“Mon-Oakland Connector” Proposed Autonomous Vehicle Requires Closer Scrutiny

*Image of trees, Hazelwood Green (Almano) site, bridge and the Cathedral of Learning by Darrell Sapp, photographer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

A public meeting to discuss the possibilities for the Mon Oakland connector raised some serious concerns about the lack of transparency around goals, the fact that this service threatens to compete with Port Authority rather than enhance it, and that there is no talk about the impact of autonomous vehicles on transit jobs. There is also no public discussion about costs to taxpayers (particularly the cost per rider), and the lack of accountability inherent to public-private partnerships.

PPT member Jonah McCallister-Erickson was quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the project. “Jonah McAllister, spokesman for Pittsburghers for Public Transit, likes the idea of faster connections for Hazelwood, Greenfield and Oakland, and says the plan has gotten better after two years of citizen input. But he’d like to see more involvement of the Port Authority because public-private partnerships ‘could slowly starve the greater system,’ Mr. McAllister said.” 

The City of Pittsburgh is calling for feedback about the proposed “Mon-Oakland connector” at this email address: 4milerun.mobility@pittsburghpa.gov by March 6th. The website also has a presentation with their proposed routing and a chart showing the City’s preference for autonomous microtransit vehicles over buses.

We encourage folks to write to 4milerun.mobility@pittsburghpa.gov, particularly to ask why the Port Authority is not being invited to be a key planning entity in this process.