Apparently, we LOVE our North Shore Connector

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

More than 7.9 billion trips were taken on U.S. public transportation in the first nine months of the year as ridership increased by 2.6 percent over the same period of 2011, according to the American Public Transportation Association. President and CEO Michael Melaniphy issued this statement:

"With seven consecutive quarters of ridership increases, it’s obvious that public demand for public transit is growing. As Congress works to resolve our country’s deficit problem, it also needs to work to resolve the transportation deficit. Otherwise public transit and highway funding will be facing an annual $15 billion shortfall in the next 10 years."

The two-year transportation funding authorization that Congress belatedly passed this year actually cut funding for public transit.

connectorThe big news for Pittsburgh was a 13.5 percent increase in ridership on the Light Rail Transit system, fueled by the debut of the North Shore Connector, evidently now officially minted as a Tunnel to Somewhere. Riders took nearly 700,000 more rail rides than in the first nine months of 2011.

Bus ridership was up 3.4 percent for the period and overall system ridership increased by 4.7 percent, another sign that the local economy is strengthening. APTA says 60 percent of transit rides are people going to or from work.

The full U.S. ridership report is here.

Construction begins Tuesday on the next phase of improvements to the corridor from the Homestead Grays Bridge to the Parkway East. The $2.8 million contract calls for resurfacing and improvements to sidewalks, traffic signals, lighting, drainage and pedestrian crossings on a 1-mile section on Browns Hill Road and Beechwood Boulevard from Imogene Road to Forward Avenue. Traffic impacts in the early stages of work are expected to be minimal. Disruptions could occur during resurfacing next year. The project is scheduled for completion in October.

Southbound lane closures are possible on Route 65 between Camp Horne Road and Beaver Avenue in Emsworth from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting Tuesday and continuing on weekdays through Dec. 21 as crews construct barrier wall, install guide rail and do other work.

Lane restrictions are possible through 4 p.m. today on the Highland Park Bridge during overhead sign inspection.

Tree trimming and tree removal may cause traffic shifts on ramps at the confluence of Saw Mill Run Boulevard and the Parkway West from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays through Dec. 21.

The ramp from the 10th Street Bypass to the outbound Fort Pitt Bridge and Parkway West will be closed until 3 p.m. today and continuously from 4 a.m. Tuesday through 11 p.m. Saturday, with traffic pushed onto Stanwix Street or across the outbound Fort Duquesne Bridge.

A reminder that inbound Route 28 will be closed at the 40th Street Bridge at 8 p.m. today through Thursday, with inbound traffic detoured across the bridge. Traffic on the bridge will not be able to access southbound Route 28; access to northbound Route 28 and Millvale will remain open. Northbound Route 28 will stay open but be subject to traffic stoppages of up to 15 minutes. Crews are continuing demolition of buildings at the Allegheny Auto Body property. Restrictions to be lifted by 5 a.m. daily.

Saxonburg Boulevard is expected to remain closed for slide repairs between Bakerstown-Culmerville and Henry roads in West Deer through Dec. 21.

Inspection of overhead signs may cause lane closures on the Glenwood Bridge and connecting ramps from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday.

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