Thursday, April 3, 2014

TRANSIT TALES: Part II



TRANSIT TALES
True-life stories and panel discussion on our public transit choices
Thursday, April 17th at 7pm
The Kaufman Center
1835 Centre Ave (right by the Hill House)


Bricolage's Fifth Wall series seeks to break down the barriers between scripted storytelling and current events in the world at large.

The 2014 Fifth Wall Series continues with a panel discussion on public transit in Allegheny County. Specifically, how (or if) public input should be included in planning for public transit. Panelists include:

Lucy Spruill - Committee for Accessible Transportation

Bonnie Young-Laing - Hill District Consensus Group

Ben Samson - Architectural Designer

Tom Conroy - Amalgamated Transit Union

Grant Ervin - City of Pittsburgh

Moderated by Chris Potter - Pittsburgh City Paper

Transit Tales, a collaboration between GoBurgh, Bricolage, and Pittsburghers for Public Transit is a multimedia program of community engagement, experience documentation, and creative storytelling that aims to raise public awareness and positive perception of public transit while attracting involvement from a diversity of audiences that may not engage in traditional conversations.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

YOU DID IT!!! Transportation funding bill passed! Next steps - come celebrate, then help plan how to restore and expand service.


The transportation bill passed the PA House on Tuesday night, passed the PA Senate on Wednesday and should be on the Governor's desk by Friday for his signature. This bill will fund roads, bridges and public transit - we can stop fearing the next round of cuts. Now we can start planning how best to expand and restore transit service!

YOU did this - you didn't give up! Even when the news on Monday was grim, you kept calling and emailing state legislators. Our contacts in Harrisburg say your efforts made the crucial difference!
Please join us to celebrate the victory at a performance of your very own stories, Transit Tales at Bricolage Production Company tomorrow during Light Up Night, downtown at 937 Liberty Ave, starting at 8pm.

We will be planning next steps at our General Membership meeting this Saturday, from 10-11:30am in the Homestead Grays room of the Human Services Building, at One Smithfield St, downtown Pittsburgh. Free parking is in back - driveway into the lot is on Fort Pitt Blvd.
Please join us - we want to make sure that public transit planning in the future will include our concerns, our ideas, and the needs of our communities.

THANKS AGAIN - YOU KEPT OUR TRANSIT ROLLING!!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Transportation funding bill imperiled! Please keep calling these state legislators!

BREAKING: Pa. transportation funding bill in jeopardy

Please email your own legislator using this easy to use site . And here's the site where you can look up the phone number of your state legislator.

Contact Key Legislators
In addition to urging your own elected officials to vote for the funding, we are asking that you reach out to legislators in parts of Pennsylvania where they and their constituents are not as informed on why public transit is so important to the
economy and to the tax base of the entire state budget. Please take a few moments to call their offices and share the information below.

Rep. Michelle Brooks      724-588-8911
Rep. Sheryl Delozier        717-761-4665
Rep. Keith Gillespie         717-840-4711
Rep. Glen Grell                 717-795-6091
Rep. Sue Helm                 717-651-0100
Rep. Mark Keller               717-582-8119
Rep. Ron Marsico            717-652-3721
Rep. John Payne             717-534-1323
Rep. Rick Saccone         412-653-1025
Rep. Stan Saylor             717-244-9232
Rep. Curtis Sonney        814-897-2080
Rep. Mike Turzai             412-369-2230


Please tell them:

  • Transportation is a top priority of goverment!
  • Pass a robust bill for $2.5B with $500M for transit.
  • We demand safe bridges.
  • We deserve better roads.
  • We need reliable public transit
  • Save 12,000 construction jobs
  • Save all the jobs that are currently riding on public transit
  • And save the businesses that are currently dependent on public transit to bring their customers and employees to their doors
  • And ADD the tens of thousands of new construction jobs this bill would help to create.
  • All those jobs and businesses produce the urban tax base that pays for the rest of the state budget, including roads and bridges in rural and suburban Pennsylvania.

You can also help immensely by passing on this web address and asking your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors to contact these representatives as well. And they can contact their own legislators easily by forwarding an email available at this link.

Please call today! We send enormous thanks to all the volunteers who have already helped reach out to voters and legislators across the state.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Last Call for Transit! Volunteers are needed!

The PA General Assembly is down to the wire, with just five session days left to address the transportation funding issue before Thanksgiving. That's why we're reaching out to legislators tomorrow to impress upon them how important it is that they pass a robust bill that funds transit, as well as roads and bridges.

Most important in ensuring that legislators hear our message, is making sure that they hear from their constituents. We are looking for volunteers to staff a phone bank toight, November 13th to reach out to voters across the state. from 6-8:30pm at the Sierra Club, 425 N. Craig

     

800px-USW_Phone_Bank_August_2008_Ohio


Contact Key Legislators
Because Allegheny House Representatives are generally supportive of public transit, we are asking that you reach out to legislators in parts of Pennsylvania where they and their constituents are not as informed on why public transit is so important to the entire state economy and budget. Please take a few moments to call their offices and share the information below.

