Thursday, October 4, 2018

Restore Pittsburgh Brown Line Rail Service !

          
Image of a Brown Line Train on the "fly-over" bridge between Downtown Pittsburgh and the South Side. The fly-over bridge connects the Brown Line to the Main Light Rail Line on the Panhandle Bridge (a former Pennsylvania Railroad bridge, shown in the foreground), which crosses the Monongahela River. The last heavy-rail, passenger train to use the Panhandle Bridge was Amtrak's version of the National Limited between New York City / Washington DC and Kansas City, from 1971 to 1979. (Image Source: snipview.com)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for TransportWatchtower

On Sunday Afternoon, August 5, seven freight cars from a Norfolk Southern train bound for Chicago derailed near the Station Square section of Pittsburgh's South Side. Seven of these Norfolk Southern rail cars, including 42 storage containers, toppled from the Pittsburgh South Side rail “shelf”; a few fell onto the Port Authority of Allegheny County's (PAT) Light Rail Transit right-of-way, including the eastern portion of the Light Rail station at Station Square.

For several weeks, as the rail station, tracks, and over-head electrical wires at Station Square were unusable, Red and Blue Line trains were diverted to Brown Line tracks traveling over Mount Washington through the Allentown – Hilltop neighborhood. Regular rail service on the Brown Line had been suspended after the last trip on 2011 March 27, due to a 15 percent PAT general service reduction.

The temporary diversion of Red and Blue Line trains over the Brown Line resulted in about a ten-minute delay in rail service. To avoid further delay, train operators were instructed not to make any stops along Arlington or Warrington Avenues. Consequently, residents and business owners, remembering the greater rail service the neighborhood enjoyed prior to 2011, started demonstrating for return of regular Brown Line rail service.

On September 28, long-time public transit advocate Glenn A. Walsh spoke before the regular monthly meeting of the Board of Directors of the Port Authority of Allegheny County, seeking the reinstatement of Brown Line rail service in 2019. The following is the September 28 public statement of Mr. Walsh:

Statement before                  Glenn A. Walsh
Board of Directors,           P.O. Box 1041
Port Authority of                 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.
Allegheny County:       Telephone: 412-561-7876
Restore Brown Line     Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
     Rail Service !            Internet Web Site: 
                                                           < http://www.planetarium.cc >
                                                                   Space Blog:     
                                                           http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
           Friday, 2018 September 28
  
Good morning. I am Glenn Walsh, 633 Royce Avenue, Mt. Lebanon, a regular Light Rail and bus rider who has chosen not to drive a motor vehicle since 1985, to help save energy, protect the environment, and reduce city traffic congestion. I have been an active transit advocate for 40 years, including 3 terms on the Allegheny County Transit Council as a Charter Member. My comments today are my own and do not reflect those of any organization.

Last month, the railroad accident at Station Square resulted in Light Rail use of Brown Line tracks, without any stops along Warrington or Arlington Avenues. Residents and business owners in the Allentown-Hilltop neighborhood are now, logically, calling for restoration of Brown Line Rail Service.

Recent newspaper reports indicate, according to PAT sources, that restoration of Brown Line Rail Service would cost $1.3 million. I wonder if there is proper accounting here.

Does this $1.3 million figure include maintaining the tracks and over-head wires, and if so, why? We all know PAT will maintain these tracks and over-head wires regardless! The cost of maintaining these tracks and over-head wires should NOT be charged against restoration of Brown Line Rail Service.

Brown Line headways should be evaluated as if adding headways to the Red or Blue Lines---but, due to a much shorter distance, the cost would be much lower!

And, since the Brown Line would now serve the North Side, in addition to Downtown, it would likely attract even more riders!

Brown Line Rail Service should be restored in 2019.

