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.

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