No one likes to lose their transit stop. But some of the commentary about the Port Authority’s elimination of 13 stops on the T borders on hysteria. At a meeting in Castle Shannon on Monday, critics said the closing of the Martin Villa and Smith Road stops would pose a danger to riders. “Someone’s going to get hit,” one resident said.
The short walk from Martin Villa or Smith Road to the stop at St. Anne’s is along a quiet residential street in a school zone. Are we to believe Pittsburgh pedestrians are so inept that they are going to wander into traffic and get mowed down on a residential street?
Yes, the stop closures will impose hardships on some riders who have difficulty walking. Their complaints are valid. Able-bodied people who are being forced to walk an additional 2 to 5 minutes to reach a stop should calm down. And those who argue that elimination of their stop will only save a minute or so in travel times need to remember to multiply that by 13.
Even a five-minute reduction in trip times would be 10 minutes saved per day, 50 minutes per week and 40 hours over a typical work year — the equivalent of an extra week off. Of course, the Port Authority needs to pursue other ways to speed T service, and Monday’s news that it will consider an off-board honor fare system to eliminate paying on the vehicles is another step in the right direction.
By the way, we're now at 83 days until our transit system is cut by more than one-third if state lawmakers and Gov. Tom Corbett don't take action.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, a trucking group, is hailing a Canadian court ruling that speed governors on trucks are unconstitutional. The ruling came in a challenge of a law that requires newer trucks to have limiters that prevent them from going faster than 65 mph. Opponents said non-truck traffic often goes faster than that, and limiting trucks to 65 would create a dangerous speed differential.
One paragraph of the news release caught my eye:
“Other testimony presented also included research showing that uniform speeds are safer than when vehicles travel at different speeds. A forced speed differential, therefore, creates increased danger of collisions.”
Because truckers never, ever want different speeds. That’s why you’ll never, ever see a truck lumbering up a hill on the interstate at 45 mph, then descending at 75 mph to make up for lost time. Never, ever happens. Would be dangerous.
Meanwhile, USA Today reports that the independent truckers' group also is opposing a requirement that trucks be equipped with "black box" recorders similar to those on aircraft to ensure that truckers don't exceed federal work hours limits.
A Route 28 closure planned for Monday night has been moved to tonight (Tuesday). The inbound side will close at 8 p.m., with traffic diverted to the 40th Street Bridge. One lane will stay open outbound but traffic might be stopped at times for up to 15 minutes. The work wraps by 5 a.m. Wednesday.
PennDOT will start work on a $5 million project to improve Route 148 aka Lysle Boulevard and Fifth Avenue in McKeesport on Monday. The 1.7-mile construction zone is between Hartman Street and River Road and includes the Jerome Street Bridge over the Youghiogheny River, which will be repaired. Traffic on the four-lane section of Route 148 between Walnut Street and River Road will be restricted to a single lane in both directions beginning at 7 a.m. on Monday through late November; short-term lane closures will occur during nonpeak periods on Route 148 between the Duquesne-McKeesport Bridge and Hartman Street; and intermittent traffic stoppages of 10 minutes or less will occur as needed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. throughout the project area.
Inspection of overhead signs will cause lane closures from 6 a.m. to noon Saturday on the outbound Parkway West between Route 22 (Exit 60) and Montour Run (Exit 58) and inbound in the same area from 6 a.m. to noon Sunday.
More about road work is in previous posts.
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