Protected bike lanes along Penn Avenue saw more than 24,000 bike trips in May, according to figures the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership release Thursday.
The bike lanes, installed in September 2014, eliminated a lane for vehicles with bollards along the route. Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership in mid-April installed three mechanical counters across the width of the bike lane on the 600, 900, and 1200 blocks of Penn Avenue to track usage.
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Work on the “Gap Bottleneck Project” is beginning to pick up, with a new traffic pattern established this week in the project area in eastern Lancaster County.
The new work is another step in the overall $9.9 million project that’s set for completion in October 2016.
For now, the new pattern is in place during overnight hours in the area of the Route 30/Route 41 project, the state Transportation Department announced.
A concrete barrier is being installed along the north side of Route 30 just east of the intersection with 41.
Lancaster County officials aren’t the only ones expressing concern over oil trains passing through communities along the Susquehanna River.
Harrisburg City Council Tuesday night passed a resolution that urges Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve the designs of rail cars that carry explosive crude oil across the country and through populated areas.
The resolution also urged rail companies to replace their fleet of oil tank cars with improved models. And the measure asked the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to help local emergency responders better prepare for the possibility of an oil-train accident.
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.
On sparsely traveled back roads across Lancaster County, more than two dozen narrow, unassuming bridges built in a simpler era are showing their age.
Concrete is weathered and cracking. The decks are no longer safe for even moderate loads.
The Lancaster County commissioners are addressing the problem by turning to impact fee revenue from natural gas drillers. As of February, the county had $2.2 million available, said county engineer Scott Russell of Rettew Associates.
The commissioners are counting on continuing impact fee revenue to help fund the replacement or repair of nearly all 44 county-owned concrete or steel bridges over the next five years.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will start or continue several major projects on local roads and bridges this year as it spends an estimated $272 million to give drivers a smoother, safer ride.
There will be plenty of inconvenience on the way in District 11, which includes Allegheny Beaver and Lawrence counties. PennDOT officials at a briefing this morning stressed the importance of safe driving, including adhering to work zone speed limits.
Specific announcements of road and bridge closures or restrictions will come as the events draw nearer, officials said.
Northeastern Pennsylvania public transit riders may eventually take buses directly between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, rather than having to transfer to a different bus in Pittston to make the trip.
Lackawanna and Luzerne County officials envision new travel options — like a direct bus link between the cities — among many benefits of merging several mass transit agencies in both counties into a single Lackawanna-Luzerne Regional Transportation Authority.
The state Department of Transportation hired consultant HNTB Corp. to study the move, which would create the state’s third largest transportation authority. The cost of the study was not available Monday.
If it happens, Lackawanna and Luzerne county officials foresee having more clout to attract state and federal grant money to improve Northeastern Pennsylvania’s transportation network for buses, the region’s growing rail industry and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.
King of Prussia, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) was among 15 recipients of the first-ever Star Award from Communities in Motion, a Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF) foundation. The award recognizes projects, plans and people who demonstrate leadership in sustainability planning and implementation.
Specifically, Communities in Motion recognized MCCC for its leadership and advocacy as a charter signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and for its sustainability work in the areas of transportation, waste minimization, energy and purchasing.
Associate Vice President for Facilities and Construction Jaime Garrido and Executive Director of Government Relations and Special Events Peggy Lee-Clark accepted the award on behalf of MCCC.
“Congratulations to our first ever Communities in Motion Stars recipients. We are honored to be able to recognize such wonderful organizations, individuals and local communities who are improving our communities of today so that they can be enjoyed now and well into the future. As Communities in Motion continues to grow and expand our programming, we are looking forward to continuing to work with our “stars” so that we can showcase their leadership and use their examples to continue to keep us all in motion.” said Rob Henry, CEO, Communities in Motion.
In addition to MCCC, other Communities in Motion Star Award recipients included the Borough of Phoenixville, Cheltenham Township, Chester County, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, King of Prussia District, Macerich – Tysons Corner Center, Montgomery County, Philadelphia Premium Outlets, the Borough of Pottstown, Saving Hallowed Ground, SEPTA, Simon, URS Corporation, and Vanguard.
Submission categories included building; development; green infrastructure; leadership/advocacy; marketing and promotion of a project; park, recreation or open space project; physical improvements; and planning.
