Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato's request for federal funding for developing rail links from Downtown to Pittsburgh International Airport, Oakland and several East End neighborhoods is very welcome news ("Onorato Eyes Rail Links to Airport, Oakland," April 29). Mr. Onorato has suggested a rail line to the airport could originate at the end of the Port Authority's North Shore Connector, cross the Ohio River at Brunots Island and proceed through McKees Rocks, Coraopolis and Moon. I encourage Mr. Onorato to explore a route that would follow more closely the Parkway West.
Over the past 20 years, the county has focused on major development projects along the Parkway West from Interstate 79 to the airport. These developments have brought retail outlets, office and industrial parks, and restaurants and hotels. Current employers and attractions in this region include Bayer Corp., Parkway View Industrial Park, Penn Center West, RIDC West, Settlers Cabin Park and Wave Pool, The Mall at Robinson, Robinson Town Centre and coming soon, the new Settlers Ridge development. Additionally, the botanical garden project planned for Settlers Cabin Park is expected to generate jobs and up to 500,000 visitors per year when complete.
A rail link to the airport that follows the Parkway West would be more effective in connecting people from Downtown and the airport with employers, dining, shopping and other entertainment venues in the western suburbs than one that proceeds through McKees Rocks, Coraopolis and Moon.