Transportation Challenges Rife As Pittsburgh Focuses On Making Fixes

Lori Minetti often feels stranded in her Carrick home.

The closest bus stop used to be across the street. Now it’s almost a mile away, because Port Authority of Allegheny County eliminated the 50 Spencer route four years ago.

She walks one of the farthest distances a city resident must go to catch a bus. It seems even farther to Minetti, who has an arthritic back.

“It’s kind of cloistered me,” said Minetti, 48, a former temp for Downtown companies who no longer works. Her husband uses the couple’s only car for his job as a maintenance worker in Munhall.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/7724350-74/million-transportation-pittsburgh#ixzz3Xo8paJ9t
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Montco Commissioners Kick Off Second Phase Of Lafayette Street Extension Project

NORRISTOWN, PA – The first phase has been completed, and now the second phase of a road project that will eventually connect Norristown to the Pennsylvania Turnpike will begin.

Despite the cold on Wednesday, the Montgomery County commissioners broke ground on the $12.9 million second phase of the project, which will extend Lafayette Street to Diamond Avenue in Plymouth Township. The second phase will also reconstruct and widen Diamond Avenue from the Pennsylvania Turnpike bridge to the Norristown border at Ross Street.

“Many of us were here together months ago when we kicked off phase one of the Lafayette Street extension project. Today we’re here to talk about ramping up phase two of the Lafayette Street extension project,” commissioners’ Chairman Josh Shapiro told a crowd of county employees and local officials involved in the project.

Shapiro told the group that they will begin to see traffic slow down as the second phase makes its way through its expected completion date of spring 2017, but he added there will not be detours on Ridge Pike in Plymouth Township.

Read more:

http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20150408/commissioners-kick-off-second-phase-of-lafayette-street-extension-project

Vote Clears The Way For Food Trucks In York City

Free-market ideology narrowly overpowered fears of the unknown Tuesday with the York City Council’s 3-2 vote to legalize and regulate food trucks on city streets.

The decision marks the end of a long and sometimes divisive debate over the financial impact roving restaurants could have on traditional brick-and-mortar establishments.

Where some saw food trucks as a potential boon for a growing downtown business landscape, others saw a potentially diluted customer base wreaking havoc on profit margins.

In the end, mobile food proponents got what they’d asked for and more.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/ci_27869256/vote-clears-way-food-trucks-york-city

The Lonely Road To Work

The vice president of finance spends his time doing it listening to the radio, most preferably BBC Radio 2, the station he grew used to listening to when living in the United Kingdom.

The attorney recalls doing work and reading the paper while so engaged, except for the time that someone died.

The contractor said he was able to sleep and hold a book at the same time while he was doing it, and the construction supervisor has learned to calculate the amount of time he’ll be involved in it down to the minute — depending on the time of day he gets started.

What is it? The mundane but almost necessary practice of commuting to work.

Read more:

http://www.dailylocal.com/general-news/20150314/the-lonely-road-to-work

Five Years After Opening, Crime From Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem Isn’t The Factor Some Feared

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bethlehem police Chief Mark DiLuzio remembers the critics.

Debates raged about whether Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem would be a benefit or detriment to the city and its surrounding communities. DiLuzio, then a police lieutenant, gave in to his detective spirit and researched the subject.

Much of what he found indicated casinos were not a hotbed of criminal activity.

Five years later, DiLuzio is now chief of police — and he’s happy to report that he was right.

Read more:  http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2014/05/crime_not_a_major_factor_five.html

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Interstate 70 Modernization Projects To Move Highway Into 21st Century

Belle Vernon/ Speers Bridge

Belle Vernon/ Speers Bridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  This road was a death-trap when I was living in the Mon Valley back in the 1970’s.  Glad it only took 40 years for PennDot to realize it!

A grassy mound in the backyard of Melvin “Bucky” Walkush’s childhood home is the only visible reminder of the popular carhop restaurant that served the best pizza he’s ever tasted.

