When We Fight, We Win! Port Authority holds BRT meetings in Braddock, Duquesne, and McKeesport

WHEN WE FIGHT, WE WIN! In response to concerns raised by community members, riders, ACCESS mob, and PPT, The Port Authority will be holding three community meetings in Braddock, McKeesport, and Duquesne.

Check out the facebook event page for Braddock and information on time and location for all three meetings below:

BRADDOCK
October 2 – 6:30 p.m.
The Avenue Apartments
325 Braddock Ave.
Braddock, PA

MCKEESPORT
October 11 – 7 p.m.
The Palisades
2nd floor
100 Fifth Ave
McKeesport, PA

DUQUESNE
October 18 – 6:30 p.m.
Duquesne City Hall
12 S. Second St.
Duquesne, PA

PPT goes to Harrisburg to Oppose Budget Cuts to Transit!

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On September 13th, House Republicans voted to pass a budget which approved cuts of $11.3 million to transit in Allegheny County. The budget then moved to a vote in the Senate, and PPT, along with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) headed to Harrisburg to say “NO” to more cuts to transit!

Transit lines are life lines, and thousands of residents rely on public transit every day to get to doctor’s appointments, work, school and many other daily necessities.Transit is not a luxury or a privilege. It’s an absolute necessity!

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Mifflin Estates Transit Celebration!

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The Mifflin Estates Transit Campaign celebrated the hard work they put in over the past year, with over 50 residents, bus drivers and PPT activists coming out to eat and find out more about the schedule and service. Thanks to their fight, the 55 will now be running through the community all day and on weekends! There was a shout out in the Trib about the restoration of service and the leaders that made it all possible. Thanks to all who made it such a success!

It is tragic, however, that Mifflin Estates residents had to celebrate in the midst of another attack on transit funding by far right PA legislators in Harrisburg, some of whom voted to defund their own districts’ bus service. Reporter Ryan Deto at the City Paper did an excellent job highlighting the impacts of the proposed budget on our Mifflin Estates campaign and on the potential for bus restoration in places like the North Hills, where community leaders have been pushing for additional transit for the last two years.

 

BRT Press Conference

Pittsburghers for Public Transit joined residents of Braddock, Duquesne, and Rankin, ACCESS Mob, and transit advocates to tell the Port Authority “No!” to mandatory transfers and service impacts to the disability community.

From the WESA coverage of the event: “The monetary and physical costs of switching buses take a toll on these communities, which tend to be older and have higher concentrations of poverty, said Tina Doose, president of Braddock Borough Council.

‘Going into Oakland, getting off one bus and getting on another bus and waiting for that to happen, that’s a real inconvenience,’ she said. ‘And when you have mobility impairments it’s more than inconvenience, sometimes it’s an impediment to be able to get where you need to go.’”

Picture: Residents and riders gathered around outside. MC Tony Buba is in the center with a microphone. Some residents holding signs that say “Bus Lines are Life Lines” and “Transit is a Right.”

 

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Thanks to everyone for turning out, and for the powerful speakers Braddock Municipal President Tina Doose, Mayor Elect Nickole Nesby of Duquesne, Gabriel McMoreland on behalf of ACCESS Mob, Braddock Resident Edith Bell, PPT’s own Chandana Cherukupalli, and Filmmaker Tony Buba for MC’ing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures: (right) Braddock Council President Tina Doose speaking (left) PPT members Sue Scanlon and Emily De Ferrari, holding signs with quotes from residents.

After PPT’s press conference and rally about the impacts of the BRT on communities in the Mon Valley, the Port Authority announced that they will hold the first public meeting in Braddock to lay out information about the impact of the BRT and answer questions. We are encouraging all those who will be impacted by changes to the 61 buses in Rankin, Braddock, Duquesne and Mckeesport to attend.

The meeting will take place at the senior apartment building located at 325 Braddock Avenue on Monday October 2nd at 6:30pm.

Post Gazette Covers PPT’s Demands around Port Authority CEO Search

“The group recently presented the authority with a letter calling for the agency to allow groups to participate in the process and identifying the qualities it wants to see in a new CEO.

“We respectfully request that, as an important public asset, the public be given an opportunity to weigh in on the final selection of a CEO,” Laura Weins of Pittsburghers for Public Transit wrote.

The group recommended that “labor, riders, policy advocates, neighborhood groups and foundations” be involved in the initial screening process for a new CEO.

Then, finalists should participate in a public forum and take questions, much like some school districts and universities do before selecting a new leader.

Among the qualities the group wants to see in the new CEO is someone who “recognizes that mass transit is first and foremost a public good, and not a business out to make a profit.”

In addition to transit skills, the new leader also should show transparency by including community voices in all decisions; work toward reducing the negative impact that transportation and housing policy can have on low-income communities; have demonstrated skills working with other government leaders and community groups.”

http://www.post-gazette.com/…/Port-Aut…/stories/201707100008

“Coalition ‘disappointed’ with Port Authority fare enforcement policy meeting”

A coalition of groups concerned about Port Authority’s plan to use armed police officers for fare enforcement is turning up the heat against the policy.

The coalition began gathering signatures on petitions at light-rail stations Wednesday and posted a petition online to collect more signatures. In addition, there will be a public meeting at 6 p.m. June 15 at 1 Smithfield St., Downtown, for people to air concerns about the policy.

“We are responding to concerns from residents,” said Gabriel McMorland, incoming director of the Thomas Merton Center. The coalition also includes Pittsburghers for Public Transit, Casa San Jose and the Alliance for Police Accountability.

