Thursday, May 21, 2015

Port Authority proposes extending routes to transit deserts!

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

May 21, 2015
Contact: Molly Nichols
Pittsburghers for Public Transit
(412) 216-9659

Community voices heard as Port Authority proposes extending routes to transit deserts

Port Authority presented their preliminary budget for Fiscal Year 7/2015-7/2016 to the Board’s Planning and Stakeholder Relations Committee this morning. It includes 3.7 million dollars for adding service, which is approximately a 2% increase in service overall. This includes extending service on 4 routes. The routes include the 44 Knoxville to Baldwin, the 20 Kennedy to Groveton, the 56 Lincoln Place to Penn State McKeesport, and the 91 Butler to RIDC park.

Over the past year, Pittsburghers for Public Transit has supported community campaigns for service to the transit deserts in Baldwin and Groveton, and these proposed changes are a result of transit riders, workers, and residents coming together to advocate for the transit service they need and deserve. We are thrilled to see this impact, and we will continue to work to get adequate service to all communities.

Karen Smith, senior Baldwin resident, said “The Buses for Baldwin steering committee is proud of all the residents who gave their time and energy to help the Port Authority understand the importance of public transit in our community."

The families in Groveton appreciate that Port Authority has listened to the word of the people,” said Darnell Jones, resident of Groveton. “If the proposed extension of the 20 is approved, people will be able to find jobs and get to the supermarket, other stores, and doctor’s appointments.”

The proposed changes will be voted on by the Port Authority Board in June, and if approved, would take effect in September of 2015.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Public meetings on transit between Downtown and neighborhoods East

Next week, the City is hosting public meetings to discuss proposed transit improvements and community development between Downtown and Oakland. This is an important opportunity for transit riders, transit workers, and residents to share ideas, concerns, and questions.

Here is the invitation from the city, and this link provides more information:

The City of Pittsburgh invites you to provide input on an action plan for transit improvements and community development in the corridor between Downtown and neighborhoods east.

Please come share your ideas. For convenience, the public meeting is being offered twice at different times and locations. Take your pick of:

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 Uptown/Downtown, Noon – 2:00 pm

Duquesne University, Power Center Ballroom, 1015 Forbes Avenue

or

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 Oakland, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

William Pitt Student Union, Kurtzman Room, 3959 Fifth Avenue

At these upcoming public meetings, the City of Pittsburgh will provide an overview of coordinated planning efforts in the corridor along Fifth and Forbes Avenues, including the Downtown, Uptown, Oakland, and other east end neighborhoods. This will involve a review of ongoing planning for transit improvements, including bus rapid transit (BRT), and upcoming planning for an EcoInnovation District in the Uptown neighborhood.

Per the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, which govern transit planning, the environmental scoping process will include the opportunity for the public and agencies to provide comment on the purpose and need for transit improvements, as well as environmental issues that should be considered. Participants will also be able to provide preliminary input on possible station locations for proposed BRT alignments.

The goal of the Uptown EcoInnovation District is a revitalized Uptown community, which is both environmentally and financially sustainable while promoting equity, and public and private sector innovation.

The City of Pittsburgh has undertaken an effort to coordinate multiple complimentary planning projects in this corridor. The purpose is to capitalize on the community and economic development potential of the neighborhoods in this corridor while better connecting them, to each other and the region, through improved mobility. The City will knit together neighborhood-based planning projects, which will influence planning for improved transit service and infrastructure underway by Port Authority of Allegheny County.

For more information, contact Patrick Roberts, Department of City Planning, Principal Transportation Planner at 412.255.2224 or patrick.roberts@pittsburghpa.gov

The meeting locations are accessible to persons with mobility disabilities, a sign language interpreter will be available and the meeting document will be available to attendees in Spanish and Braille.

Both meetings are accessible via Port Authority service. For more transit schedule information, go to PortAuthority.org or call 412.442.2000.


Pittsburghers for Public Transit encourages riders and residents to come to the meetings next week so that their voices can be heard during this process.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pittsburghers for Public Transit supports the Fight for 15!

Fast food workers and other low wage workers are going on strike today (4/15) to demand 15 dollars an hour and a union. Many of these workers are transit riders. They all deserve a living wage and respect on the job.

Let's lift up neighborhoods and families across our city and increase the wages of all workers.

-Rally at 12 noon at Market Square downtown

-4:00 PM, Gather at Forbes & Bigelow in Oakland, in front of the Cathedral of Learning.


See below for the ATU International's support for the Fight for 15:

ATU workers nationwide gear up for Fight for $15

Building on three years of successful actions by fast-food workers, tomorrow, Wednesday 4/15, underpaid workers across the country, from restaurant workers, to bus drivers, to adjunct professors, are coming together to demand living wages and the right to unionize.

The first action was over three years ago in New York City when more than 200 fast-food workers walked off the job.

