Allegheny County Transit Council



            As stated in Section 1.3 of the Environmental Report, the revisions to the project were necessary to “allow it to be completed within the $393 million budget, and … satisfy the need for a rapid transit link between the Golden Triangle and the North Shore.”  The revisions consisted primarily of “deferring design and construction” of a spur to the Pittsburgh Convention Center.


            The Allegheny County Transit Council (ACTC), the official citizen advisory body to the Port Authority, is in general support of the Port Authority’s Environmental Report.  In responding to the Environmental Report we support the Port Authority’s evident intent to proceed without delay to “satisfy the need for a rapid transit link between the Golden Triangle and the North Shore.”  The Port Authority proposal is substantially what ACTC suggested when the cost problems emerged.

            There are three areas where the Environmental Report and the project plans could be strengthened.

1.         There should be study of and contingency planning for a walkway to the Pittsburgh Convention Center.  The walkway could originate at the existing terminus of both the Martin Luther King busway and the light rail to the South Hills.  It would also serve the Pittsburgh Amtrak station and could connect with the new Greyhound intercity bus terminal, now being planned and constructed.

            Such a walkway would diminish the hazard as well as congestion and delay from the dangerous pedestrian crossings from the Convention Center to Penn Avenue, Liberty Avenue, and Grant Street.

            The project design study should consider the possibility of a grade-separated walkway traversing the hazardous intersection.  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

2.         The Environmental Report in Section 1.3, Para 5, “As funding becomes available, the deferred elements of the North Shore Connector can be implemented.” (emphasis added.) We suggest that the need for a spur to the Convention Center, and possible design and construction, should be considered only in the context of possible extension of light rail.

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.

Respectfully Submitted,  Jonathan B. Robison   412-683-0237

Passed by the ACTC, as amended, Jan. 18, 2006.