Thank you.
                                                                                                                         gaw

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Brown Line Rail Service:
Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_Line_(Pittsburgh)

News Articles Regarding Diversion of Red & Blue Rail Lines to Brown Line Tracks, due to Station Square Rail Accident:
Link >>> http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit/pat/#brownline2018

Source: Glenn A. Walsh, 40- year public transit advocate and a Charter Member of the Port
             Authority of Allegheny County's citizens advisory committee (member of Allegheny
             County Transit Council: 1984 to 1989).
             Thursday, 2018 October 4.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, TransportWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Sunday, April 15, 2018

New PAT CEO Promises No Cuts in Mon Valley Bus Service

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for TransportWatchtower

New Port Authority Transit of Allegheny County (PAT - Pittsburgh's public tranist agency) Chief Executive Officer Katherine Eagan Kelleman presented a revised plan for the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project to a meeting of Monongahela Valley transit riders on Thursday Evening, April 12 at the Rankin Christian Center. The “Frequency Preservation Plan” keeps Mon Valley bus service intact, while saving $7 million per year by minimizing “bus-bunching” in the Downtown – Oakland corridor.

Internet link to PAT's Frequency Preservation Plan is located near the end of this blog-post.

This revised plan comes almost a year after the original BRT plan included cutting nearly half of the existing Mon Valley bus service. The Mon Valley bus route service cuts would be the greatest cuts in public transit service in the Mon Valley since 1989 April 28, when PAT eliminated Monongahela Valley Commuter Rail / “PATrain” service.

Operated by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, mostly on track owned by the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, PAT funded the heavy-rail commuter service, which served Hazelwood (neighborhood in the City of Pittsburgh), Braddock, McKeesport, Port Vue and Liberty, and Versailles. PATrain service was replaced by express bus service, but still did not match the speed of the PATrain.

Mon Valley residents and other public transit advocates immediately started protesting the original plan for the proposed BRT project. The pro lotests culminated in a January 26 street protest outside of the Wood Street Subway Station, just ahead of the first PAT Board of Trustees meeting attended by the new PAT CEO, Ms. Kelleman. And, at the January 26 Board meeting, of the 28 scheduled public speakers, only 7 were not specifically identified as commenting on the proposed BRT project.

One of the January 26 speakers was Glenn A. Walsh, a long-time public transit advocate, who emphasized, “Rapid Transit implies greater efficiency, which means PAT should be able to afford more bus service, not less!” The following is the transcript of Mr. Walsh's comments:

Statement before             Glenn A. Walsh
Board of Directors,         P.O. Box 1041
Port Authority of             Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.
Allegheny County:         Telephone: 412-561-7876
Maintain Mon Valley     Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
       Bus Service !             Internet Web Site: < http://www.planetarium.cc >
                                               Space Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
                                                         2018 January 26
  
Good morning. I am Glenn Walsh, 633 Royce Avenue, Mt. Lebanon, a regular Light Rail and bus rider who has chosen not to drive a motor vehicle since 1985, to help save energy, protect the environment, and reduce city traffic congestion. I have been an active transit advocate for 40 years, including 3 terms on the Allegheny County Transit Council as a Charter Member. My comments today are my own and do not reflect those of any organization.

First, I want to welcome Katharine Eagan Kelleman to Pittsburgh and the Port Authority. Ms. Kelleman, you certainly have your work cut-out for you!

I address you today in complete disbelief that the Port Authority would even consider cutting Mon Valley bus service in half, to implement a so-called Bus Rapid Transit project. Rapid Transit implies greater efficiency, which means PAT should be able to afford more bus service, not less!

Terminating Mon Valley bus service in Oakland means these buses will not have to waste time traveling the most congested part of the city: Oakland to Downtown and back to Oakland. Hence, these buses can turn around and provide additional bus service in the Mon Valley!

If PAT cannot afford to, at least, maintain the same level of bus service in the Mon Valley, then this so-called BRT project should be canceled!

Thank you.

gaw

Internet Links to Additional Information ---


“Frequency Preservation Plan” - “Bus Rapid Transit Project – Downtown, Uptown, Oakland, East End – BRT Service Infrastructure Updates, Spring 2018”
Link >>> http://portauthority.org/paac/portals/0/brt/webppt.pdf

Krauss, Margaret J. "Starting from Scratch: BRT Proposal Quells Fears About Service."
WESA-FM 90.5, Pittsburgh 2018 April 13.
Link >>> http://wesa.fm/post/starting-scratch-new-brt-proposal-quells-fears-about-service#stream/0

Clift, Theresa. "Mon Valley bus riders cheer Port Authority decision not to cut routes when BRT is built."
TribLive.com: Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh 2018 April 13.
Link >>> http://triblive.com/local/allegheny/13529291-74/mon-valley-bus-riders-cheer-port-authority-decision-not-to-cut-any