Rep. Michelle Brooks      724-588-8911
Rep. Sheryl Delozier        717-761-4665
Rep. Keith Gillespie         717-840-4711
Rep. Glen Grell                 717-795-6091
Rep. Sue Helm                 717-651-0100
Rep. Mark Keller               717-582-8119
Rep. Ron Marsico            717-652-3721
Rep. John Payne             717-534-1323
Rep. Rick Saccone         412-653-1025
Rep. Stan Saylor             717-244-9232
Rep. Curtis Sonney        814-897-2080
Rep. Mike Turzai             412-369-2230


Please tell them:
  • Transportation is a top priority of goverment!
  • Pass a robust bill for $2.5B with $500M for transit.
  • We demand safe bridges.
  • We deserve better roads.
  • We need reliable public transit
  • Save 12,000 construction jobs
  • Save all the jobs that are currently riding on public transit
  • And save the businesses that are currently dependent on public transit to bring their customers and employees to their doors
  • And ADD the tens of thousands of new construction jobs this bill would help to create.
  • All those jobs and businesses produce the urban tax base that pays for the rest of the state budget, including roads and bridges in rural and suburban Pennsylvania.


You can also help immensely by passing on this web address and asking your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors to contact these representatives as well. And they can contact their own legislators easily by forwarding an email available at this link.

Please call today! We send enormous thanks to all the volunteers who have already helped reach out to voters and legislators across the state.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Public Transit in Our Communities: calling for inclusive planning.

Recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette articles raised concerns about potential plans for a "bus free downtown" and, more importantly, the possibility of non-inclusive public transit planning processes that would give more weight to a limited range of developer and business interests rather than to the needs of a broad range of stakeholders that would be most affected by such plans. County Executive Richard Fitzgerald and Mayoral candidate Peduto have responded that no such plan has been laid on the table and that there will definitely be public process for future planning. 

Not only is readily accessible public transit crucial to the health of our urban core, but this connective hub promotes the entire region's economic, environmental and social health. All plans and decision-making processes for major transit re-routing must be fully inclusive of all the stakeholders that would be most affected and fully respectful of the complex decisions about equity and economic health that we must face together as a diverse set of interdependent communities.

We invite all who are affected by or involved in public transit planning to participate in one or more of a series of public meetings to fully consider these practical and social justice issues and then participate in action planning sessions. Each session will begin with guest speakers who have expertise or experience in public transit issues, then participants will share their own experience and information, and develop an outline of concerns, priorities and action plans to promote more inclusive and informed public engagement in transit routing decisions. These outlines will be presented to media, transit planners and elected officials in early 2014. 



October 26th 

10-11:30am: PPT General Membership meeting: you're invited to join our General Membership meeting as we begin with a general discussion of current concerns about our public transit system, our neighborhood chapter efforts, and formation of an all-volunteer force to carry forward an action campaign calling for democratic inclusion in public transit planning.

12-2pm: Overview of our public transit system and our priorities: Pittsburgh City Transportation Planner Patrick Roberts will give an overview of how public transit functions within the Pittsburgh region's larger multimodal transportation system. Transit users, drivers, small business owners and other stakeholders will share their experiences and develop an  list of central concerns and priorities to present to local elected officials.

November 2nd, 12-2pm: Economic health: Consideration of employment and shopping access, business health and equitable development. Transit drivers will discuss the role of the union in promoting quality of transit service. Comparison of public transportation vs privatization outcomes for communities. Funding options that promote democratic control over public investments for our region.

Nov. 9th, 12-2pm: Environmental and human health: air quality benefits; access to food and healthcare; integrated multimodal transportation and health benefits of exercise and social connection.  

Nov. 16th, 12-2pm: Social and political equity: Consideration of access to culture, recreation, parks, volunteering, political action and democratic engagement. The role of public transit in bridging community divides based on geography, class and race.

Speakers and participants will include:

  • representatives from environmental and public health organizations
  • representatives from Community Development Corporations and other neighborhood organizations
  • small and medium-sized business owners that depend on public transit to transport their employees and customers to their doors
  • public transit workers and multimodal planners who have extensive practical expertise of our own system to contribute
  • transit users that would be most affected by any rerouting, including the elderly, communities of people with disabilities and working people that do not have access to other forms of transportation.
  • All sessions will be held on the first floor of the USW building, 60 Boulevard of the Allies, in downtown Pittsburgh. 

To learn more, contact Community Organizer, Helen Gerhardt at 412-518-7387 or info@pittsburghforpublictransit.org for more information and to RSVP for the series or for any session of particular interest to you.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hill District Chapter meeting on Friday, October 18th

You’re invited to attend the PPT Hill District Chapter meeting on Friday, October 18th, at 6:30 pm at the Hill House, Conference Room B, 1835 Centre Ave.

At the meeting, we will discuss ways that we can work together to...

