On Wednesday, June 25th, Pittsburghers for Public Transit (PPT) launched a grassroots planning tool for transit riders and residents to envision better public transit for the Mon Valley and Eastern Suburbs. This innovative transit mapping tool, entitled Beyond the East Busway, emerges from the belief that those most impacted by planning decisions are best-suited to design solutions for their communities. In tandem with this participatory planning tool, PPT is launching its first Community Organizing Fellowship, with a paid cohort of 8 resident leaders from the Eastern Suburbs and Mon Valley who will facilitate campaign outreach.
Beyond the East Busway is a first-of-its-kind tool designed by CivicMapper, and will be accessible at eastbusway.pittsburghforpublictransit.org through September 2019. Residents and transit riders in those communities will plan where rapid bus corridors beyond the East Busway should be aligned, and identify important places underserved by transit in their regions. PPT will use the outcomes of this work to advocate for the funding, design, and implementation of these transit improvements through the Southwest PA Commission and the Port Authority. Both of these agencies have named the extension of the East Busway to Monroeville and McKeesport as transportation priorities in recent reports (SmartMoves For a Changing Region, long-range plan by Southwestern Pa Commission: Final Report of the Southwestern PA Partnership for Mobility, co-chaired by Port Authority CEO Katharine Kelleman)
The Beyond the East Busway Organizing Fellows will help facilitate hundreds of residents to use this tool, and to educate residents on why these rapid transit corridors could be transformative for residents and businesses. Those interested in participating in the second cohort can submit their applications by July 19th (information and application here).
PPT encourages all residents and transit users in the Mon Valley and Eastern Suburbs to take the Beyond the East Busway tool, and identify their public transit priorities: eastbusway.pittsburghforpublictransit.org
In 2018 PPT launched the Riders’ Vision for Public Transit in partnership with Mon Valley Initiative and Just Harvest. The ‘Riders’ Vision’ was created by dozens of transit riders and operators from across Allegheny County, to identify key opportunities for growing ridership and equity within our public transit system. One key plank called for the extension the East Busway to Monroeville and McKeesport. The East Busway is the most efficient way to travel within Port Authority’s transit system, but the benefits of its fast, frequent and reliable transit service don’t extend to these outlying communities. With some relatively inexpensive on- street improvements, residents and workers in the Mon Valley and Eastern Suburbs could get fast and reliable access into the transit network.
Beyond the East Busway is funded in large part by the Heinz Endowments.