URA Issues RFP for Lexington Site

Link to RFP for Lexington and some more information around the site.

Kudos to the residents for insisting on mixed-income development and for highlighting in every community meeting that affordable housing is a necessity!

We support the Port Authority’s TOD guidelines and the P4 metrics that are also included.

PPT attends Transit Rider Bootcamp

PPT had a large contingent at the Transit Rider Bootcamp hosted by Americans for Transit. It was an amazing and inspiring learning experience, and we got to hear from other transit justice organizations across the country!

 

Speakers Call out URA for Role in BRT app

From a great article in WESA:

Some concerned about BRT’s effects on the Mon Valley and other communities have said they think the project violates the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination by federally funded government agencies. Before a public transit agency makes any major service change, it has to conduct a Title VI assessment. A Port Authority spokesperson wrote in an email that because no service changes have yet been decided on, Port Authority has not made that evaluation. However, an Environmental Justice assessment is currently being conducted. The analysis considers health, social and economic impacts.

Laura Wiens is director of the nonprofit Pittsburghers for Public Transit, or PPT. She told a recent meeting of the URA board that she was troubled by how the service cuts came to be included in the proposal in the first place.

“I think…the process is a real problem,” she said. “We [PPT staff and members] have been at the Port Authority, we have been at County Council, and these folks should not have to fight after decisions are made just to mitigate the harm that you’re proposing to inflict on them.”

BRT Campaign Takes Fight to County Council

From the Post-Gazette:

“Pearl Hughey and her grandchildren recently watched a movie about Rosa Parks.

She told Allegheny County Council members Tuesday night that the youngsters asked her a lot of questions about what happened on that bus in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955.

‘The one thing I found myself explaining to them is that the way things that they saw in that movie were how things were then,’ Ms. Hughey said. ‘You can now get onto the bus, ride where you want, sit where you want. I ask you: Was I wrong or was I right?’”

 

PPT joins ATU Local 85 and the Sierra Club in publishing an op-ed on Transit Equity Day in honor of Rosa Parks

February 8th, 2018 (not: Transit Equity Day was February 5th)

Happy Transit Equity Day, all! We’re celebrating Rosa Parks’ birthday with a reminder that transit is a human and civil right, that transit workers deserve fair wages, benefits and a union, and that public transportation is vital to our climate sustainability. Here’s a joint op-ed that came out in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette signed by PPT, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 and the Sierra Club:

In honor of Rosa Parks Day, a group of organizations including the Amalgamated Transit Union, the Labor Network for Sustainability, Jobs with Justice and the Institute for Policy Studies are declaring Transit Equity Day for today, Feb. 5, to take action for civil rights and a climate-safe future.

King expanded the focus of transit rights from the right to ride anywhere in a bus to the right to ride to anywhere you need to go on a bus. We are similarly expanding what is included in transit justice:

• Transportation justice: Every person in every neighborhood regardless of age, race, class, gender or disability should have the right to safe, convenient transportation at an affordable cost.

• Workers justice: The workers who build public transit infrastructure, who operate and maintain the systems and who get us where we need to go have the right to safe, decent working conditions and family-supporting incomes and the right to choose to be represented by a union.

• Community justice: Cars, trucks and other transportation emit a large proportion of our dangerous pollution, causing asthma and many other life-threatening conditions. Replacing cars and trucks with public transit is far healthier for individuals and communities. A just transit system will provide all communities fair access to the jobs and amenities of metropolitan areas.

• Climate justice: The lives and futures of Americans and all people are threatened by devastating climate change. As a U.S. federal court recently declared, all people have a right to a stable climate. That will require a rapid cut in the burning of the fossil fuels that emit the greenhouse gases that cause climate change. And one of the easiest, fastest and cheapest ways to do that is public transit run on clean, renewable energy.

Transit justice, in short, is essential for building a just and climate-safe future”

For more information about Transit Equity Day, check out this Facebook Page hosted by the Labor Network for Sustainability.

 

Not My BRT! Riders gather outside PAAC board meeting to oppose Mon Valley service cuts!

February 8th, 2018

What an amazing month! PPT and Just Harvest have partnered in calling on the Port Authority board to not implement the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) at the expense of our 61 A, B, and C bus riders. On Friday, January 26th, more than 60 riders and bus drivers came out to rally and pack the Port Authority boardroom, sharing powerful testimony about how their communities would be harmed if the 61 A, B, and C service frequency was cut by 45% as proposed, or if they were required to transfer in Oakland to travel downtown. We submitted more than 300 rider postcards telling their stories of needing the bus, and we’re still collecting dozens more.

