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 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

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

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1 comment:

  1. I agree with you Glenn Walsh. I attended this meeting and thought the same thing. Pittsburgh and Allegheny County residents are being steamrollered. This is my Post Gazette letter to the editor.

    'That is not the format of this meeting. That is not the format of this meeting. That is not the format of this meeting.' This is the response that one of the leaders of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project meeting at 6:00 p.m. on April 5, 2017 at the University of Pittsburgh voiced when audience members posed questions. Audience members had questions following slide presentations by representatives from the City of Pittsburgh and the Port Authority of Allegheny County about the BRT Project that is continuing to move forward. We were repeatedly told 'That is not the format of this meeting." and that the presenters would not respond to questions from the floor. Rather, we were instructed to ask our questions and provide feedback in small groups.

    Was the format of this public meeting designed to quell questions and concerns raised by the public?

    I have attended a number of BRT Project meetings in the last several years and have provided feedback in small groups, feedback which I now believe was mostly disregarded. That's undoubtedly easier to do when questions are not asked in a public setting.

    I live in the East End and am wondering. . .How will my route be different with the implementation of the BRT? Will I have to purchase a transfer to go downtown? Will my new bus stop be twice as far from my home? Will the 61 and 71 busses be eliminated? How often will the busses I use be scheduled? Who is paying for the new and improved 'stations', which actually look like glorified bus stops to me? Where will the new and improved 'stations' be located?

    I no longer believe that the City and County are acting in an open and transparent manner with regard to the BRT Project.

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