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Hail to the Washington Gridlockers

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

There’s continuing controversy in our nation’s capital over the nickname of the city’s professional football team. And some writers have publicly announced that they won’t use it in their coverage anymore. Astute football follower Gregg Easterbrook, whose Tuesday Morning Quarterback column on ESPN.com should be a must-read for fans, calls the team the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons. My suggestion: call them the Washington Gridlockers, in tribute to Congress. There’s plenty of precedent for naming Washington teams after civic institutions — the old Senators and the soccer Diplomats come to mind — and since football is played on the gridiron, there’s added relevance. Fans will root for the Gridlockers defense to induce gridlock on the field! The only possible drawback would be if Congress one day became efficient and responsive. Yeah, right.

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The 28th annual Columbus Day parade will be held in Bloomfield on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The route is on Liberty Avenue from Baum Boulevard to the Bloomfield Bridge. Street closures will start at 9:30 and the full parade route will close by 10:45 a.m. The Bloomfield Bridge will remain open throughout.

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From the Post-Gazette’s ace city hall reporter, Moriah Balingit:

Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval to a bill to advance plans for Pittsburgh Bike Share, but amended the legislation to give council members the ability to approve future location of bike stations.

The bill, which amends a public works ordinance to define a bike station and would have allowed the city to enter a maintenance and operations agreement with the nonprofit Pittsburgh Bike Share, is essential for the project to move forward.

Councilwomen Theresa Kail-Smith and Natalia Rudiak, who represent communities in South Pittsburgh, the West End and Mt. Washington, both abstained. They protested that the project cut their districts out as none of the 50 proposed bike stations were in their district.

The station locations were determined in part by a consultant, who studied a variety of factors -- including the existence of bike lanes -- in deciding where the highest demand for bike share would be.

But Ms. Rudiak argued that her district should not continue to be punished because it lacks amenities. She pointed out that the East End, where demand was projected to be highest, has received millions in investment for bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

The East End “is where demand has been created by public investment,” she said. “What we’re doing is actually doubling down on the millions of dollars of investment in these neighborhoods.”

Stephen Patchan, the bike-pedestrian coordinator for the city, said last week that the system was designed so that it could become financially self-sufficient after an initial investment from a federal grant and foundation dollars, which is why it was important to focus bike stations in places where demand was projected to be high.

Five council members voted for the bill. Ms. Rudiak, Ms. Kail-Smith and Council President Darlene Harris abstained from the vote.

The bill is up for final approval next Tuesday.

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menatworkPaving on Route 65 will have traffic in an alternating one-way pattern tonight. The restriction will begin at 8 p.m. both days and conclude by 6 a.m. between Elizabeth Avenue in Avalon and the McKees Rocks Bridge. Flaggers and police officers will direct traffic.

The Squirrel Hill Tunnels will be open this weekend, with the usual overnight lane restrictions.

The Freedom Road bridge over the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Cranberry will have single-lane traffic from 9 p.m. Friday to 10 a.m. Saturday during painting and repairs.

 

The pedestrian bridge at East Liberty Station on the East Busway is closed because of construction. Pedestrians are being redirected via sidewalks.

 

Demolition of what’s left of the old Masontown Bridge will cause closure of Route 21 at the bridge area from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday.

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