To: David Wohlwill, Planning Department, Port Authority of Allegheny County
From: Glenn A. Walsh
Subject: Comments: Transit Development Plan
Date: 2009 June 29
1) Restore Light Rail Service to Penn Station – Several million dollars of public money were spent on light rail track, station, and rail yard at Penn Station. Over the years, the track and station has been used minimally. The seven-track rail yard, which cost $2 million, has never been used.
The last use of the light rail station at Penn Station was for the origin of two afternoon light rail runs to the South Hills. This provided South Hills' commuters in the vicinity of Penn Station, Federal Building, Federal Courthouse, Liberty Center, Convention Center, Greyhound Bus Terminal, and the Strip District with easier access to the T in the afternoon rush hours. And, this service was utilized by many commuters. At the very least, this afternoon rush hour service from Penn Station should be restored.
However, in the long-run, an overhead pedestrian walkway, between Penn Station and the Convention Center, with a connection to the Grant Street Transportation Center, should be constructed with State RACP funding, which would allow full restoration of light rail service to Penn Station.
A subway connection to the Convention Center is many, many years in the future—if ever. At the present time light rail connections to Oakland and the Airport have much higher priority than a subway connection to the Convention Center. Hence, an overhead pedestrian walkway between Penn Station and the Convention Center would allow convention attendees to easily and quickly access the T at Penn Station.
2) Reducing Rail and Bus Stops – The primary concern here is to ensure speedier rail and bus service during rush hours. Yet, due to the demographics of our region, additional rail and bus stops are needed for the transit-dependent, particularly senior citizens.
Hence, rail and bus stops should only be reduced during rush hours. This can easily be done by using two specific types of bus stop signs:
a) Red Sign—Clearly stating that this stop is served at all times.
b) Blue Sign—Clearly stating that this stop is not served during rush hours.
3) Late night and early morning runs of major arterial rail and bus routes should not be eliminated. Late night and early morning runs should be converted to feeder lines into other rail or bus runs. Some people still need service during these lightly patronized hours.
The ultimate goal of the Port Authority should be, at the least, hourly service 24-hours per day on certain major arterial rail and bus lines, serving the major sections of the
TDP Comments of Glenn A. Walsh 2009 June 29 Page 2 of 2
County: East End, Mon Valley, South Side and South Hills, West End/Ohio Valley, North Side/North Hills/Allegheny Valley.
4) I support Transit Centers, with pedestrian amenities, which provide a good waiting area for transfer between feeder lines and arterials.
5) Light Rail lines overlap in several areas. Hence, color coding of lines may not be the most customer-friendly way to identify them. You might try identifying them as the Regional Rail lines are identified in Philadelphia (e.g. R1, R2, and R3). Pittsburgh Light Rail lines could be identified T-1, T-2, T-3, etc.
6) So-called “Rapid Bus,” (referred to as EBT “Express Bus Transit” 35 years ago) should not take very limited capital funds away from proposed major Light Rail extensions in the same corridor, such as Oakland. A Light Rail extension to Oakland, although very costly, would provide huge long-term benefits. The benefits of a large capital investment in “Rapid Bus” to Oakland would only be an incremental improvement over the existing bus lanes currently in use in Soho and Oakland.
7) Dead-head rail and bus runs should end, unless the transit vehicle is unsafe for use by the public. Twenty years ago, the PAT Operations Director told ACTC that all vehicles were in service from the time they left the garage to the time they return. This message must be emphasized to all transit operators.
To ensure that dead-head runs are minimized, all service, including runs from the garage to the beginning of a route, and runs from the end of a route to the garage should be specified on public timetables!
Glenn A. Walsh
P.O. Box 1041
Pittsburgh PA 15230-1041
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