Connecting Pittsburgh to Oakland in a 10-Minute Bus Ride

If funding is approved, the Bus Rapid Transit Plan could be operational by 2021.

photo via flickr creative commons

Downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland are the second- and third-busiest business corridors in Pennsylvania, yet traveling from one to the other is rarely easy.

In a car, traffic is often congested, and parking in either locale is at a premium. Bus service is plentiful during rush hour, but it can take a half an hour or more to make the three- to four-mile trip.

The Bus Rapid Transit System, unveiled Thursday, promises to cut the travel time to 10 minutes or less, with electric-powered buses leaving every three to five minutes in peak times.

But wait, there’s more.

Forbes and Fifth avenues would be completely rebuilt “back to the building fronts” with new, tree-lined sidewalks, ornamental lighting and dedicated lanes for transit, regular vehicles and bicyclists.

“We feel very confident,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “This proposal really meets an awful lot of the goals we have for this region.”

The price tag is somewhere between $200 and $240 million. Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and the Port Authority hope the Federal Transit Administration will pay for half with the rest coming from state and local government.

Mayor Bill Peduto says the BRT’s price tag is significantly less than the estimated $3 billion it would cost to extend the existing subway, a project that could take up to 15 years to complete.

Other highlights of the proposal include:

  • Redesigning traffic lanes where Forbes Avenue enters Oakland
  • Redesigning traffic lanes where Sixth Avenue connects to Fifth and Forbes avenues outbound from Downtown
  • Improve storm sewers along Fifth and Forbes avenues
  • Install smart traffic signals

The next step is to hold public meetings for input into proposed routes and whether or not to extend BRT service beyond Oakland to other neighborhoods such as Wilkinsburg, Highland Park and Squirrel Hill.

Categories: The 412