Proposed Commuter Rail Service:
Oakland and Nearby Pittsburgh Neighborhoods

By Glenn A. Walsh
2009 January 7

On 2008 December 29, Pittsburgh City Councilman William Peduto proposed establishing single-unit diesel car railroad passenger service between the Oakland Civic Center section of the City of Pittsburgh and the city neighborhoods of Hazelwood and Lawrenceville. This is considered one way to accomodate university and medical center growth beyond Oakland.

Long-time public transit advocate Glenn A. Walsh proposed a similar commuter rail service through Oakland to Penn Station in Downtown Pittsburgh in 1979, at a public hearing in McKeesport regarding the Port Authority Transit's Monongahela Valley Commuter Rail Service, better known then as the PATrain. The idea was to increase ridership to the PATrain service.

The PATrain then ran (with eight round-trips on weekdays and five round-trips on Saturday; no service on Sunday or holidays) from Versailles and McKeesport with stops in Braddock and Hazelwood, to a terminus at the now-demolished B&O Commuter Rail Station at Grant Street and First Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh. The grander B&O Railroad station, on the Downtown side of the Smithfield Street Bridge, had been demolished a couple decades earlier for construction of the Penn-Lincoln Parkway East Expressway (Interstate 376/U.S. 22/U.S. 30).

It was Mr. Walsh's contention that the PATrain could increase ridership by being rerouted through Oakland to a terminus at the Pennsylvania Railroad Station in Downtown Pittsburgh. This would provide Mon Valley commuters with better access to the Downtown Pittsburgh office district (PAT had employed a shuttle bus, from the B&O Commuter Station to transport PATrain riders to other points in Downtown). It also would have allowed for the erection of a new commuter rail station in Oakland, which would have attracted Mon Valley commuters who work in Oakland. The Oakland station would also have been a fast way to travel between Downtown and Oakland.

Bills to Fund "Traffic Study - Inner City Transit Options"
Bill 2008-1015 *** More information
Bill 2008-1016 *** More information

History of Pittsburgh Commuter Rail Service:
Monongahela Valley Commuter Rail Service - The PATrain

Walsh, Glenn. "Commuter Rail Service Through Oakland to Downtown." Address.
Pittsburgh City Council Meeting 2009 Jan. 7.

"Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances." Editorial.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 2009 Jan. 2.
Tribune-Review support of Bill Peduto's call for a study of possible rail commuter service in Oakland, Hazelwood, and Lawrenceville.

Lord, Rich. "Peduto wants city to study possible service to Hazelwood, Oakland and Lawrenceville."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2008 Dec. 29.

gaw - 2009 Jan. 7

Proposed Commuter Rail Service:
Oakland and Nearby Pittsburgh Neighborhoods

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