Peter Javsicas, executive director of Pennsylvanians for Transportation Solutions, said the state’s taxpayers support paying more for improvements to roads, bridges, transit and other transportation modes:
"The evidence is in. The studies are done, the reports are reported and the people have been polled.
"All signs point to wide public acceptance of a bipartisan transportation funding bill - as already approved overwhelmingly by the Pennsylvania Senate. The $2.5 billion Senate bill affirmed the findings of two authoritative Governor’s Commissions under two different governors. Jobs and economic well-being in every district, every rural area, every town and city in the Commonwealth depend on well functioning roads, bridges and transit.
"Now, Pennsylvanians are looking for responsible action from the House of Representatives. House members who truly represent the public would be wise to vote with the public.
"Extensive Franklin and Marshall polling data show consistently that the public is willing to accept as much as $2.50 a week in increased driving expenses."
The full article is here.
According to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, voters nationwide approved 19 of 21 ballot measures related to increased transportation funding on Election Day.
Pennsylvania American Water has completed $18 million in rehabilitation work at its Thorn Run and Lake Oneida dams in Oakland Township, Butler County. The three-year project improved the dams’ spillway capacity to improve safety.
Previous Post-Gazette coverage of the project is here.
Route 28 will have single-lane traffic in both directions in the construction zone between the 40th Street Bridge and East Ohio Street starting at 8 p.m. Monday through Friday during installation of traffic cameras and lighting. Work concludes by 5 a.m. each day except Saturday, when restrictions are possible until 8 a.m. The outbound lane closure will be delayed on Wednesday and Friday to accommodate traffic from Penguins home games.
Bridge repairs will cause lane closures on Interstate 279 between the Veterans Bridge and Fort Duquesne Bridge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
The northbound E-ZPass express lanes on the Mon-Fayette Expressway between Finleyville and Jefferson Hills will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, weather permitting, for maintenance. Drivers will use the “slow” E-ZPass lanes on the right.
Lane closures are possible on Route 65 in the area of the bridge over Fremont Street in Bellevue from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today through Wednesday during inspection.
Northbound Route 65 will have a lane closure near Cross Street in Leetsdale from until 3 p.m. today, and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, during bridge repairs.
Traffic on Butler Street near the Pittsburgh Zoo will be rerouted onto a temporary roadway stretching from One Wild Place to Baker Street starting around 9 a.m. Tuesday. The detour will allow PennDOT to demolish and replace the 99-year-old Heth’s Run Bridge.
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Below is the full text of the Aug. 12 letter from Port Authority acting CEO Ellen McLean to the Federal Transit Administration seeking permission to relax the HOV requirements at the Wabash Tunnel during the West Carson Street closure.
What should have happened: That day, or the next, the FTA should have responded by saying OK, you know what’s best for traffic and for your tunnel. Instead, the agency dawdled, requested more information, then dawdled some more, claiming it needed more information. What it eventually got was not significantly different or more expansive than what Ms. McLean provided in the Aug. 12 letter. What changed is that members of Congress (Sen. Bob Casey and Rep. Mike Doyle) and a newspaper started barking about the long process. Then, and only then, the FTA finally coughed up an answer.
What happened here was that a bureaucracy was more concerned about minding its turf and protecting its prerogatives than serving the public that pays its salaries. Whether the open Wabash will reduce congestion in the work zone remains to be seen, but if it does, motorists can thank their federal government for putting them through nearly three months of needless delays and inconvenience.
Our story about the Wabash waiver for today’s print edition is here.
Ms. Brigid Hynes-Cherin
Region III Administrator
Federal Transit Administration
Re: Wabash Tunnel Request (Federal Project No. PA-03-0227)
Per our telephone discussion late Friday, I am asking, at the request of PennDOT, for FTA’s authorization to temporarily lift the HOV 2+ restriction on the Wabash Tunnel.
Primarily utilizing federal funds, Port Authority rehabilitated and reopened the Wabash Tunnel (which was previously an old railroad tunnel) in December of 2004. The Tunnel’s primary purpose is to provide buses and high occupancy vehicle commuter traffic access from Route 51 to the South Side and Downtown Pittsburgh. Currently, the Tunnel is open to buses and HOV 2+ traffic during morning peak (6 to 10 a.m.) and afternoon peak (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) hours. The Tunnel is open to all traffic during non-peak times, and it is closed entirely overnight from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Recently, PennDOT closed the outbound lanes of West Carson Street from the West End Bridge to McKees Rocks as part of a large PennDOT construction project that is expected to last two years (through late 2015). This closure is causing substantial congestion and delays for motorists traveling to and from Route 51, Mt. Washington, Downtown and the Southside. Port Authority began receiving requests from various political leaders and local organizations to lift the HOV 2+ restriction in the Tunnel to try and ease this congestion. This past Friday, PennDOT formally requested that Port Authority lift the restriction while its project is being completed.