To learn more about Communities in Motion, visit movingyou.org.
Since signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, Montgomery County Community College has put into place policies and procedures to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. As a result of its efforts, MCCC is a two-time recipient of Second Nature’s national Climate Leadership Award. To learn more about MCCC’s sustainability initiative, visit mc3green.wordpress.com.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike has revived plans to replace the Allegheny Tunnels in Somerset County, a project that has been talked about for nearly two decades.
The turnpike commission is considering six options for abandoning the 6,070-foot-long tunnels, longest on the turnpike mainline. Three would involve building new tunnels and three would carve an open highway through the mountain either to the north or south of the existing tunnels.
Preliminary cost estimates for the “cut” options range from $242 million to $345 million, while estimates for the tunnel options range from $537 million to $694 million, according to turnpike consultant L.R. Kimball. Annual maintenance costs for a tunnel would exceed $3 million, several times what an open highway segment would cost.
Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo said the cost differential was just one of several factors the commission will consider in choosing a preferred option, possibly in the spring.
In another blow to Atlantic City, United Airlines will end flights in and out of Atlantic City International Airport on Dec. 3, saying the service to Chicago and Houston did not meet expectations.
United, based in Chicago, arrived to great fanfare eight months ago – celebratory balloons, beach umbrellas, and praise from officials including Gov. Christie – when it launched daily nonstop service April 1 to Chicago’s O’Hare and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airports.
United was the first major carrier to begin new passenger service in several years at the airport in Egg Harbor Township.
Drivers relying on Route 100 or 422 to get around next week should plan some extra time for their commute.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Route 100 North will be reduced to one lane between Worthington Road and Route 113 in Uwchlan from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 13-17. The lane closure is due to road widening in the area and is part of a $17.4 million project to add a lane to the highway in each direction.
PennDOT said slowdowns will occur when traffic is restricted to one lane during construction. The contractor’s schedule is weather dependent.
Northeastern Pennsylvania will get nearly $500 million more than expected for transportation projects over the next 12 years.
In 2012, area planners expected to spend $1.56 billion on transportation infrastructure in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wyoming, Wayne, Pike and Susquehanna counties from 2013 through 2025, state Department of Transportation spokesman Michael Taluto said.
Gov. Tom Corbett signed the new transportation funding package in November, and transportation planners in the six counties recently allocated $2.03 billion to largely fix up the area’s roads and bridges from 2015 through 2027.
King of Prussia, Pa.— For the fourth consecutive year, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) earned a platinum-level sustainability award from the Greater Valley Forge Management Association (GVF) on Sept. 8 during the organization’s annual Sustainability Breakfast. MCCC was one of 32 organizations recognized for sustainability efforts in 2014.
MCCC partners with GVF to operate a campus shuttle service between its Blue Bell and Pottstown campuses and, for the first time this fall, between its Blue Bell campus and Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale. Last year, more than 10,400 riders took advantage of the free, 20-passenger shuttle, which is equipped with wi-fi to support student success.
On Earth Day 2014, MCCC and GVF introduced a new vehicle that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG), which, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, will further reduce emissions by 11 tons of carbon dioxide over the next year based on the 28,560 miles driven and 3,483 gallons of diesel fuel used in 2013. Prior to the introduction of the CNG vehicle, MCCC’s shuttle program helped to eliminate approximately 54,527 metric tons of carbon emissions and reduce vehicle usage by 522,144 miles annually.
In addition to the shuttle program, MCCC also employs Zimride, an industry leading rideshare service that provides a safe and easy way for students and staff to arrange carpooling through college community network that fully integrates with Facebook. Since launching Zimride in 2011, MCCC’s network has logged 1,461,492 carpool miles.
At the College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell, drivers of electric, hybrid, and conventional vehicles that average 25 MPG or greater, as well as carpoolers and shuttle riders, have the opportunity to park in a designated, convenient 185-space parking lot adjacent to the Advanced Technology Center. Electric vehicle charging stations are available in the Green Lot, as well as in the South Hall parking lot at the West Campus in Pottstown.
Other transportation initiatives include a Segway program for public safety officers in Pottstown, electric and hybrid vehicles for public safety and facilities staff in Blue Bell, and an increased effort to promote bicycle accessibility at all MCCC locations.