We had tons of press, including KDKA, WTAE, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Valley Mirror and the Trib cover the story!

Thank you to all the folks that joined us to call for equity with the BRT, and for your work collecting postcards and rallying and testifying. We are not going to give up this fight!

How you can plug in: We are continuing to distribute and collect 61 bus rider postcards, get organizations and municipalities to sign onto our BRT letter, and we are beginning the process of scheduling meetings with regional elected officials to talk to them about the harm of the bus cuts with the BRT. If you would like to help collect postcards, get organizational sign-ons, or join us for meeting with elected officials, let us know!

We are also holding our 2nd Mon Valley BRT planning meeting on Tuesday, Feb 13th, from 6:00-7:30 pm at Braddock Carnegie Library, to discuss possible next steps for this campaign. Please join us!

 

PPT at MLK Day at Kelly Strayhorn Theater

February 8th, 2018

Thank you to Lisa Gonzalez, Toni Haraldsen and Crystal Jennings for making our MLK Jr tabling session at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater such a success! Lots of students joined us to hear the story of Rosa Parks, transit as a civil right struggle, and tell us what their bus means to them!

Build Ridership Not Walls! DCTR Coalition Rally

February 8th, 2018

Our Don’t Criminalize Transit Riders coalition delegated County Executive Rich Fitzgerald on Thursday, January 18th, to call on him to take a public position opposing fare enforcement policing on public transit. Nearly 30 riders went to his office at the County Courthouse; we were met by six police officers, and were refused an opportunity to speak to him. A full year has passed since this policy of policing and criminal charges for fare evasion was passed. We demand that he listen to his constituents, and call for civil fare enforcement agents and civil consequences at Port Authority!

Later that afternoon, members of Casa San Jose, the Alliance for Police Accountability, the Thomas Merton Center and PPT showed up for a big rally at the Gateway Center T Station, where we demanded that Port Authority Build Ridership, Not Barriersto life! There was a wall of $300 fines, and beautiful birds with messages like “Transportation not Deportation”, and May Day Marching Band played rousing music to celebrate the tearing down of the wall.

We got amazing press in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as well as WTAE news, with new CEO Katherine Kelleman responding, “On a day when a coalition of groups will hold a pair of rallies against armed enforcement of fare payment on Port Authority vehicles, the new head of the transit agency said reviewing that proposed policy is her top priority.”

When we fight, we win! We’ll be planning next steps in the coming weeks around this issue, so stay tuned in for updates on the campaign.

Great Testimony from Residents at Hilltop Parkview Manor about the Need for Transit!

December 11, 2017

Great testimony from residents of Hilltop Parkview Manor in Duquesne about the need for transit! Take a look at coverage from Ed Blazina at the Post Gazette: 

“Deb Watson of Duquesne and her neighbors in the Hilltop Parkview Manor Apartments don’t think it’s too much to ask that Port Authority route a bus to the complex. The alternative for the 600 residents is a hilly, mile-long walk on busy streets with no sidewalks and limited streetlights. Ms. Watson, who uses a cane, and several other residents with a variety of mobility issues lobbied the Port Authority board Friday to return direct service to their complex on Duquesne Place Drive. Right now, the nearest bus stop is either on Hoffman Boulevard or Route 837.“It’s terrible,” Ms. Watson said. “We have to walk in the middle of the street in the winter. We really need a bus.””

Additionally, PPT and Just Harvest submitted over 200 BRT surveys to the Port Authority from riders in the Mon Valley to ensure they are not left out of the decision making process!

Transit is a Human Right! Residents at Hilltop Parkview Manor demand restoration of the 59 bus!

Over the past month, PPT has been partnering with Just Harvest, both on the BRT campaign to ensure equity in the Mon Valley and in the restoration of service to the the Hilltop Parkview Manor apartments in Duquesne. Residents here face a dangerous walk on steep roads with no sidewalks and heavy car traffic. For those who are elderly, disabled, or responsible for small children, the walk makes access to food, healthcare, jobs, family, and community extremely arduous and difficult.

Residents are asking that the 59 bus run through the community so they can have their lifeline back, and over 90 service requests have been submitted to the Port Authority. PPT believes that transit is a human right and supports communities organizing to get better transit service so they can thrive. And we are excited to be working with Just Harvest to ensure that residents have access to vital basic needs!