Today, the national conversation around the living wage is moving cities like Seattle and San Francisco, towards a $15 per hour living wage. Within the transportation industry, workers who are employed by private companies often face the same indignities of poverty wages and abusive working conditions. ATU is proud to join our brothers and sisters in fighting back against predatory corporations that take more than their fair share of the profit.

To find a Fight for $15 Rally in your city, click here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Join us for Stand Up for Transportation Day

Join us on Thursday April 9th as we Stand Up for Transportation!

Groups from across the country are calling on Congress to pass a federal transportation bill, with adequate funding for public transit, biking, and walking. If we do not act now, the funding will run out at the end of May.

On April 9th, we encourage you to:
1) Call and/or write your elected officials. Click here to get the info or see below

2) When you're on the bus or T, or waiting at a stop, take pictures, and post them on social media. #SU4T #StandUp4Transportation

3) Sign this petition: http://standup4transportation.org/

PPT is helping to host a press conference on Thursday April 9th at 10 am, Wood St T station lobby, 601 Wood St.

Volunteers will then go to bus stops to encourage riders to call their federal elected officials: Sen. Casey, Sen. Toomey, Rep. Doyle, Rep. Murphy, and Rep. Rothfus. We need to tell those in Washington how crucial public transit is to us. We expect our legislators to act NOW to pass a federal bill that provides adequate funding for public transit, biking, and walking.

If you'd like to volunteer, to help get the word out to riders, contact: molly@pittsburghforpublictransit.org


Script for calling elected officials:

Hello. My name is ______________, and I live at __________. My phone number is__________. I am calling to ask that you do all in your power to pass a long-term sustainable surface transportation bill before May 31st. I ride the bus/T/bike/walk every day, and I want to make sure you understand how important public transit, biking, and walking is to me and my neighbors. Many of us either do not have cars or choose not to drive. We need alternative choices, and it is your job to ensure those options are there for us.

US Rep. Mike Doyle (14th district-PA)
2637 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Phone: (412) 390-1499
https://doyle.house.gov/contact-me

US Rep. Tim Murphy(18th district-PA)
504 Washington Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15228
Phone: (412) 344-5583
https://murphy.house.gov/contact-me

US Rep.Keith Rothfus(12thdistrict-PA)
6000 Babcock Boulevard, Suite 104
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
Phone: (412) 837-1361
http://rothfus.house.gov/email-keith

Sen. Pat Toomey (US Senator—PA)
100 W. Station Square Dr., Suite 225
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: (412) 803-3501
http://www.toomey.senate.gov/?p=contact

Sen. Bob Casey (US Senator—PA)
310 Grant Street, Suite 2415
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: (412) 803-7370
http://www.casey.senate.gov/contact



For more info see below.

MEDIA RELEASE:

Local advocates from community development, public transit, ped/bike, labor, and business sectors join with communities nationwide to emphasize need for long-term investment in US transportation infrastructure before funding evaporates on May 31

WHO: Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, Pittsburghers for Public Transit, Bike Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Allegheny Conference on Community Development

WHAT: Stand Up for Transportation Day –Pittsburgh area leaders are joining with their counterparts nationwide,April 9, 2015 to draw attention and awareness to the looming federal transportation funding crisis and call on Congress to follow Pennsylvania’s lead by passing a comprehensive, sustainable transportation funding package. Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), with support from national and local partners from transportation, business, labor and community oriented interests, Stand Up for Transportation Day will unite the voices of 200+ participating organizations in over 140 communities nationwide to focus on the federal transportation funding crisis’s urgency and provide a Pittsburgh-region context.

WHY: Whether you ride a train, bus or bike, walk or drive, the expiration of the federal funding bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), has a direct impact on southwestern Pennsylvania’s economy and quality of life. On May 31, 2015, the nation’s transportation funding mechanism - the Highway Trust Fund - becomes literally insolvent. It also threatens to wipe out the leadership Pennsylvania showed in passing its own transportation funding bill, Act 89 of 2013. Without a long-term federal transportation funding bill, ours and communities across the country will face tremendous economic and employment uncertainty. Transportation is the backbone of our local and national economy. A long-term transportation bill is needed to reinforce and expand transportation choices, and to continue to grow our economy – locally and nationally.

If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to email info@pittsburghforpublictransit.org or call 412-216-9659.

Sincerely,

Molly Nichols
Community Organizer
Pittsburghers for Public Transit

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Transit Worker Appreciation Day a Success!!

Thanks to over a dozen PPT volunteers, we distributed close to 2000 cards for riders to give to their operators! We also delivered cards to over 100 maintenance workers. Many riders were enthusiastic to thank their drivers, who were often thrilled to be acknowledged. Thanks to all who helped spread the word, including GoBurgh, Bike Pittsburgh, ACTC, Port Authority, and WESA.

