Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh’s long-range transit plans: higher elevations and lower fares

The Homepage, published by Hazelwood Initiative

By: Juliet Martinez

Pittsburgh transit planners are looking into the future. They are imagining a city where getting around is cheaper, easier, and sometimes airborne.

The Department of Mobility Infrastructure [DOMI] released its 50-year plan in September. The Port Authority [PAT] released its 25-year plan in September as well. Themes of accessibility and equity run through both plans. Both expand transit service to underserved areas like Hazelwood and the 31st Ward.  

The Proposed NEXTransit NetworkImage courtesy of Port Authority Transit

For example, the PAT plan will connect the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. An aerial gondola system will link the Strip District to the Hill District, Oakland, Hazelwood, Carrick and Overbrook. Riders will not have to take a bus to Downtown and catch one or two more before arriving at their destination.  They will travel over the city on a more direct route.

PAT gathered public input for its plan through six rounds of 45 public meetings. These had almost 1,500 participants.  The agency held 37 pop-up tent events in Allegheny County. They gathered input from 625 people during the summer and fall of 2020 and the spring and summer of 2021. Close to 20,000 more people responded to survey on paper, over the phone, online, by text, at the project website and via social media.  

Public input to the PAT plan stressed accessibility, affordability, efficiency, equity and sustainability.  

The DOMI 50-year plan also expands bus, light rail transit, gondola and multimodal connections. It even envisions water taxis on the rivers. Other projects will make getting around easier and safer for people who walk, or ride a bike or scooter. The Smart Streets project will update more than 600 stoplight intersections.  

DOMI collected more than 900 comments between May, 2019, and January, 2020. This input went into its draft project list. Public meeting participants reviewed this list in June, 2020, and offered more feedback.  

The core principles guiding the DOMI plan include:

> Adapting the infrastructure of the past for the needs of the future  

> Recognizing and responding to the reality – and urgency – of climate change 

> Promoting affordable housing and access to quality jobs through fairness in mobility

> Advancing mobility justice to redress the infrastructure racism of the past 

Transportation contributes about a third of the pollution in most cities. Making public transit more accessible and affordable will help reduce pollution. Lowering pollution will reduce rates of asthma and lung disease. Cleaner air also helps prevent learning difficulties and pregnancy complications.

Learn more about the PAT NEXTransit 25-year plan at https://tinyurl.com/PAT-NEXTransit-25-year-plan

Learn more about the DOMI 50-year plan at https://pittsburghpa.gov/domi/transport-vision-plan.

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The Homepage is a print newspaper delivered monthly to households in Greater Hazelwood, Glen Hazel, Greenfield, Hays, New Homestead, Lincoln Place and The Run. Hazelwood Initiative, Inc., a community-based nonprofit, publishes The Homepage through a grant from the City of Pittsburgh and advertising revenue from local businesses and organizations. The mission of Hazelwood Initiative, as a community-based development corporation, is to build a stronger Hazelwood through inclusive community development. Sonya Tilghman, Executive Director of Hazelwood Initiative, Inc. (she/her) Juliet Martinez, Managing Editor of The Homepage (they/them) Sarah Kanar, Layout and Design of The Homepage(she/her)

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