ohio, Cleanup Continues

Oct 6, 2011

A barge carrying sand and gravel sank on the Ohio River Wednesday night. Crews are continuing their attempt to salvage both the cargo and the vessel itself. The river's traffic routine is returning to normality.

Emsworth Lock and Dam lock master Don Ziler said the vessel was part of a group of barges carried by a tow boat. Ziler said the tow was "below the lock, waiting for another tow to pass it" when the problem began.

The Republican candidate for Allegheny County Executive continued his policy rollout Thursday by detailing his plans for the Pittsburgh International Airport. D. Raja says that if elected, he'd focus on three ways to develop the airport: first, creating an "innovation zone"; second, increasing demand for air traffic; third, vamping up public transit from the city to the Findlay Township site.

PAT Introduces Bike-Friendly Initiatives

Sep 23, 2011

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is making a couple of changes that are sure to please bicyclists: at a small gathering in Market Square Friday morning, the Port Authority announced it has equipped its entire fleet of buses with bike racks, an initiative ten years in the making.

The bike racks attach to the fronts of the buses, and each can hold two standard-sized bikes. PAT spokeswoman Heather Pharo said they were paid for through several grants and matching funds from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

City Parking Enforcement Scaled Back to 6 P.M.

Sep 20, 2011

For more than three months, the Pittsburgh Parking Authority has been able to give tickets to cars at unpaid meters until 10:00 PM every Monday through Saturday.

The four-hour ticketing extension will be short-lived, after Pittsburgh Council unanimously voted to repeal it during its Tuesday meeting. Meters will once again be watched from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM until January 1, at which point Council must revisit the issue.

Turnpike Workers’ Strike Not Likely

Sep 19, 2011

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission says the employee walkout in 2004 that forced it to collect a flat toll fee from motorists for a week isn't likely to occur this month as employees negotiate a new contract. The Commission is in talks with more than 1,500 Teamster union workers, whose deal is up at the end of the month. Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo said both sides want to reach an agreement.

Fitzgerald: Create Regional Transit Agency

Sep 13, 2011

The Democratic candidate for Allegheny County Executive said the state should create a regional transit agency for southwestern Pennsylvania.

During a campaign address about working for senior citizens, former County Council President Rich Fitzgerald said the new agency would consolidate each county's current transit service into one larger entity to cut costs.

PennDOT Tries for Safer Work Zones

Sep 12, 2011

PennDOT is stepping up its efforts to protect road crews in work zones with safety training and "Operation Yellow Jacket".

Steve Cowan, PennDOT District 11 Safety Press Officer, said road workers are being trained periodically by safety and county management staff on how to handle work zone violations. He said in District 11 (Allegheny, Beaver, and Lawrence County) there have been two training sessions in the last three months, but employees, in the past year, have not yet reported a violation to the police.

Trucks, Drivers Pulled From Road In Crackdown

Sep 8, 2011

Pennsylvania State Police removed 163 vehicles and 39 drivers from service in a one-day coordinated inspection of commercial trucks carrying hazardous materials. Troopers examined 1,356 trucks August 31 looking for everything from incomplete files to hazardous placard violations. "Possibly things aren't checked properly on the paperwork as far as shipping papers and what's being transported," said Lieutenant Ray Cook. "Then we have some placard violations. Maybe the number of placards aren't (sic) present or the type of placards aren't (sic) present."

PennDOT Uses New Lane Markings

Sep 5, 2011

Motorists traveling Pennsylvania's state highways are starting to see new warnings painted on the pavement. The goal is to improve safety at intersections and sharp curves.

PennDOT is painting the word "SLOW" on the roadway as they approach tight curves. The marking is then followed by an arrow to alert motorists which way the road is turning, said PennDOT District 11 safety officer Steve Cowen.

Labor Day Parade: A 'March for Jobs'

Sep 4, 2011

Union leaders in Southwestern Pennsylvania want to use this year's Labor Day Parade to send a message to state and federal lawmakers: pass transportation legislation to put people back to work.

Allegheny County Labor Council President Jack Shea said he expects 70,000 to march in the 2011 parade, with both unionized and non-union workers invited to take part in the "March for Jobs." This is the first year non-union workers will be marching.

State grants totaling $4 million are headed to 18 airports across Pennsylvania to upgrade facilities and improve safety. The awards range from $3,000 for the Butler County Airport to $750,000 for Pittsburgh International Airport. The money comes from the state's jet fuel tax. Each recipient must match 25% of the money granted.

Labor Day Weekend Road Construction

Sep 2, 2011

PennDOT says most major road construction will be suspended for the holiday weekend as a concession to motorists, but long-term restrictions will remain in place on Route 28, Route 65 and Crosstown Boulevard.

Work will also continue on Route 50 in Bridgeville, where there will be just a single lane in each direction from 8:00 PM Friday through 8:00 PM Sunday near Great Southern Shopping Center, and also where Greentree Road intersects Route 50 in Heidelberg.

Streetcars in the Strip?

Aug 26, 2011

The notion of streetcars in the Strip District may seem outdated or romantic in the 21st century, but it could become a reality in the near future.

The city of Pittsburgh is asking consultants to submit bids for a streetcar system in the Strip, to be situated between 10th and 40th Streets.

Pittsburgh's Principal Transportation Planner Patrick Roberts said whichever comprehensive plan the city adopts this November will also include other transportation changes for the market neighborhood, like pedestrian and bikeway improvements.

A panel of Pennsylvania legislators, private citizens, and the state's Transportation Secretary heard arguments for funding local infrastructure projects on Thursday.

Leaders from southwestern Pennsylvania counties and municipalities submitted their ideas for the Department of Transportation's 12-Year Plan, or TYP. Updated every two years, the TYP maps out which road and bridge projects will be a priority for the state agency.

PennDOT Chief: Higher Driver Cost vs. Worse Roads

Aug 25, 2011

Pennsylvania's top transportation official said if the state adopts recent recommendations for funding its worn-out roads and bridges, it will raise costs for drivers. But, he said that's not necessarily worse than the alternative.

Largest Phase of Route 28 Work Begins

Aug 18, 2011

The estimated 60,000 motorists who use Route 28 between Pittsburgh and Millvale on any given day will have some additional challenges starting August 22 as PennDOT begins the next phase of construction on that roadway. PennDOT spokesman Jim Struzzi says the $36.4 million phase is the largest of the overall project.

Transit Plan Proposed for East End

Aug 3, 2011

Pittsburgh's East End has seen its share of redevelopment in recent years, and now the Department of City Planning hopes to map out a transportation plan to get people to and from those new sites.

City Planning officials are slated to talk with residents and organizations Thursday about what new transportation infrastructure the area needs, to decide if they should adopt a "Transit Revitalization Improvement District" for East Liberty.