Since signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, Montgomery County Community College has put into place policies and procedures to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. As a result of its efforts, MCCC is a two-time recipient of Second Nature’s national Climate Leadership Award. To learn more about MCCC’s sustainability initiative, visit http://www.mc3green.wordpress.com.
Editor’s note: When we were on assignment in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, we stayed across the street from the Mall at Robinson and walked right by these very charging stations. Should have taken a picture….drat! Oh well, hindsight is 20/20 but if you read the whole article the Post Gazette took a nice picture for your viewing pleasure.
In the parking lot outside the food court at the Mall at Robinson, a silver Chevy Volt sat in a space painted with a green and white electric vehicle decal, waiting for a jolt. Inside, representatives from Eaton and Wesco gathered by a gray kiosk that monitors the amount of energy being generated by the new 8 kilowatt solar panels on top of the mall.
By 11 a.m. the panels had generated 4.11 kw of energy, enough to power 46 laptops. They also generated enough power to give an electric car a full charge in two hours. That’s a perk for hybrid drivers because the mall’s newest car charging stations are connected to the panels.
The charging stations were officially unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, but they have been operational since June. Beth Edwards, the mall’s general manager, said she has been surprised by the response.
“I’ve seen several cars using it. We actually had a mall walker who went out and bought an electric car so they could charge it when they’re walking in the mall,” she said.
HARRISBURG — A stretch of Interstate 380 becomes an experiment next month when state transportation officials boost the maximum speed limit to 70 mph.
Another pilot will raise the speed limit to 70 mph on a 100-mile stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in southcentral Pennsylvania. If all goes well, the rest of the 550-mile toll road system, including the Northeast Extension, could follow suit next spring, said Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton at a press conference on Wednesday.
On I-380, a 21-mile section selected for the pilot program will extend from the Interstate 84 junction in Lackawanna County to Exit 3 (Pocono Pines/Mount Pocono) in Monroe County.
“It’s about time,” said Elwood “Butch” Perry, a 60-year-old independent trucker who lives in Dupont. “They built the interstate system so you can run, not so you can crawl. … We live in a fast-paced society now. Everything has to be there yesterday.”
ROYALTON, PA — Employees at the Luzerne County Transportation Authority worked in constant fear of losing their jobs unless they fraudulently inflated ridership numbers, and the former chairman of the board knew about it years ago, according to testimony heard Monday.
Prosecutors began laying out their case against Executive Director Stanley J. Strelish, 60, and Operations Manager Robb Alan Henderson, 58, who were charged last month with conspiring to inflate senior citizen ridership numbers in the “ghost rider” scandal.
Both men, who are free on unsecured bond and remain suspended without pay, declined to comment following an all-day preliminary hearing held Monday before Magisterial District Judge David Judy. The hearing, which continues today, represents the first public testimony in the case.
Robert Turinski, former LCTA board chairman, testified that he suspected Strelish was inflating senior ridership numbers as far back as 2007.
The campaigns for Gov. Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf traded shots over education funding, natural gas drilling and other issues before Wolf won his party’s nomination.
Voters can expect a lot more of that before Nov. 4.
“I think it’s going to be a long, grueling contest, in which both candidates are going to have to defend an awful lot about their records,” said G. Terry Madonna, a pollster and political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.
Corbett has had lower approval ratings than Tom Ridge and Ed Rendell had at the same points in their first terms. In a January poll from Franklin & Marshall College, 23 percent of registered Pennsylvania voters said Corbett was doing an “excellent” or “good” job as governor.
The battle for Pittsburgh’s passengers has heated up, with the Public Utility Commission issuing its first citations since two ride-share companies moved into the area earlier this year.
Court records show PUC enforcement officer Charles Bowser cited 23 drivers of ride-share companies Lyft and Uber between March 31 and April 21. Each driver is cited for operating a passenger carrier without a certificate of public convenience. The citations, issued through the office of District Justice Gene Ricciardi, were all dated April 22, and are being mailed to drivers.
According to court records, the trips cited by Mr. Bowser included four to 777 Casino Drive, which is the Rivers Casino; three trips to 300 West Station Square Drive, which is the Sheraton Station Square hotel; and six trips to 600 Commonwealth Place, which is the Wyndham Grand hotel.
PUC spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher said the enforcement officer’s actions — taking rides, then citing the drivers — were not atypical for enforcement procedures.