O'Hara officials unhappy about bus stop elimination near RIDC Park

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Automobile 3 weeks ago

O’Hara officials say they had a simple request for Port Authority: Move bus stops for the  P10 Allegheny Flyer from potentially dangerous locations on the exit ramps from Route 28 at the RIDC industrial park into the park itself.

Instead, they say, the agency will eliminate the bus stops used by local residents and substitute service to the industrial park during the morning and evening rush hours. The changes begin Nov. 24.

“What they did is not what we proposed,” said Julie Jakubec, township manager. “That service was eliminated.”

The authority said it agreed the stops were unsafe and suggested neighborhood riders parking in inappropriate places such as the nearby Comfort Inn parking lot travel to the Harmar park-and-ride five miles away. Direct trips it is adding to the industrial park should serve riders who work there, authority spokesman Adam Brandolph said.

The issue began last spring, when township officials expressed concern about the bus dropping off passengers along the ramps in an area without sidewalks, where some walk one direction into the industrial park and others walk into the nearby neighborhood.

“The stop leaves riders in a difficult location where they tend to cross and walk along an active ramp that drivers use to exit southbound Route 28,” Ms. Jakubec wrote about the inbound stop in a May 28 letter to the authority. “We believe this places riders in a difficult situation.”

At the outbound stop, “We are concerned that riders are being forced to traverse roads and that it is possible for there to be a vehicle/pedestrian accident.”

The township also asked the authority to consider having Route 1, which drops passengers on Freeport Road, and Route 75, which stops on Old Freeport Road, to do a quick loop through the industrial park. Proposed changes to the three routes would have added as little as four minutes to the travel time for the buses, the township estimated.

No changes were made on Route 1 and Route 75.

Charles Vogel, vice president of O’Hara council, asked the authority to table the changes when its board of directors met last month. He said he takes the bus from the industrial park to Downtown Pittsburgh daily and others use it to get to jobs there.

“I take the bus because I think it’s convenient and it’s the right thing to do,” Mr. Vogel said. “A lot of [RIDC workers] don’t have cars. They need the bus to get to work.”

In an interview, Ms. Jakubec called the industrial park “a huge employment center. We have companies hiring like crazy up there.”

Mr. Brandolph said after the township filed its concern the agency had “an obligation” to review the stops and eliminate them when they were deemed unsafe. Those who were parking improperly or dropping off riders near the ramps “could just as easily drive to a park-and-ride lot where it’s free” and safer.

“At RIDC, they have asked for additional service. No question about that,” he said. “We think we have provided that with the P10 Limited.”

That new service will have three trips leaving the industrial park on weekdays at 4:30, 5:03 and 5:28 a.m. from Gamma Drive near Zoll Driveway and three outbound trips leaving from Gateway 4 in Downtown Pittsburgh at 6:28, 6:48 and 7:08 p.m.

Ed Blazina: eblazina@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1470 or on Twitter @EdBlazina.

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