Gough, Paul J. "Cover story: New Port Authority CEO taking a community approach."
Pittsburgh Business Times 2018 April 12.
Link >>> https://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/news/2018/04/12/cover-storynew-port-authority-ceo-taking-a.html

Clift, Theresa. "New Port Authority CEO open to tweaking Bus Rapid Transit plans for Mon Valley riders."
TribLive.com: Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh 2018 Jan. 26.
Among the public speakers urging the authority to keep the nonstop service were Debra Green, a blind woman who moved to Swissvale because of its bus access to Downtown; Glenn Walsh, who stopped driving in 1985 because of environmental concerns; and Jim Bonner, a Port Authority bus driver on the 61C route.
Link >>> http://triblive.com/local/allegheny/13224799-74/new-port-authority-ceo-open-to-tweaking-bus-rapid-transit-plans-for

Walsh, Glenn A. "Monongahela Valley Commuter Rail Service - The PATrain"
History of Pittsburgh Commuter Rail Service 2009 Jan. 7.
Link >>> http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit/pat/patrain/history.html

Related Blog Posts ---

"Pittsburgh BRT: Testimony Before PAT Board Regarding Need for Public Hearing on Proposed Project."

2017 May 5.

Link >>> http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/05/pittsburgh-brt-testimony-before-pat.html

 

"Pittsburgh BRT: Flawed Public Process of Proposed Public Transit Project."

2017 April 9.

Link >>> http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/04/flawed-public-process-of-proposed.html


Source: Glenn A. Walsh, 40- year public transit advocate and a Charter Member of the Port
             Authority of Allegheny County's citizens advisory committee (member of Allegheny
             County Transit Council: 1984 to 1989).
             2018 April 15

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, TransportWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Friday, May 5, 2017

Pittsburgh BRT: Testimony Before PAT Board Regarding Need for Public Hearing on Proposed Project

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for TransportWatchtower

The Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT), Pittsburgh's public transit agency, has proposed to build, what is termed, a “Bus Rapid Transit” project between Downtown Pittsburgh and the Oakland Civic Center section of the city, home to three universities, a major medical center, and several museums and cultural institutions including the Main Branch of The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

According to the plan, large electric-powered buses would run on dedicated bus lanes on Fifth and / or Forbes Avenues. Buses, from the East End and Monongahela Valley currently running on these two streets (including an east-bound bus lane on half of this route), would terminate in Oakland, and people bound for Downtown would then transfer buses for the rest of the trip.

PAT and the City of Pittsburgh sponsored a public meeting in Alumni Hall, on the University of Pittsburgh campus in Oakland, regarding this proposed project on April 5. After the presentation, the public was not able to speak to the assembly, or even ask questions, except at break-out stations. However, the PAT and / or city staff at these break-out stations were only interested in hearing a person's preferred routing option, of four options offered.

Long-time public transit advocate, Glenn A. Walsh, addressed the problems of this public participation process in a public statement before the PAT Board of Directors on April 28. In his testimony, he asked the PAT Board to sponsor a general public hearing, where the public could express their views on the proposal to build a BRT project in this very heavily traveled corridor.

The following is the prepared statement of Glenn A. Walsh, delivered before the PAT Board on April 28:

Statement before                  Glenn A. Walsh
Board of Directors,           P.O. Box 1041
Port Authority of                 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.
Allegheny County:       Telephone: 412-561-7876
BRT Public Hearing    Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Needed !                        Internet Web Site: < http://www.planetarium.cc >
                                                      Space Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
                                                      2017 April 28
  
Good morning. I am Glenn A. Walsh, 633 Royce Avenue, Mt. Lebanon, a regular Light Rail and bus rider who has chosen not to drive a motor vehicle since 1985, to help save energy, protect the environment, and reduce city traffic congestion. I have been an active transit advocate for nearly 40 years, including 3 terms on the Allegheny County Transit Council as a Charter Member. My comments today are my own and do not reflect those of any organization.

The public participation process, for the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project between Downtown and Oakland, thus far is flawed. At the April 5 public meeting in Oakland, several people wanted to respond to the presentation, before the assembly. One city resident had even prepared a written statement to be delivered at the meeting, with photocopies of the statement for PAT and city officials as well as interested members of the public. Neither he, nor anyone else, was able to speak before this assembly.