It was the 1950s. Elvis topped the charts. Ike was in the White House. The Ford Thunderbird was one of the hottest cars around.

And the New 71 Barbeque along old state Route 71 in North Belle Vernon, owned by Walkush’s brother Joe and his wife, Adeline, was the place to stop for anyone using the highway linking Greensburg and Washington, Pa.

The restaurant is gone now, and the stretch of Route 71 that Walkush, 84, remembers was decommissioned in the 1960s to become part of Interstate 70 between New Stanton and Washington.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/5870537-74/washington-walkush-highway#ixzz32BzJh8u9
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$300M Being Pumped Into I-81Between Wilkes-Barre And Scranton

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christopher Santizo faces a challenge every time he drives to class at Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke.

The 29-year-old graphic design and advertising student who commutes from Duryea, said construction on Interstate 81 routinely has made it difficult to get to class on time.

“I’ve been everywhere from stopped to 45 miles per hour,” he said.

He is among an estimated 70,000 drivers who traverse a half-dozen Pennsylvania Department of Transportation construction projects totaling more than $100 million between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. Upon completion of those projects, PennDOT will begin widening the highway near Scranton to the tune of $174 million — ensuring years of additional construction zones.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1333853/Endless-I-81-construction-tests-drivers-patience

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Planner: Despite $90 Million Cost, Route 222 Widening Not A Return To Big PennDOT Projects

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friday evening, just as it is most evenings, traffic was backed up as drivers coming from U.S. 30 waited to merge onto Route 222 in Manheim Township.

Friday morning, just as it is most weekday mornings, the Route 222 traffic backed up merging onto U.S. 30.

The situation is nothing new to PennDOT.

With additional money coming from the new state transportation law, state Transportation Department officials will soon begin looking for ways to address the problem.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/conestogavalley/news/planner-despite-million-cost-route-widening-not-a-return-to/article_de7c88b6-bc32-11e3-a1a1-001a4bcf6878.html

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Last Year’s Gridlock Looms Large Over Pirates’ Opener

PNC Park

PNC Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fans arriving for Opening Day on Monday will be getting an earlier start to tailgating around PNC Park, and so will police hoping to avoid last year’s gridlock — but not by much.

Police spokeswoman Sonya Toler said officers assigned to ease congestion and operate signals at the busiest intersections will start arriving at their posts at 10:30 a.m., at least 45 minutes earlier than last year.

But this year’s first pitch is about a half-hour earlier, about 1 p.m. Parking lots and garages open to tailgaters at 9 a.m., and the ballpark gates open at 11. Officials urge fans to have patience, use mass transit or park farther away from the ball field.

“If people can curtail their excitement with a little bit of patience, we’ll be able to help them get where they need to go,” Toler said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/5830137-74/parking-pirates-fans#ixzz2xYokJ1U5
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Storm Causes Big Problems; 1 Dead In Crash

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich http://www.flickr.com/photos/10396190@N04 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The large storm that blew through overnight – churning up high winds and causing local flooding – is causing major traffic problems early on throughout the Philadelphia regions on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

A string of crashes, one deadly, were reported through the night and into the early morning. Airports have also begun reporting delays and canceling flights due to the weather.

One person was killed in a crash shortly before 5 a.m. on the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76) at West Girard Ave., severely impacting traffic. It was not clear if weather was the main factor, but flooding was reported on the roadway prior to the crash.

Indeed, the expressway was closed eastbound and westbound at Montgomery Drive because of flooding. Police were being asked to prevent motorists from getting on at the nearby entrance ramps.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Noreasters_winds_rain_impacting_commute.html#mBMC5O16HHDpHVKp.99

Golden Triangle Triage: 5 PennDOT Options For Easing Traffic And Improving Safety At Manheim Township Intersection

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Think the intersection at Golden Triangle is a mess?

If so, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation agrees.

PennDOT hired an engineering firm to figure out how to improve the intersection at Lititz and Oregon pikes, Fordney Road and the Golden Triangle shopping center.

