PPT Updates and Calls to Action

Mifflin Estates Transit Campaign Intensifies!

Thanks to the hard work of residents at Mifflin Estates, on March 7th, County Council put forth a motion to urge Port Authority to support the reinstating of bus service to the community. The motion was sponsored by Rep. Bob Macey who is the county council representative for West Mifflin. The motion was covered by The Trib.

Erica Fooks Speaking to County Council

Picture:Mifflin Estates resident Erica Fooks addressing county council

Resident Starr Magwood wrote a passionate letter addressed to county council:

“[Residents at Mifflin Estates have”] no choices but to uproot their families and find other housing, which is a struggle in its own. Left to catch a jitney or taxi.. or even worse, to take hike a mile and a half to the nearest bus stop. This mile an a half walk on an extremely dangerous and busy road…

That is a walk no one should be forced to take.

So what I want to know is, will you stand behind the residents to help us get Port Authority services back in our community?! As the councils that we elect, we would like to know what you can and will do to help us? ”

Residents will be speaking at the Port Authority board meeting on March 31st emphasizing the need for service to their community. Supporters from other campaigns and other PPT members will be there as well. If you are free and able to come out, please come show your support for Mifflin Estates! The board meeting will be on Friday, March 31st at 9:30 AM at 345 6th Avenue.

If you have any questions or are able to come, please call Chandana at 718-309-0853.

Transit Worker Appreciation Day

PPT celebrated transit worker appreciation day on March 21, 2017. Volunteers visited the Manchester Main Shop and the garages and gave out cards and candy to maintenance workers there. Volunteers were also downtown near the Wood Street T Station, handing out cards to riders waiting at bus stops and encouraging them to wish their drivers a Happy Transit Worker Appreciation Day!

We appreciate the opportunity to thank and honor the 2,000 public transit workers in Allegheny County who get riders to our destinations safely. These workers are out 365 days a year in rain, snow, ice, and frigid temperatures, as well as our hot summers. Bus operators collect fares, help riders find their way, handle safety issues, keep to a strict route schedule, and manage their way through traffic—along the steep and winding streets of our region. Maintenance workers maintain, repair, and clean the rails, buses, busways, stations, etc. These workers are the backbone of our transit system, and we are grateful for the work they do each day to keep Allegheny County moving.

PPT and Immigrant Rights Groups Bring Up Fare Change Policy Concerns at Port Authority Board Meeting

At the Port Authority Board meeting in February, immigrant rights groups expressed their concern about the new proof of payment policies to be implemented this summer and the effect the increased policing on the T will have on people of color and immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants.

PPT also spoke in support of their statements, and will be working alongside immigrant groups and the Alliance for Police Accountability on this issue. We are concerned about the role of police departments and ICE in the policing (and likely profiling) of riders on the T. The history of policing and racial injustice is serious and long, especially if there is insufficient training given to officers; examples abound in other cities with proof of payment. We are particularly worried about the impacts on undocumented immigrants, especially depending on Port Authority police’s relationship to ICE. PPT demands that police should be properly trained to prevent any kind of racial profiling. We need increased external accountability for Port Authority police action and decriminalization of fare evasion.

Penn Plaza Eviction Date Looms Closer

PPT has been working with the Penn Plaza Support and Action Group over the past several months to support residents there who are being displaced from their homes. Our neighbors and elders are being forced to leave their homes and communities to make room for luxury apartments and Whole Foods. They are moving to places with inadequate public transit, and  we say no to this displacement!

On March 9th, residents and members of the support group took to the streets in East Liberty to call out developers and the city for their role in this, setting up a living room in the intersection and demanding justice:

Picture: Penn Plaza residents set up living room at intersection

Residents are facing an eviction date of March 31st (this coming Friday). There will be a Penn Plaza Matters!: Memorial March Against Gentrification this Saturday, April 1st at noon at Penn and Centre. We will be marching from there, visiting various locations in East Liberty and ending at Penn Plaza. It will be a march to acknowledge the trauma of displacement but also an honoring of the resilience of the residents and a call to action to stop gentrification and demand housing for all.

Please attend if you are able. If you have any questions or need transportation, please call Chandana at (718) 309-0853.

Public Meetings Begin for BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) Plans

Public meetings are being held for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), a large transportation project that has been in discussion for years. Different infrastructure layouts and service plans will be presented.

The Port Authority, City, and County are asking for public input on transit infrastructure between downtown and Oakland. They are proposing bus dedicated lanes, bike lanes, new bus stations and stops, and all electric vehicles.

They are also asking for input on changes to the service patterns in this corridor and beyond. This will primarily affect everyone who rides the 61s and 71s, but will have an impact on the entire system.

There will be a community meeting in East Liberty on Thursday March 30th, 6-8 pm, Eastminster Presbyterian Church, 250 Highland Ave. PPT members have specifically been invited to this meeting to hear a presentation and ask questions.

There will be a larger public meeting on Wed April 5th, noon to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Alumni Hall in Oakland: 4227 Fifth Ave.

PPT is working to understand these proposals and the impact they will have on all riders. There could be good opportunities here, but there are also many concerns about transfers, accessibility, cost, relationship to development, and more. We will keep you all updated on what we are hearing from members and riders.

We encourage people to check out the website and presentation, attend one of the public meetings, and take the survey. For years, we’ve been asking for more transparency and opportunities for public engagement on this project. Let’s make sure we get our voices and perspectives heard now.

Life on Liberty

Envision Downtown is working on a pilot project to improve Liberty Ave. PPT is helping to get the word out about the project and to get public input.

Please take this survey now to indicate what you’d like to see on Liberty Ave downtown! Ideas include extending the narrow sidewalks for pedestrians and transit riders, decreasing the crossing distance at intersections, and creating bus lanes.

Any questions, let us know!

New Coordinating Committee Elected for PPT

Congratulations to our new coordinating committee:

Dean Mougianis
Debra Short
Jonah McAllister-Erickson
Laura Wiens
Lisa Gonzalez
Mel Packer
Nick Coles
Starr Magwood
Sue Scanlon
Tom Conroy
Tony Lodico

We have an amazing group of folks at PPT. Thanks to the coordinating committee and every single member for your hard work and continued involvement!

Upcoming Events:

BRT Public Meeting in East Liberty: Thursday March 30th from 6pm-8pm at Eastminster Presbyterian Church (250 Highland Ave)

Port Authority Board Meeting: Friday, March 31st at 9:30AM at 345 Sixth Avenue (please come out in support of residents at Mifflin Estates!)

Penn Plaza Matters: Memorial March Against Gentrification: Saturday, April 1st at 12:00pm at Penn and Centre (by Target)

BRT City-wide Public Meeting: Wednesday, April 5th from noon-2pm and 4pm-7pm at Alumni Hall in Oakland (4227 Fifth Avenue)

April Meeting for PPT: Wednesday, April 12th at 7:00PM at 1 Smithfield