  • Mobilize our neighbors, fellow riders, and drivers to restore and improve service. 
  • Address the Hill District’s specific public transit concerns and mobilize with other chapters to support common concerns and actions.
  • Build coalitions among all the diverse communities and organizations that benefit from public transit, in your neighborhood and across Allegheny County. 
  • Demand that corporations such as the Penguins and UPMC pay their fair share for the public infrastructure that transports their employees and customers.
  • Call on our state elected representatives to secure long-term, dedicated funding for public transit to restore service reliability
  • In response to proposed plans for a "bus free downtown," a special focus of the meeting will be organizing to call on our elected representatives to
     invite all major stakeholders to the planning table when considering major changes in transit routes and bus-stops. We call for inclusion of groups that have all too often been left out of such planning and decisions in the past .
To find out how to get involved, please call 412-518-7387 or email info@pittsburghforpublictransit.org.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pittsburghers for Public Transit calls for inclusive community process for downtown transit planning

Pittsburghers for Public Transit have grave concerns about a recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story titled, "Proposal will make Downtown Pittsburgh core totally bus-free: Overcrowding at bus stops frustrates business owners.”  Precedence should not be given to the few businesses that have called for removal of bus stops in front of their establishments, when the greater good of the entire community should be our first public priority.
 

We urge our elected officials and policy planners to invite all major stakeholders to the planning table, including transit workers who have extensive experience and expertise to contribute and small business owners and riders that would be most affected by such rerouting, including the elderly, communities of people with disabilities and working people that do not have access to other forms of transportation.  Pittsburghers for Public Transit calls for a diligent public process and the inclusion of diverse communities from across Allegheny County in all studies, planning, and policy decisions for rerouting buses in Downtown Pittsburgh – the connective hub for public mass transit in the greater Pittsburgh region.
 

Our members, volunteers and allies express the following concerns:

Gina Mucciolo:  Regular Port Authority rider, graduate student in the Chatham School of Sustainability & the Environment 


Mass transit significantly relieves congestion and better supports economic development and foot traffic for businesses......simply eliminating buses while not addressing excessive automotive traffic and congestion patterns will only reinforce negative perceptions of the transit system.
 

ATU Local 85 President Steve Palonis
 

We've seen too many past attempts to validate such proposals with "outside consultants" in the name of "efficiency," without consulting the highly trained drivers who know the operation of the system the best and with very bad practical results for riders. This time the planning and decisions should be made hand-in-hand with those who have the greatest first hand knowledge of Pittsburgh's public transit. Taking public transit out of downtown would be like taking the "P" out of Pittsburgh.
 

Mel Packer, Coordinating Committee of Pittsburghers for Public Transit:
 

These kinds of changes started with the fancy shops at Fifth and Market upset about the young (and often mostly Black) bus riders waiting in front of their shops. And so the stop was eliminated...Is this the kind of "progressive" city that Fitzgerald and Peduto envision...one with the center filled with folks of disposable income, fancy shops, and the needs of service workers and other working people shunted aside? Such "progress" like the claimed "recovery" that is happening on Wall Street, would not NOT result in a more livable city for our diverse communities, but only in profit and comfort for an elite few.
 

Paul O'Hanlon, member of the Pittsburghers For Public Transit Coordinating Committee, member of the Committee for Accessible Transportation and Staff Attorney with the Disability Rights Network:
 

Public Transportation is for everyone.  That is our federal policy.  As such, any proposed changes must work for everyone, not only a few, not only the able-bodied.  A Downtown Circulator is an idea worth considering - in addition to our current Downtown service, not instead.  Terminating routes at the edge of Downtown would produce a needless delay for riders to wait for the Circulator bus - a delay that most able-bodied people would probably walk past, meaning that only those with mobility impairments would be inconvenienced by needing to make the connection Downtown.
 

To better enable all constructive planning and changes that we reach together as a diverse community, Pittsburghers for Public Transit urges all public transit supporters in Allegheny County to unite in calling on state legislators to vote for transportation legislation authorizing dedicated, sustainable funding for roads, bridges and public transit as vitally necessary public infrastructure for our communities, our environment, and the economy.

To support public transit, here's what you can do: 
  • You can email your state legislators to support transit funding by using this quick-link which will look up your PA elected officials and send the email to them automatically. 
  • You can call your House representative - the House is scheduled to vote on Senate Bill 1 next week. Please let them know that the entire state budget primarily depends on the urban tax base - and public transit delivers hundreds of thousands of employees and customers to businesses in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia - all those taxes they earn and share pay for roads and bridges across the state!  
  • Very reasonable concerns have been expressed about the placement of bus shelters in Pittsburgh and we fully support our elected officials in gathering information for better planning in the future - by engaging the public to hear their feedback as well! You can help provide your input and experiences by filling out this survey.
  • You can sign this petition in support of the Transit Bill of Rights, which will also sign you up for news updates and action alerts in support of public transit. 
  • You can come to our general membership meeting on Saturday, October 26th, from 10-11:30am at One Smithfield in downtown Pittsburgh, in the Human Services building. Make your voices heard and help develop action plans to defend and support our public transit systems.