Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey Ends Plans For the Mon-Oakland Connector Shuttle

Advocacy groups have long opposed the shuttle and road components of the project, citing concerns over gentrification and unmet community needs.
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Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey has announced that the Mon-Oakland Connector shuttle program would not see the light of day. 

The shuttle program was undoubtedly the most controversial part of the Mon-Oakland Connector project — an infrastructure initiative that aims to connect Hazelwood, Greenfield, Four Mile Run and Oakland. It included $23 million to fund a proposed roadway that would connect Panther Hollow to Hazelwood Green via shuttles — possibly self-driving ones — that could ferry residents between universities and the sites of Pittsburgh’s growing tech industry.

Although the shuttle program was supported by former Mayor Bill Peduto, Carnegie Mellon University and the developer behind the Hazelwood Green project at the former LTV Steel site, advocacy groups like Pittsburghers for Public Transit have long opposed it. 

Some have said city funds ought to be spent on improving existing public transit instead, like improving Port Authority service through Hazelwood. Others criticized the fact that the shuttles would be privately run, citing concerns about gentrification and calling it “a development project masquerading as a transit project.” Others yet argued that the shuttle, which could carry eight passengers at a time, would not meet the transit needs of the community.

Gainey said the decision to nix the shuttle and road component of the project was “made in consultation with community leaders and transit advocates.”

“As we seek to improve mobility throughout our city, we will focus on investing in transportation justice-oriented projects to increase connectivity,” he said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is an important step forward in meeting that goal.”

Improvements under the revised Mon-Oakland project will still seek to create significant green stormwater infrastructure to mitigate flooding throughout the Run. It will also create a new recreational trail to provide better access to the Schenley Park trail system, and build a new pedestrian trail that will allow for better connectivity between Oakland and Hazelwood, according to a press release. 

The result will be upgraded bicycle, pedestrian and stormwater infrastructure between the Junction Hollow Trail in Oakland and Greenfield’s Four Mile Run onto Sylvan Avenue in Hazelwood. 

“The Mon-Oakland project will bring clean, green infrastructure jobs to our community and ensure that issues residents have experienced for years are addressed directly,” Gainey said. “Development is key to ensuring growth throughout Hazelwood and we will continue to pursue community input to find equitable solutions on development projects like these.”

Categories: The 412