P.O. Box 1041

                                                                                                Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania15230-1041 U.S.A.

                                                                                                Telephone: 412-561-7876

                                                                                                Electronic Mail: < gaw@planetarium.cc >

                                                                                                Internet Site: < http://www.planetarium.cc >

                                                                                                2009 October 19



Board of Directors, Port Authority of Allegheny County

Heinz 57 Center/Gimbels Landmark Building

345 Sixth Avenue, Third Floor

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-2527


Dear Port Authority Directors:


You may have noticed that not only did I miss all of the Port Authority Board and Committee meetings last month, I also missed arguably one of the most important public hearings in PAT’s history. This was regrettable but unavoidable.


At an earlier PAT Board Committee meeting, I had convinced Steve Bland to delay the public hearing from August to September, as many people are on vacation in August. Ironically, the public hearing was then scheduled for September 15.


That very evening, I was the guest speaker at the reopening of a historic Carnegie Library in suburban Atlanta, which had been closed for 22 years. The Newnan, Georgia Carnegie Library made history as the first Carnegie Library building—and probably the first library building of any type—to close, be reused for another purpose (as a courthouse annex), then be converted back to library service! Attached is a news article about the reopening of this library.


When I realized I would not return to Pittsburgh before the public comment deadline, I did e-mail my public comments to David Wohlwill on September 29. For your information, my public comments are also attached.


I was in Atlanta for three weeks, where I made extensive use of their public transit system, particularly their rapid rail system. Atlanta’s rapid rail system is extremely well designed, as well as very efficient and effective. It is very well used, all day long, seven days a week! With only a few exceptions, it does serve most major destinations in the city and near-suburbs.


It was obvious to me that billions of dollars were spent on this rail system, and they spared no expense to make it a first-class rapid rail system. They spent the money to do it right!


I was in Atlanta when their base fare increased from $1.75 to $2.00 on October 1. All other fares and passes also increased  in price, although the one-day and two-day visitor passes remain at $8 and $9, respectively.


On the same day, they formally adopted color-coding for their rail lines. The colors remained the same as had been displayed on maps for years, except that what had been the orange line on maps became the Yellow Line. Previously, they simply used cardinal points to name their rail lines [e.g. North-South, East-West}.




PAT Directors                                      2009 October 19                                    Page 2 of 2



My extensive use of the transit system included extensive use of their smart-card system, called the “Breeze” card. I found that their smart-card worked well, provided people knew the proper way to use it. Problems could occur if it was not “tapped” the proper way.


Overall, it was a very informative trip, clearly illustrating how a fast-growing city can design and implement, over the last 30 years, a well-working rapid rail system.


Sincerely yours,




Glenn A. Walsh




Attachments:        American Libraries Magazine article: "Georgia Town Returns to Its Carnegie Library Roots."

                                Official Public Comment: TDP of Glenn A. Walsh


Copy:                     Steve Bland

                                Ken Joseph

                                Jon Wilson Smith

                                John D. Weinhold

                                Jonathan Robison