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: < >
Needed !                        Internet Web Site: < >
                                                      Space Blog: < >
                                                      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.


Internet Link to Additional Information ----

Agenda, Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors of the Port Authority of Allegheny County, 2017 April 28: Link >>>

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 >>>

     Safe Public Viewing of the Great American Solar Eclipse
                         Monday, August 21, 2017
     Mt. Lebanon Public Library, South Suburban Pittsburgh
More Info: Link >>>

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

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