Heaven knows that Amtrak has had its share of problems over the years but one of its success stories is the service between Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Millions of dollars of investment, much of it from the commonwealth, improved travel times, leading to surging ridership and more frequent service.
(By contrast, Amtrak operates one daily train from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg, moving at Pony Express speeds. Well, maybe not even that fast.)
Now all of that service is in jeopardy, The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Paul Nussbaum reports, because of a law passed in 2008 requiring Amtrak to stop contributing to the cost of operating it. Currently, Amtrak subsidizes the Philadelphia trains by $8 million per year and the Pittsburgh service by $7 million. It must end those subsidies by Oct. 1, 2013.
Read the full Inquirer report here.
I’m always watching traffic, and I’m seeing an increase in red-light running by Downtown motorists. Usually it’s a car or truck moving through an intersection two, three, sometimes up to five seconds after a green light has changed to red. On Monday I saw a car egregiously run a red light while passing a Pittsburgh police cruiser. The officer did not react, possibly busy with some other assignment.
The hazards of this conduct are obvious. Pedestrians (those who aren’t jaywalking) will often enter a crosswalk immediately when the light changes. For now, an extra measure of caution is a good first step. Pittsburgh now has authorization to use red-light enforcement cameras and that might be what it takes to curb this reckless behavior.
A few more road work items to toss on the pile (please go on to previous posts for more -- I typically don’t repeat an item once I’ve blogged it):
Motorists driving north on Interstate 79 are likely to encounter delays from lane closures in both directions in Jackson, Muddycreek and Lancaster in Butler County during bridge preservation work for the next month, PennDOT advises.
The outbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel will be down to one lane for cleaning and maintenance starting at 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Work concludes by 5:30 a.m. daily.
From the Port Authority, the Mount Washington Transit Tunnel will be closed to buses from 10 p.m. Tuesday until 5 a.m. Wednesday due to rail work. Five Port Authority bus routes will detour with minor stop changes. Rail service will be single-tracked and riders going both ways will have to use the outbound platforms at Station Square and South Hills Junction. Minor delays are possible.
Rail grinding scheduled for this week on the former Allentown line has been postponed until further notice. Work to rehabilitate Warrington Avenue and its sidewalks, continues into November.
Short-term lane closures are possible on Freeport Road and Hulton Road in the area of the Hulton Bridge in Harmar and Oakmont from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, weather permitting, as crews take test borings as part of the design work for a new Hulton Bridge. It'll look something like this, and open late 2015 or early 2016:
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