While we frankly feel that PennDOT should have included this request as part of its planning for the roadwork, there is no denying that the West Carson Street closure is causing significant traffic delays and detours for motorists and that lifting the Tunnel HOV 2+ restriction during peak hours would likely resolve some of these issues.
Port Authority Police, Safety Operations, and Legal personnel have evaluated the request, and we believe that the Tunnel can safely be opened to all traffic during peak hours (assuming motorists follow posted speed limits and other signage). From the standpoint of Port Authority’s bus operations/capital dollars, we do not believe that bus operations or bus miles travelled will be adversely affected as few buses utilize the Tunnel on a regular basis and the buses that do already share it with HOV vehicles during peak hours and all private vehicles during non-peak hours. Of course, if lifting the restriction would prove to adversely affect bus operations or cause any other issues for Port Authority from an operational, capital, legal or safety perspective, Port Authority would certainly revisit the lifting of the restriction.
With that being said and because Wabash was funded primarily with federal dollars, Port Authority is requesting FTA’s concurrence to proceed with modifying the operating hours to lift the HOV 2+ peak hours restriction until PennDOT’s West Carson Street work is completed.
I look forward to FTA’s review and response to this request in the near future. Of course, please contact me if you have any remaining questions or require any additional information to render a decision. I thank you for your attention on this matter.
The Ambridge-Aliquippa Bridge will reopen next Thursday evening after a two-season, $16.6 million rehabilitation project. PennDOT had announced a delay last month, but construction workers stepped it up to get the bridge open two days ahead of the advertised schedule.
The Squirrel Hill Tunnels will be open this weekend. Overnight lane closures will be in effect from 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday on the inbound side and 10 p.m. on the outbound side, with all restrictions lifted by 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The Duquesne Incline will close from about 8 a.m. to about 4 p.m. Friday for a state inspection. Shuttle buses will carry riders to the Monongahela Incline. One shuttle will operate between the upper stations of the inclines, the other between the lower stations.
The right lane on inbound Route 28 will be closed from the 40th Street Bridge to East Ohio Street from 8 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday during replacement of a gutter.
Traffic will be stopped on the Parkway East for up to 15 minutes at a time in both directions from midnight Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday between Squirrel Hill and Edgewood-Swissvale during placement of an overhead sign.
Thompson Run Road in Monroeville will reopen this afternoon. The road has been closed by a landslide between Lower Rodi Road and Northern Pike since late July. It was expected to reopen at 1 p.m.
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Congratulations, Pittsburgh, you have a new mayor!
Congratulations, Bill Peduto, it's you!
The Pittsburgh twittersphere has been such a buzzy place since yesterday because of it. Albeit the outcome was not at all surprising, it felt like Pittsburghers' ideas and hopes that have been in hiding during the Ravenstahl administration, got suddenly unleashed.
Bill Peduto's supporters went like this:
And said things like this:
Congrats to @billpeduto on his victory! Keep Pittsburgh movin' and groovin' in the right direction.— Vinnie Richichi (@nyvinnie) November 6, 2013
And some were looking at their laptops and went like this:
And some others took it to a whole new level and welcomed him to the mayor's seat at his door, quite literally:
What I returned to last night, errr... early this morning :) pic.twitter.com/nT5LAO1Us1— bill peduto (@billpeduto) November 6, 2013
There were a lot of congratulatory tweets sent to @billpeduto last night, but Pittsburghers were not limiting themselves to pleasantries. Messages like, "Congrats! Now get to work! And I have lots of ideas where you should start!" were aplenty.
Here are some of them:
Hope @BillPeduto appoints cabinet that looks like Pittsburgh - 50%+ women.— Jeanne Clark (@JeanneKCC) November 6, 2013
I hope the search for a DPW director gets at least a decent percentage of the effort spent on Police Chief. @billpeduto— ilikesleep (@ilikesleep) November 6, 2013
@billpeduto congrats Mayor Peduto. I hope you can bring our fair city out of the dark, financial ruin and corruption its found itself in.— Medina Menozzi (@Medina_Menozzi) November 6, 2013
They were those who reminded him of his promises made:
Mayor-elect @billpeduto wins 100% of South Oakland vote after promising to repave uneven death-trap sidewalks on Atwood.— Souf Oaklin fo' Life (@Souf_Oaklin) November 6, 2013
Some cautionary notes
And then there were suggestions for some specific and immediate change...
@billpeduto you better change your twitter bio to "Mayor-Elect of Pittsburgh" now!— *Scott Friedman (@ScottRFriedman) November 6, 2013
Also it looks like the Peduto magic has already started working, as noted by our own Heather Schmelzlen:
High of 68 today in Pittsburgh. I can only assume @billpeduto has an in with Mother Nature.— Heather Schmelzlen (@anchorlines) November 6, 2013
As for the future, Bill Peduto, please just make Pittsburgh even more awesome than it is...
...just like that, k? Thx.