Sunday, December 23, 2012

The real article worth reading in the PG today

So yes, you may think I would most want to self reference this piece in the PG today:  For Pittsburgh a future not reliant on steel was unthinkable ... and unavoidable

But no, the more important thing to read is on the "Next Page" and the idea of bringing rapid transit to Cranberry. See: Go North. Light Rail.   Who would've thunk that? Crazy idea bringing transit to the fastest growing part of the region and all. 

Of course, this has been a theme here in the past.  I mentioned the idea of "Rapid transit to Cranberry" even this last just in October in: Pod or Bust for me.  (or as far back as 2008 in: G20 Thoughts and More).  Seriously, the idea is self-evident except I suppose to those who want to see transit wither into oblivion. 

Oh.. yes.  I know.  Silly to divert resources even thinking about something that will never happen when there are so many other pressing transit issues in town. Must be why the bureaucracies supported Maglev for so long. Something the public knew full well was never going to happen.  Support, mind you, that lasted right up until the virtually undeniable end that only came early this year.

You know..  we really do maintain a certain economic motif here. 

and just for the record. For those who continue to read ink these days, I have absolutely nothing to do with the placement of advertisements near my piece today on the inside page.


Anonymous not an engineer said...

Ah yes, another fine proposal to have taxpayers in Pittsburgh subsidize rapid transit whose only aim is to ensure that same tax base is continually destabilized by further flight from the CBD. It's truly amazing how seemingly every other city in America is looking into rebuilding inner-city transit networks, yet here in Pittsburgh we can still only seem to focus on getting people in and out of the city as quickly as possible. What could go wrong?

As an added bonus, this plan avoids placing light rail stops in all the icky places where the poors live. Phew! Wouldn't want them on our nice new transit system. Particularly not if they're mixing with the fine folks of Cranberry (median HH income, $66,588, versus $28,588 in the city, where most people, you know, live).

Great plan, guys.

Sunday, December 23, 2012 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

Right, if you think this particular transit project idea is unlikely to be a good one, at least when ranked against a number of other possible projects, you must be against all transit projects. It is self-evident!

Heck, even if you thought commuter rail to Cranberry should be a high-priority transit project--and I really, really doubt that if this supposedly "self-evident" idea was seriously compared against a number of other notable projects that it would score very well in cost-benefit terms--the T just isn't the technology you should be using.

But again, who needs cost-benefit studies, careful consideration of appropriate technologies, and so on, when instead we can just say: it's self-evident!

Monday, December 24, 2012 7:01:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

By the way, it is funny how so many commentators to that article are talking about rapid transit to Oakland, almost as if THAT was the most "self-evident" destination for a significant transit project, and not Cranberry. I guess they are all just anti-transit at heart.

Monday, December 24, 2012 7:07:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

Finally, there is a discussion here of a possible North Hills commuter rail route that might actually make sense, using the old B&O railroad that goes through Mars, Evans City, Zelienople, and Ellwood City:

Monday, December 24, 2012 7:26:00 PM  
Blogger Caesar said...

Chris, I'm afraid I share the disdain for this idea of north hills commuter line. See my comment on and lets talk.

Saturday, December 29, 2012 9:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's self-evident is the lack of critical thinking and the lack of any serious business planing that went into such a proposal.

Spend a billion or two to carry two or three hundred passengers from Cranberry to and from Downtown in rush hour and for Steeler games - if Westmoreland and Beaver County Transit experience is any indication - and get PAT and Allegheny County to help subsidise the operation! Sounds wonderful! The ghosts of Henry Buhl and the Harmony Line must wish they'd thought of it.

What might make sense would be an Exclusive Busway alongside the old B&O RR line. That would pick up Cranberry, Butler Transit, and Myers Coach - as well as some stray business up and down Route 8. The out-of-towners could ride Express while we plebeians could ride the local.

Self-evident! Hmmff!

Friday, January 04, 2013 11:05:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Well, just to begin you might want to read how new commuter rail in the US is addressing spatial mismatch.

and on the topic of false analogies...  want to take a crack at what the percentage change has been in the population of some of the bigger communities now along the old Harmony Line since it last operated?

This all is quite simple.  Lose support of the median voter and you lose public transit. If BRT encouraged people to use transit, the west busway corridor, a BRT ideal,  of the city would be booming... or at the very least not be shriking.  People think the East End is a model.  If bus usage along the East Busway was because of the busway itself, then the results could be replicated.  Methinks some unique circumstances are what drive EBA usage.

Put another way.  Assume transit usage in the South Hills was not as high as it is.  Say, just for arguments sake, usage was what you would expect along bus routes in similar suburbs.  What fraction of Port Authority ridership would come from outside the city proper?  What would be the political support for transit then?

Finally.. and I fully accept international examples are fraught with peril because of so many reasons.. but do we really want to be the only place in the world not adding rail commuting options.

Saturday, January 05, 2013 7:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I finally read your referenced article (seems it took a while for my ancient Mac to address its technological mismatches with your link creator, Adobe Acrobat, and its own limited abilities.)

I begin to see the problem. As Paul Newman famously said, "What we have here is a failure to address our communication mismatches."

Silly me! Instead of riding the trolley yesterday on the way to church, I was addressing a 'Spatial Mismatch'. No wonder it took so long.

My point is that we should be thinking of providing a service in exchange for money instead of high-sounding (and hard to quantify) social goals. The fact that the farebox provides only about a third of the cash doesn't alter the picture substantially. The job of BRT - or any other mode - is not to encourage transit use, but to get people where they want to go in the most expeditious manner. The East Busway succeeds because it does just that.

The West Busway - although a handy shortcut - does not succeed because it goes from Corliss to Sheraden, and it doesn't take much imagination to appreciate that that's not much of a draw. It should be realised, however, that the the original plan was an Airport Busway running from Airport to Downtown, which would have - had it been seen to that completion - been a much more useful and attractive proposition. That it fell victim to Tom Murphy's dream of a signature bridge entering the city from the South, the Federal Highways Department requirement of integration with HOV capabilities, the reluctance of the cab and limousine companies to countenance cheap competition, and the inexorable rise in construction cost of a much delayed project is not a convincing argument in opposing all Busways.

Similarly, the South Busway is so truncated that it may hardly be considered more than a very limited Bypass. That it might have been extended to serve (rapidly) the Valley Line customers that now (slowly) ride the LRT must remain only a forlorn memory.

Transit is more likely of success when it is approached as a Crime of Opportunity - where possible patronage, characteristics of mode, and cost of construction are realistically addressed.

Monday, January 07, 2013 11:43:00 PM  

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