Let's continue to thank these transit workers every day...for keeping us moving!
























Thursday, March 12, 2015

March 18 is Transit Worker Appreciation Day!

***MEDIA ADVISORY***

Transit Worker Appreciation Day

Wednesday March 18th is National Transit Worker Appreciation Day. Pittsburghers for Public Transit (PPT) encourages riders and residents to thank our Port Authority bus and rail operators and maintenance workers for keeping us moving.

Pittsburghers for Public Transit is coordinating over a dozen volunteers to distribute thank you cards to transit riders, who can deliver them to their bus operators. We will also be distributing cards to maintenance workers. These cards say: “Because you rock, I roll,” and “Thanks for keeping us moving.”

On March 18th, cards will be available between 12 and 1 and between 3 and 5 at both of the following locations:
-Outside Wood St station downtown
-Forbes and Bigelow in Oakland.

Riders can print out their own cards at this website

We appreciate the opportunity to thank and honor the over 2,000 public transit workers in Allegheny County who get riders to our destinations safely. These workers are out 365 days a year in rain, snow, ice, and frigid temperatures, as well as our hot summers. Bus operators collect fares, help riders find their way, handle safety issues, keep to a strict route schedule, and manage their way through traffic—along the steep and winding streets of our region. Maintenance workers maintain, repair, and clean the rails, buses, busways, stations, etc.  These workers are the backbone of our transit system, and we are grateful for the work they do each day to keep Allegheny County moving.

“The drivers deal with all the traffic so that I don’t have to.” –James Keener.

“I appreciate transit workers because they drive me to all of the places I need to go safely and stress free.” –Daisha Bernal

Social media tags: #pghlovestransitworkers, #transitworkerday, #twd, #thankyoutransitworkers, #Pgh4Pubtransit

Facebook event 

Questions?

Contact: Molly Nichols
info@pittsburghforpublictransit.org
(412) 216-9659

Friday, March 6, 2015

Residents speak to Port Authority Board about getting service to transit deserts

On Feb 27, residents from Moon and Robinson delivered public comments about the need for transit in their communities.

Here are Groveton Village residents after addressing the board. They currently face a cold 1.5 mile walk to the bus in Coraopolis:



Rebecca Kiernan, Sustainability Coordinator for the Township of Moon, also addressed the board with the following comments:

Moon is located 17 miles west of Pittsburgh off I-376. A typical suburban community, the Township developed with the automobile in mind; neighborhoods of cul-de-sacs make for a lack of connectivity, sidewalks are sporadic, and stores and amenities are not in residential zones.

In the Mooncrest community of Moon, the loss of transit service has had devastating effects for the geographically isolated and predominantly low-income neighborhood. When buses were cut in 2011, residents lost mobility and employment. Residents without vehicles walk two miles to the closest bus stop and three miles to the closest grocery store- down a steep hill and along a busy, dangerous four lane road as seen in photos below.




Roughly 20% of residents in the Township are over the age of 60, and planning for the aging population is a major theme in the Township’s proposed Comprehensive Plan. Seniors who want to age in place, and no longer drive are severely limited in access to basic resources. The Moon Area Senior Citizens Association regularly battles lack of transit in their meetings.

Robert Morris University, which has expanded its campus and enrollment has difficulty attracting commuting students. Students who live on campus have limited mobility to leave campus to explore and participate in internships and opportunities throughout the Township and the region. RMU representatives are both supportive and fully active in the Township’s efforts to enhance mobility, and participate in existing bike/ped, public transit and economic development committees.

Commuters to Moon such as myself, total more than 21,000 per day, heading to large companies like FedEx and Eaton, located in Moon’s business parks. The sheer amount of commuters redefines the lack of public transit to and around Moon as a regional issue. The University Boulevard Park-and-Ride is located half a mile from Airside Business Park, which houses Michael Baker Int’l. and other major offices, employing a substantial portion of the commuters- this stop is also one mile from RMU. The stop serves the G3 Moon Flyer, which takes people from Moon to Downtown on weekday mornings, returning empty between trips because there is not a return trip option from Downtown to Moon- it does the reverse in the afternoon. I pass the G3 daily on my way to and from work- completely empty because there is no reverse commute line.

Public transportation would reduce the more than 18,000 single occupancy vehicles commuting to Moon, easing traffic, improving regional air quality and reducing carbon emissions. Traffic on I-376 West is nearly, if not as bad as, inbound traffic to the City. Easier commutes would prevent suburban sprawl and reduce blight in the City as commuters wouldn’t need to move to the suburbs for work.

While it does not address the needs of most Township residents, opening the doors to the G3 Moon Flyer and allowing ridership on the existing trip of the reverse commute seems like an easy tweak in service that would have great regional benefits.

As Moon strives to improve its livability, we know that the Port Authority is a crucial player in enhancing mobility.