Back in the saddle after three weeks of vacation … traveling through Maryland, I couldn’t help but notice the contrast in that relatively progressive transportation state with behind-the-times Pennsylvania. Maryland, like most northeastern states, prohibits hand-held cell phone use, while the Keystone State continues to drag its feet on that safety improvement. Maryland highway work zones have speed enforcement cameras, and drivers slow down to the posted speed limits lest they get nabbed, while in Pennsylvania, the only thing that slows traffic in construction areas is traffic congestion. And many two-lane arterials in Maryland are posted with headlights-required signs, another safety improvement that Pennsylvania would be wise to adopt. But don’t hold your breath — just providing adequate transportation funding has been too heavy a lift for our bloated, ineffective state leadership.
Last month we wrote about how new audible pedestrian signals at Stanwix Street and the Boulevard of the Allies were mispronouncing the name of the street as “Stanwyck.” No more. The Pittsburgh public works department has corrected the diction of the recorded messages.
Commuting home Sunday as the Pirates game ended, I once again was struck by the vast improvement in post-event service on the T. The Port Authority adds two-car trains and extra trips and opens all doors on crowded trains to discharge passengers without waiting for them to pay fares, all of which makes for a far more convenient ride after the game. In the past, the authority used its financial problems to excuse itself from adding service after big events, making the T a rather miserable experience for riders. County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is the driving force behind the new customer-friendly approach. Sure the authority loses a bit of change by not collecting fares, but the amounts are negligible and the improved service makes it more attractive, which is likely to boost overall ridership in the long term.
Route 28 commuters will have two open lanes outbound in Monday’s evening rush for the first time since August 2010. No doubt champagne will flow in the Alle-Kiski Valley tonight. But there’s still one more phase of construction, and the one-lane pattern will return for another year after a few months.
Construction continues on Route 837 in West Elizabeth, with around-the-clock lane closures and detours that started this morning and will continue through Oct. 15. At the risk of confusing the dickens out of you, here is part of the PennDOT communique:
The northbound closure will occur between the Route 837 on-ramp to southbound Route 51 and the Route 51 off-ramp to northbound Route 837. The southbound closure will occur between the Route 837 on-ramp to northbound Route 51 and the Route 51 off-ramp to southbound Route 837. Traffic will be detoured. Signs will guide motorists.
Posted detour, northbound Route 837
From northbound Route 837, take the Route 51 southbound on-ramp; stay in the left hand lane and follow Route 51 approximately 500 feet; directly exit onto the Route 837 off-ramp (left hand lane off-ramp) towards Clairton.
Southbound Route 837
From southbound Route 837, take Route 51 northbound on-ramp; stay in the left hand land and follow Route 51 approximately 500 feet; directly exit onto the Route 837 off-ramp (left hand lane off-ramp) towards West Elizabeth.
Crack and joint sealing operations will occur Monday and Tuesday on Thorn Run Road in Moon, from Fourth Avenue to Thorn Run Road Extension. Slow moving, short-term lane closures will occur in various locations on Thorn Run Road from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
The right shoulder will be closed on the outbound Parkway East from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily between the Squirrel Hill Tunnel and Edgewood-Swissvale during work on the overheight truck detection system and lighting, through Sept. 29.
Bridge repairs on Allegheny River Boulevard in Oakmont and Verona began Friday and will close lanes in both directions through Oct. 18 between Seldon Avenue and College Avenue.
Traffic signal work was to begin today on Penn Avenue from North Braddock Avenue to Linden Avenue in Pittsburgh’s East End, and will cause short-term lane closures at times from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays through late December.
Inbound Route 51-West Carson Street no longer has access to the Corliss Tunnel. Starting last week, the right turn was blocked there for reconstruction of a manhole, through Oct. 4. Traffic is pushed to Steuben Street and Chartiers Avenue. Outbound West Carson remains closed around-the-clock during a two-year construction project.
Allegheny County has ordered emergency closure of Homestead-Duquesne Road in Munhall because of instability of a slope that collapsed an inlet and roadway shoulder between Franklin Street and Duquesne Avenue. Construction of a retaining wall is expected to take until early December. Traffic is on a two-mile detour from the intersection of Main Street and Farragut Street, to south on Main Street and left on Brierly Lane to get back to Homestead-Duquesne Road. Traffic going the other way uses the same roads in the opposite direction.
The Pittsburgh paving schedule for the week will close streets in Brookline, East Hills, Hazelwood, New Homestead and Shadyside, as follows, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.:
South Highland Avenue from Walnut Street to Houston Street
Elwood Street from College Avenue to South Highland Avenue
Ellsworth Avenue from Spahr Street to College Avenue
Amberson Street from Ellsworth Avenue to Fifth Avenue
Gertrude Street from Johnston Avenue to Flowers Avenue
Mooney Road from Mifflin Road to Beechland Street
Castlegate Avenue from Viaduct Way to Brookline Boulevard
Holcomb Avenue from Beltram Avenue to Rockford Avenue
Sunrise Avenue from Sonny Street to Robinson Boulevard
Wilner Drive from East Hills Drive to Robinson Boulevard
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