The groups say they fear the system could result in racial profiling, a criminal record for not paying a $2.50 fare and problems including possible deportation for undocumented immigrants. They want nonpayment of fares handled as a civil matter enforced by unarmed fare compliance officers, with unpaid citations turned over to a collection agency.

Article by Ed Blazina in Post Gazette 

January Monthly Meeting: Reminding ourselves why we do what we do

PPT had its first monthly meeting the day after the housing victory, and there was a feeling of excitement and pride. Folks involved in different campaigns and causes gathered around the table, and had a conversation about the need for recognizing the intersections of all our identities and standing in solidarity with each others’ fights and struggles. We specifically discussed the relationship between education, women’s rights, and transit.

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Reminder: PPT’s monthly meetings are held the second Wednesday of every month at One Smithfield. All are welcome to attend. Take a look at our Transit Bill of Rights!

Final Vote on Housing Opportunity Fund Happening Dec 20th!

The final vote on the housing opportunity fund is happening tomorrow, December 20th at the City County Building (414 Grant Street) at 10am.

PPT supports the creation of this fund, especially based on the community control through the advisory board, the tenant protections, and the anti-displacement policies. However, we are very concerned that access to frequent transit went from being a “requirement” (in the legislation from July) to a “priority.” The current legislation requires that the funds go to affordable housing in “high opportunity” areas but that should explicitly be defined as areas with access to frequent transit and bikeable/walkable streets.

Please come to show your support for the fund and to share your concerns about the removal of the transit requirement language. Here’s the fb link to the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1418472964854321/?notif_t=plan_user_invited&notif_id=1482110823346224

Mifflin Estates Residents Call for Bus Service

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Residents in Mifflin Estates addressed the Port Authority Board Meeting on Friday, October 28th, 2016 and delivered powerful testimonies of their experiences and daily struggles with transit in their community. A resident of Garfield, Donna Lee Terry spoke in solidarity with them, drawing parallels between her own experience without weekend service in Garfield (prior to the success of the 89 Garfield campaign) and the experiences of residents in Mifflin Estates. The launch of this campaign was covered by the Post Gazette, the Trib, and The Incline.

Mifflin Estates consists of 201 units of affordable housing off of Camp Hollow Road in West Mifflin, near the Allegheny County Airport. Many folks do not have access to cars and have to walk over a mile on hilly, dangerous roads to get to the nearest bus stop. Recently, one person was seriously injured walking along that road. Residents feel stranded and isolated, and many have trouble getting to work, school, medical appointments and meeting basic daily needs.

This affects folks who are disabled, elderly, and those with young children.

Starr Magwood, a resident and mother of two children, described how difficult it was to enjoy activities with her kids and help them connect with things happening in their community and the world.  

Resident Maria Green said that she goes to daily radiation treatments for breast cancer, and because ACCESS limits riders to one trip a day, she is stranded afterwards in Mifflin Estates and has to depend on others for grocery shopping and getting to work. She moved to West Mifflin from Chicago to be with her grandchildren and has had to take a severe pay-cut because she is not able to work most shifts during the week.

A total of 90 residents have indicated their need for service, through a survey and meetings conducted by Pittsburghers for Public Transit. PPT is supporting this campaign and hopes the Port Authority can allocate current resources to extend service. The Y47, for example, could layover there instead of at CCAC South. PPT also expects that elected officials and supporters work to get more funding for public transit in all communities that need it.

Transit and mobility are basic necessities because without those, residents cannot connect with things they need in their lives. Everyone should be able to have safe, accessible, affordable transit. PPT stands with the residents of Mifflin Estates and other communities that still do not have access to this basic right.

 

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PPT Supports Quality and Affordable Housing near Transit Service

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On Tuesday, September 20th, residents from all over the city joined together to participate in a rally for housing as a human right. The rally was co-sponsored by the Northside Coalition for Fair Housing, Homes for All Pittsburgh, Coalition of Organized Residents of East Liberty, the Hill District Consensus Group, and Pittsburghers for Public Transit. Residents called for more equitable development to benefit all, an end to the displacement of families and people living in the city, and quality affordable homes for all people in Pittsburgh.

The rally began at Katz Plaza and ended at Market Square. Residents took to the streets and held major intersections downtown, drawing attention to the urgency and dire need for affordable housing in Pittsburgh.

The action took place the day before a public hearing on the Housing Opportunity Fund legislation before the city council. The legislation would allow for the creation of a housing fund that would provide ten million dollars a year for affordable housing in the city. Over 100 residents were present at the hearing and over 50 of them addressed council, mostly speaking in favor of the legislation. Many noted that while the legislation is far from perfect and a mere drop in the bucket, it is a necessary and important start. Pittsburgh has a deficit of over 20,000 homes, and while rents have been increasing in the past five years, incomes have remained stagnant. Affordable housing units are being torn down to make room for newer and more expensive developments, and lower income residents are being forced out of neighborhoods they’ve lived in for decades.

Some of the proposed changes to the legislation were the inclusion of tenant protections (including just cause evictions), a provision for mandating periodic health and safety checks (using some of the proposed fifteen percent administration fee), build first policies, full relocation benefits, and more priority given to those earning at or below thirty to fifty percent of area median income. Residents also pointed to the need for affordable housing located near good transit that already exists; several at the hearing spoke about the additional burden placed on those forced into areas where there are transit deserts and no way to meet their daily needs.  

It is clear that there is an affordable housing crisis in the city and something needs to be done immediately. While the legislation may not be perfect, it was clear from the hearing that there is overwhelming support from residents in the city.

To get involved in this campaign contact Molly at (412)216-9659 , email: molly@pittsburghforpublictransit.org

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