As discussions among political leaders and transportation experts about bringing Bus Rapid Transit to Pittsburgh focus on the Oakland to Downtown corridor, Eric Jaffe writes on the topic in The Atlantic Cities, the source of the above chart.
In “The Importance of Running True BRT Through Downtown,” he quotes Annie Weinstock, a U.S. regional director for Institute for Transportation and Development Policy [ITDP], who cites Pittsburgh’s East Busway in comparison to Cleveland’s HealthLine.
Ms. Weinstock said getting cities to commit the space is the biggest challenge.
“People like to say there’s no space,” she said in the article. “It’s more that there’s not the political will to take the space that exists.”
Mr. Jaffe writes:
“Take the East Busway, a dedicated BRT highway in metro Pittsburgh. The busway has done loads of good for the city: it’s stimulated hundreds of millions of dollars in development and contributed to the 38 percent of city commuters who reach downtown by bus. ITDP recently gave it a bronze BRT rating.
“But the East Busway loses a lot of its impact when it enters mixed traffic downtown. Bus traffic is so bad within the city center, with riders crowding sidewalks, that businesses have urged local officials to eliminate buses from entering the downtown area at all.
"Weinstock says the problem could be avoided by running true BRT downtown, because the buses would be organized in an attractive and efficient way."
“Contrast that with the HealthLine in Cleveland, rated silver by ITDP and among the models for American cities. That BRT route, which goes right through downtown, helped the city leverage a $50 million transit investment into nearly $6 billion in new transit-oriented development, according to a recent ITDP report. For several types of transit, including light rail as well as BRT, ITDP has found that systems running downtown do a much better job producing an economic benefit.”
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