The state is prepared to spend between $300,000 and $1 million on construction, signals, signs and restriping of lanes to make traffic flow more smoothly and safely through the intersection.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/911475_Golden-Triangle-triage–5-PennDOT-options-for-easing-traffic-and-improving-safety-at-Manheim-Township-intersection.html#ixzz2j8sqjmCv

Large Logan Square Project Approved

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PHILADELPHIA – Development in the fast-changing area around Logan Square will pick up momentum after Wednesday’s final zoning approval of a $140 million project featuring a new Whole Foods market and 293 high-end apartments.

Rodin Square, named after developer Neal Rodin, is coincidentally located a block north of the Rodin Museum. It will replace the current Best Western hotel.

The project will take up almost all of the block between 21st and 22d Streets to the east and west, Spring Garden Street to the north, and Pennsylvania Avenue and Hamilton Street to the south.

Rodin, chairman of International Financial Co. L.L.C., said he expected to break ground in January or February. Construction could take two years, he added.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20131010_Massive_Logan_Square_rental-commercial_project_approved.html#7Vpr12Bz3dkhmWXb.99

Proposal Will Make Downtown Pittsburgh Core Totally Bus-Free

Locator map with the Central Business District...

Locator map with the Central Business District neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Port Authority has begun working on a plan to remove buses and bus stops from the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh.

The plan, backed by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and the city’s presumptive mayor-to-be, Bill Peduto, would relocate routes and stops toward the edges of the Golden Triangle, creating what Mr. Fitzgerald called “a zone in the core of Downtown that is bus-free.”

Details have not been worked out and Mr. Fitzgerald said the changes aren’t likely until sometime next year. “We don’t want to rush into it and not do it right,” he said.

Mr. Peduto said he envisions a circular route pattern using wider streets toward the edges of Downtown rather than having buses coming from four different directions and turning around in the middle of town.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/proposal-will-make-downtown-pittsburgh-core-totally-bus-free-706169/#ixzz2glvcd970

Union Township Wants Racetrack Developers To Pay For Route 724 Upgrades

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After months of discussing potential traffic nightmares, Union Township supervisors want the developers of a proposed motorsports park to abide by PennDOT-required improvements to Route 724.

The issue arose after representatives from Ethan Michael Inc., developer of the proposed Liberty Bell Motorsports Park, asked to remove a potential campground site from the original land development plan.

The plan was submitted more than a decade ago, and the campground site no longer meets Department of Environmental Protection requirements due to recently identified exceptional-value wetlands.

EMI hopes to continue with the motorsports park portion and potentially revisit the campground plan.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=515096

Lafayette Street Corridor Groundbreaking Set For Monday In Norristown

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN ­­— A groundbreaking ceremony for the first contract to extend Lafayette Street into Plymouth and widen it to four lanes will be held at 2 p.m. Monday at Ford and Lafayette streets.

The $11.5 million contract with Allan A. Myers Inc. of Worcester will extend the existing Lafayette Street from Ford Street to Conshohocken Road. The 0.6-mile extension will have two lanes in each direction and a 12-foot landscaped median in the center.

“We are building a new road bridge over Ross Street for Lafayette Street.  Ross Street is where the Schuylkill River Trail crosses under the Norfolk Southern railway bridge,” said Leo Bagley, the assistant director of the Montgomery County Planning Commission.  “We are building a noise wall from Ross Street toward Conshohocken Road to protect the residences on Ross Street and Chestnut Street in Plymouth.”

The Schuylkill River Trail will be relocated and rebuilt next to the Lafayette Street extension, where it will serve as a sidewalk for the roadway. Trail users around the Ross Street crossing may be affected by limited closures for bridge work.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/article/20130907/NEWS01/130909732/lafayette-street-corridor-groundbreaking-set-for-monday-in-norristown#full_story

Labor Day Traffic Jams Could Be Daily Occurrence By The 2020s, Study Says

The traffic jams we can anticipate on highways like Route 22 this holiday weekend will plague American highways routinely by as soon as 2020 without increases in traffic capacity or other solutions, according to a travel-industry study.

