Development & Transportation

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

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Affordable housing advocates say they’re concerned the consent agreement reached by the city of Pittsburgh and four neighborhood groups about the former Penn Plaza development site won’t actually help those who need it.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Protection for current homeowners, affordable housing and job creation remain among the Hazelwood community’s primary concerns, especially as residents move forward with the neighborhood planning process that kicked off last month.

About 50 people gathered at the Spartan Center on Tuesday night for discussion of the plan, which is being spearheaded by the Greater Hazelwood Community Collaborative. The GHCC comprises 27 community groups, as well as city and state officials.

An-Li Herring / WESA

Pittsburgh City Council is still searching for a way to pay for a fund it established last December to expand the supply of affordable housing for low and moderate-income residents.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

The Urban Redevelopment Authority board has voted to move forward with an amended development deal between the city and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. The proposal narrowly passed three to two, with Councilman Daniel Lavelle and former state Senator Jim Ferlo voting against the deal. Lavelle represents the Hill District.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Two months after announcing more than $1 billion in renovations to Pittsburgh International Airport, the Allegheny County Airport Authority is still seeking feedback from the public.

Amtrak's Lax Safety Culture Led To Crash That Killed 2

Nov 14, 2017
Andrew Harnik / AP

Amtrak's safety culture suffered major lapses, including more than two dozen unsafe conditions at a work zone where a train slammed into a maintenance backhoe last year, killing two workers, federal investigators said Tuesday.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

From a transportation perspective, Pittsburgh has a lot of challenges: narrow streets, steep hills and aging infrastructure that needs maintenance.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

Over the next three to five years, more than 200 affordably priced apartments and homes could be built in East Liberty and Garfield as a result of the negotiations surrounding the demolition of Penn Plaza, according to Rick Swartz, executive director of the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

The Urban Redevelopment Authority voted Thursday to give the city 555 acres of Hays Woods land so it can become a park.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

A decision on the Penguins’ amended development plan for the former Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill has been delayed until next week.

While the Sports and Exhibition Authority of Allegheny County approved the new plan, it still needs approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

URA Chairman Kevin Acklin acknowledged the new plan wasn’t circulated to board members until late Wednesday night for a Thursday vote. At the request of City Councilman Lavelle, who also sits on the URA board, Acklin did not ask for a vote.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority can fix its delivery systems, manage its debt, and provide clean, safe drinking water while remaining under public control, according to recommendations from consultant Infrastructure Management Group, Inc.

Kathleen J. Davis / WESA

After a seven month long search, the Port Authority of Allegheny County has hired Katharine Eagan Kelleman as its new CEO.

Kelleman is filling the shoes of David Donohoe, who was hired as interim CEO in April after Ellen McLean left the position. 

For the past three years, Kelleman served as CEO of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, based in Tampa, Fla. While there, she said she helped bring the authority from a $5 million deficit to a $3 million surplus.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Base water rates in Pittsburgh will increase by 49 percent by 2020. The board of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority also approved significant increases to 2018 capital and operating budgets in a special meeting Wednesday morning.

Emily Previti / WITF

In 2013, Pennsylvania created the City Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ) program in hopes of spurring economic growth by allowing a few select communities in the commonwealth to reinvest tax dollars that normally would go to the state or local government.

The program aims to ignite investment in historically hard-to-develop neighborhoods by, for instance, allowing developers to use tax revenue to pay off things like construction debt.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Residents supported one another’s calls for affordable housing and a community-driven, transparent process in the development of a former industrial site in the Point Breeze North neighborhood at a public meeting in early November.

KitAy / Flickr

The City of Pittsburgh has reached a tentative deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins on redevelopment of the Lower Hill District. 

Stuck On Slow, Pennsylvania Renews Push For Rural Broadband

Nov 6, 2017
Toby Talbot / AP

In rural swaths of Pennsylvania, fast internet is a literal pipe dream.

Residents in sparsely populated areas with little or no high-speed infrastructure say it's next to impossible to stream TV shows, telecommute, do videoconferencing or consistently access their cloud-based email. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

About a hundred members of the public attended the final opportunity to weigh in on what might be included in a consultant’s recommendations for restructuring the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

The city hired Infrastructure Management Group in April to decide how to best address widespread problems at the struggling authority.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Pamela Edwards leaves her house in Brushton every morning at 6:40 a.m. to catch her first bus.

While she waited for her second bus in East Liberty on a recent morning, she remembered a time when there were five different buses to catch in and out of the East End, whenever she needed them. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh's public transit agency says light-rail riders could face delays.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County says a higher-than-usual number of light-rail vehicles are undergoing maintenance and inspection. The agency says that's preventing it from operating as many two-car trains as usual.

Light-rail is operating on its regular schedule, although riders could see delays and overcrowding.

The agency says it's making every attempt to put the vehicles back into service.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

An audit of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority shows an urgent need for immediate action on several fronts, including addressing the organization's more than $750 million in debt, crumbling infrastructure and lack of leadership. 

The report, which covers Jan. 1, 2014 to June 30, 2017, was conducted by State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. 

"I don't believe that this is rising to some level of corruption," he said. "I think this was a bad setup from the beginning that led to a path of bad results."

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The race to represent Allegheny County Council’s District 4 pits a relatively new incumbent against a political rookie. Democratic candidate Patrick Catena was appointed to council in January, while Republican Dimitrios Pantzoulas won a place on next week’s ballot as a write-in candidate.

Joseph Novak / Flickr

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Tuesday that he expects to have an agreement with the Penguins on the first phase of development on the Lower Hill by Wednesday afternoon.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

Extending the Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway beyond Swissvale could cost between $549 and $704 million in 2026 dollars, according to a feasibility study released to WESA by the Port Authority of Allegheny County. 

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA


In October 2013, the Hill District held a triumphant groundbreaking: the opening of Shop n’ Save, the neighborhood’s first grocery store in 30 years.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

After more than 1,000 hours of mediated sessions and discussions, the city of Pittsburgh and community groups have reached an agreement with the developers of the former Penn Plaza site, to ensure affordable housing and green spaces remain in East Liberty.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has approved a moratorium on water shutoffs to help low-income residents who rely on radiators in the winter months. Shutoffs for customers 250 percent below the federal poverty level will be barred from Dec. 1 to March 30.

PWSA interim executive director Bob Weimar said this is the first step in creating fair-payment policies within the authority.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The Urban Redevelopment Authority board voted Thursday in a special meeting to extend the Penguins' deadline to begin development on the former Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill by another two weeks.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority was ordered to speed up its work on major infrastructure projects Wednesday when the state’s Department of Environmental Protection issued an administrative order aimed at ensuring consistent water volume and water pressure in the system.

90.5 WESA

Extending the Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway could generate between 800 and 2,400 more daily riders in 2035, according to a feasibility report completed for the Port Authority in September by engineering firm Gannett Fleming. 

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