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2006 January 21
Assistant General Manager of Engineering and Construction
Port Authority of Allegheny County
Heinz 57 Center, Gimbels Landmark Building
345 Sixth Avenue, Third Floor
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-2527
Subject: Public Comment
Period Response to the Proposed Project Revision of the
Dear Mr. Nutbrown:
In general, I approve the proposal to defer construction of a short extension of Port Authority’s Light Rail Transit Subway System from the Steel Plaza Subway Station to a proposed new Convention Center Subway Station, to be located in front of the yet-to-be-constructed new Greyhound Bus Station and parking garage under Eleventh Street between Liberty and Penn Avenues.
Considering that an operational Light Rail Transit Station [at-grade station, connected directly by rail to the Steel Plaza Subway Station] exists less than a block away, on the other side of the Pennsylvania Railroad Station building, the construction of another, more expensive underground rail station less than a block away seems duplicative. In essence, you would simply be moving the Light Rail passenger station from one side of the Pennsylvania Railroad Station to the other—and spending a lot more money in the process!
Now, the rationale for the new Convention Center Subway Station, is quite laudable. I agree that there should be a good rapid transit connection for people traveling to and from the new Convention Center. However, this need could and should be satisfied with the existing, operational Penn Station Light Rail Transit Station, which, really, is only about a block away from the new Convention Center!
Now, the problem is that the Penn Station (also, sometimes referred to as Penn Park Station) Light Rail Station, although only a block away, is not easily accessible to the Convention Center due to the complex intersections of three major streets in this area: Liberty Avenue, Grant Street, and Penn Avenue, along with Eleventh Street. However, this problem can easily and relatively inexpensively be resolved with the construction of an elevated walkway between the Convention Center and Penn Station.
Such an elevated walkway could connect the Convention Center with several transportation-related assets in this area:
1) Penn Station Light Rail Transit Station
2) Penn Station East Busway Station (which is used by Port Authority of Allegheny County buses, as well as buses of the Westmoreland County Transit Authority, Beaver County Transit Authority, and Mid-Mon Valley Transit Authority
a) Amtrak Intercity Trains
b) Possible future commuter
train service from
4) Greyhound Bus Station (which is used by some other bus companies, as well)
5) Parking Garage at the Greyhound Bus Station
Mr. Henry Nutbrown 2006 January 21 Page 2 of 2
Convention Center Hotel in
It is not
known when, or even if, money would become available to eventually construct
the proposed subway extension from the Steel Plaza Subway Station to the
Convention Center. Yet, the need of good public transportation, between
Construction of an elevated walkway, from the new Convention Center, along or through the new Greyhound Bus Station, to Penn Station would solve this transportation problem relatively quickly and relatively inexpensively—certainly much sooner than the proposed subway link and definitely much, much less expensively than a subway link!
I completely agree with the Public Comment Period Response to the Proposed Project Revision of the North Shore Connector Rapid Transit Extension Project issued by the Allegheny County Transit Council (ACTC), particularly when they say:
“With the savings from deferral of an underground light rail line to the Convention Center, this might be possible within the time and budget constraints, despite the technical and interagency complications. An elevated walkway appears ideal and should be considered.”
I also agree with the ACTC comment:
“3. Deferring design and construction of the spur to the Convention Center would apparently also enable use, for some period of time, of existing light rail yard and storage tracks in the vicinity of the existing terminus of the T line at Penn Station.”
Glenn A. Walsh
Copy: David Wohlwill