Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

BUS TRANSIT PROPOSAL GETS GOOD REVIEWS ABOUT 200 ATTEND TWO PUBLIC SESSIONS [Corrected 04/14/17]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

BUS TRANSIT PROPOSAL GETS GOOD REVIEWS ABOUT 200 ATTEND TWO PUBLIC SESSIONS [Corrected 04/14/17]

Article excerpt

The following CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION appeared on April 13, 2017.Port Authority has 19 routes between Oakland and Downtown Pittsburgh. A story last Thursday about the proposed Bus Rapid Transit program used an incorrect number.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is pleasantly surprised at the mostly positive public response to the proposal to set up a Bus Rapid Transit system between Oakland and Downtown Pittsburgh.

The response to this project, developed jointly by planners for the city and Port Authority, is in sharp contrast to the public outcry over the last major transit project in this region a decade ago - the North Shore Connector that extended the T system from Downtown to the North Shore, Mr. Fitzgerald said Wednesday. He made his comments after opening remarks Wednesday at the first display of the bus system proposal at the University of Pittsburgh's Alumni Hall, where about 200 people attended two sessions.

The general sessions followed about 20 meetings with neighborhood groups since the project was unveiled last month. The system will put electric vehicles on dedicated lanes to cut travel time in half between Oakland and Downtown, two of the top three job centers in Pennsylvania, at a cost of $200 million to $240 million.

"Everybody hated the North Shore Connector until it was built, but now it's used a lot," Mr. Fitzgerald said. "They seem to love this idea from the beginning."

Right now, 19 bus routes move 61,000 people a day between Oakland and Downtown. The goal is to end those routes in Oakland and have riders transfer to the Bus Rapid Transit system, which will have additional benefits of reducing air pollution and completely rebuilding Fifth and Forbes avenues between Oakland and Downtown.

"This should be called People Rapid Transit," Mr. Fitzgerald told the audience. "When this gets built, there's going to be a lot more riders. It's going to look like a train on rubber wheels."

Planners are using the meetings to find out which route should be used through Oakland - all electric vehicles on Fifth Avenue or inbound on Fifth and outbound on Forbes - and whether to continue the system through priority lanes and smart traffic signals to other neighborhoods such as Highland Park, Squirrel Hill and Wilkinsburg. …

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