Pittsburgh’s Controversial Plan to Make Downtown “Bus Free”

Transit riders in the city of Pittsburgh were alarmed last week when the Post-Gazette reported a plan to make the city’s downtown “bus free.”

Supporters of a plan to reroute Pittsburgh's buses around the core of downtown say the plan will improve bus service. Image: ##http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/proposal-will-make-downtown-pittsburgh-core-totally-bus-free-706169/## Post-Gazette##

The proposal has been under discussion between officials from the Port Authority, the Allegheny County Executive, the city’s likely next mayor — City Council Member Bill Peduto — and a group of downtown business owners. It would involve rerouting all city bus routes that terminate downtown into a tight circulator route around the core of the city. Bus riders would walk the remaining blocks on foot.

Network blog Systemic Failure panned the idea, echoing a common complaint that the plan is an attempt to keep transit riders out of sight:

People who ride buses are total losers, so the businesses in downtown Pittsburgh don’t want them hanging out in front of their properties.

Public transit has a 38.4% mode share in downtown Pittsburgh. That is pretty good for an American city. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

But Peduto says the plan could improve bus service. Because Pittsburgh’s actual downtown area is fairly small, he says, a circulator route would generally put bus riders within three blocks of their destinations and would eliminate the need for buses to turn around downtown. Peduto, who has impressed national transportation advocates with some of his ideas on transportation, also indicated that the move could be the first step toward making the central part of downtown totally car-free.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Transport Providence presents a “conservative case for transportation reform in Rhode Island.” UrbanABQ makes a compelling argument for a road diet in Albuquerque. And Reinventing Parking examines the oft-cited statistic that 30 percent of traffic is drivers searching for a parking space.


Today’s Headlines

Detroit’s Transit Tax Proposal Flounders (Detroit News) DC Metro Boss Proposes Slashing Late-Night Hours (Washington City Paper) Ruling Expected Today for Route 66 BRT (KRQE) How a Reimagined I-94 Could Reconnect Twin Cities (Fast Lane) Maryland’s Purple Line to Get Funding Sign-Off Next Week (WaPo) Why Portland Took So Long on Bike-Share (City Lab) Plans Advance to Improve […]

Pittsburgh and Bill Peduto Get Cracking on Downtown Bike Lanes

Big things are happening in Pittsburgh. Last year, the city elected new mayor Bill Peduto, who came into office with a bold message about remaking the city’s streets. Pittsburgh was then chosen this spring as one of six focus cities where the Green Lane Project will help fast track high-quality bike infrastructure. Peduto wants to make progress […]