In a report released Thursday, the U.S. Travel Association joins a growing list of engineers, contractors and other business interests, as well as federal and state agencies and officials, urging Congress and state governments to add new lanes and new highways. Long lead times for planning, design, environmental and other permitting before construction begins emphasize the need for early project starts.

“At current rates of highway-traffic growth, unless additional capacity … is created through expansion of existing infrastructure, new facilities or innovative techniques, the typical day will approach Labor Day peaks” of frustrating traffic jams, concludes the study by consultant Cambridge Systems Inc.

Though none of the interstates in the Lehigh Valley region are among the 16 segments used in the examination, the roads’ geographical diversity suggests that “together, they provide a reliable snapshot of the growing congestion on America’s highways” generally, according to U.S. Travel.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-road-congestion-labor-day-20130901,0,4247270.story#ixzz2dkwrwOsz
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Price Tag For Fixing I-83 Congestion Is Out Of Reach

Locator map of the Harrisburg metro area in th...

Locator map of the Harrisburg metro area in the south central part of the of . Red denotes the Harrisburg-Carlisle Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the Lebanon Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Harrisburg-Carlisle-Lebanon CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re jumping onto Interstate 83 North using the New Cumberland ramp, just south of the 83 split, there’s a secret to surviving the experience.

For the uninitiated, the ramp starts at a stoplight and heads up a small hill, blindly leading drivers onto a congested, two-lane highway.  The merge zone can be measured in hands, not feet.

The key is to hammer the accelerator heading up the ramp, and whisper a silent prayer that a gold Buick isn’t stopped at the top.

If you time it right, you’ll hit highway speeds about the same time as you hit the road, which, if everything goes according to plan, allows you to slip into traffic between two tractor-trailers.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/08/i-83_york_split_eisenhower_int.html#incart_flyout_news

PennDOT To Start $22M Rebuild Of I-83 York Split

Five years ago, and after a string of crashes, officials pledged to do something about the Interstate 83 York split.

Each day, like clockwork, traffic builds along this vital link among Harrisburg, the West Shore, York and points south. It’s one of the most congested and dangerous stretches of highway in the midstate.

On Monday, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will start rolling out the first phase of a two-year, $22 million project to rebuild the I-83 York split in Cumberland County.  Nighttime lane restrictions are expected to begin Aug. 12 and last for three weeks, as work crews prepare the site for construction.

PennDOT is hosting a meeting about the project on Aug. 28 at Cedar Cliff High School.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/08/i-83_york_split_penndot_conges.html#incart_m-rpt-2

SEPTA Mulls Rail Service To King Of Prussia, Valley Forge

SEPTA logo with text

SEPTA logo with text (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  This only makes sense. There are a tremendous number of jobs in King of Prussia/Valley Forge.  Rail service would encourage people to use mass transit who otherwise drive and don’t currently view the Norristown R6 or the High Speed Line as an option.  It could also be a precursor to extending service further west toward Pottstown.

WILL THOUSANDS OF workers finally be able to ride high-speed rail to King of Prussia and Valley Forge instead of a bus that relies on the Jekyll/Hyde, highway to heaven/hell, Russian-roulette insanity of I-76 traffic?

SEPTA will reveal plans for long-awaited rail service to King of Prussia Mall and Valley Forge at a four-hour public meeting tomorrow.

Several alternative extensions of the Norristown High Speed Line to King of Prussia and Valley Forge will be presented.  Public comment is invited.

This “scoping meeting” at the Radisson Hotel Valley Forge – open house at 4 p.m.; presentation at 6 p.m. – is an early stage of the federal process for new-start rail service.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20130715_SEPTA_mulls_rail_service_to_King_of_Prussia__Valley_Forge.html#ZJcEo1i9KeQpPV41.99