The meeting format only allowed public comments at break-out stations, where the staff was only interested in a person’s preferred routing of four options offered. These break-out stations were simply set-up to diffuse opposition to the proposed project.

Before you ask the public which routing they prefer, the public has the right to weigh-in on whether BRT is the project they prefer. Apparently, the staff considered the no-build option and dismissed it out-of-hand. Does not the public have the right to consider the no-build option, before the commitment of, at least, $240 million public dollars? Further, some people may believe that another transit mode could better integrate the Downtown – Oakland Line with the Authority’s current rapid transit system. Should not these people have the opportunity to express their views on this very important public decision?

Before the BRT public process goes any further, I, respectfully, ask that this Board of Directors sponsor a general public hearing on this proposed public transit project.

Thank you.

gaw

Internet Link to Additional Information ----

Agenda, Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors of the Port Authority of Allegheny County, 2017 April 28: Link >>> http://www.portauthority.org/paac/Portals/0/Board/2017/AprilBoardAgenda.pdf

Related Blog Post ---

"Pittsburgh BRT: Flawed Public Process of Proposed Public Transit Project." 2017 April 9.
Includes Internet link to Letter-to-the-Editor in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Link >>> http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/04/flawed-public-process-of-proposed.html


     Safe Public Viewing of the Great American Solar Eclipse
                         Monday, August 21, 2017
     Mt. Lebanon Public Library, South Suburban Pittsburgh
More Info: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/archivenews/releases/poster-flyer/2017SolarEclipse-Flyer.htm


Source: Glenn A. Walsh, 39- year public transit advocate and a Charter Member of the Port
             Authority of Allegheny County's citizens advisory committee (member of Allegheny
             County Transit Council: 1984 to 1989).
             2017 May 5

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, TransportWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pittsburgh BRT: Flawed Public Process of Proposed Public Transit Project

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for TransportWatchtower

On Wednesday Afternoon, 2017 April 5 at Alumni Hall on the University of Pittsburgh campus in Oakland, the Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT) and the City of Pittsburgh sponsored two sessions of a public meeting, explaining the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project between Downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland. After showing a Power-Point presentation about the proposed project, attendees were asked to go to several break-out stations to express their preference for one of four routing options offered.

There was no opportunity for the public to make general comments on the proposed project before the entire assembly, as would occur during a normal public hearing. Several people had wanted to speak to the assembly in response to the presentation, but the County Executive who moderated the meeting insisted they go to the break-out stations. In fact, one city resident had even prepared a written statement (which he was not able to deliver before the group) with photocopies to distribute to PAT and city officials, as well as to interested members of the public!

The following Internet link leads to a Letter-to-the-Editor from long-time public transit advocate Glenn A. Walsh, which was published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Saturday Morning, 2017 April 8. In this Letter-to-the-Editor, Mr. Walsh suggests that the PAT Board of Directors should sponsor a general public hearing on this proposed public transit project, before this public process goes any further ---

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Internet Link to Letter-to-the-Editor on the Post-Gazette.com web site:
Walsh, Glenn A. “The public process for bus rapid transit is flawed”
("BRT process flawed."). Letter-to-the-Editor.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2017 April 8.
Link >>> http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/letters/2017/04/08/The-public-process-for-bus-rapid-transit-is-flawed/stories/201704080108

Walsh, Glenn A. "Public Comments: Proposed Pittsburgh Bus Rapid Transit Project." Blog-Post.
SpaceWatchtower 2015 June 15.
Public comments submitted to the Principal Transportation Planner of the City of Pittsburgh, as directed in the Scoping Booklet for the National Environmental Policy Act Review for the Downtown - Uptown - Oakland - East End Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Study.
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2015/06/public-comments-proposed-pittsburgh-bus.html

Related Blog Post ---

"Pittsburgh BRT: Testimony Before PAT Board Regarding Need for Public Hearing on Proposed Project." 2017 May 5.

Link >>> http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/05/pittsburgh-brt-testimony-before-pat.html


Source: Glenn A. Walsh, 39- year public transit advocate and a Charter Member of the Port
             Authority of Allegheny County's citizens advisory committee (member of Allegheny
             County Transit Council: 1984 to 1989).
             2017 April 9

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, TransportWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >