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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2008, 9:04 AM
DBR96A DBR96A is offline
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Arrow My greater Pittsburgh LRT plan



Solid lines are train lines. Dotted lines are single-car trolley lines.

TRAIN LINES

RED LINE: PNC Park, Heinz Field, Ameristar Casino, West End, Crafton, Carnegie, Settler's Cabin, Robinson, Pittsburgh Int'l Airport.

YELLOW LINE: Allegheny Center, Fineview, Perry, West View, McKnight South, Ross Park Mall, McKnight North, Wexford, Thorn Hill.

BLUE LINE: Convention Center, Strip District, Lawrenceville South, Bloomfield, Lawrenceville North, Highland Park, Sharpsburg-Aspinwall, Fox Chapel, RIDC-Blawnox, Verona, Oakmont, Harmar-Cheswick, Springdale.

GREEN LINE: Uptown-Mellon Arena, Duquesne University, West Oakland-Hill District, University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie-Mellon, Squirrel Hill, Regent Square, Wilkinsburg-Churchill, Penn Hills, Monroeville.

PURPLE LINE: Station Square, South Side West, South Side Central, South Side East, Hazelwood, Sandcastle-Waterfront, Homestead, Kennywood, Duquesne, McKeesport.

ORANGE LINE: Brookline-Beechview, Dormont, Mt. Lebanon, Castle Shannon, Bethel Park, Upper St. Clair, Bridgeville.

TROLLEY LINES

SEWICKLEY-MOON EXPRESS: Trolleys from Sewickley and Moon Twp. to Ameristar Casino Station on RED LINE (via Neville Island and Emsworth).

SHALER EXPRESS: Trolley from Ross Park Mall Station on YELLOW LINE to Lawrenceville North Station on BLUE LINE (via Allison Park and Etna).

EAST LIBERTY EXPRESS: Trolley from Highland Park Station on BLUE LINE to Regent Square Station on GREEN LINE (via East Liberty).

SANDY CREEK EXPRESS: Trolley from Verona Station on BLUE LINE to Penn Hills Station on GREEN LINE (via Penn Hills).

BEECHWOOD EXPRESS: Trolley from Squirrel Hill Station on GREEN LINE to Sandcastle-Waterfront Station on PURPLE LINE (via Squirrel Hill).

STEEL VALLEY EXPRESS: Trolley from Regent Square Station on GREEN LINE to Kennywood Station on PURPLE LINE (via Swissvale and Rankin).

WESTINGHOUSE EXPRESS: Trolley from Monroeville Station on GREEN LINE to Kennywood Station on PURPLE LINE (via Turtle Creek and Braddock).

SOUTH HILLS EXPRESS: Trolley from Kennywood Station on PURPLE LINE to Bethel Park Station on ORANGE LINE (via West Mifflin, Allegheny Co. Airport and Century III Mall).

CHARTIERS EXPRESS: Trolley from Bridgeville Station on ORANGE LINE to Carnegie Station on RED LINE (via Heidelberg).

The trains would be state-of-the-art LRT cars, and the trolleys would be single, vintage-looking solo cars.

I know that this kind of plan would be pretty expensive, but it'd certainly help give Pittsburgh the best LRT system of any comparable city by far. So, do you guys like my idea?
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2008, 4:45 AM
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Nice plan! I would guess a likely price for that would be around 10-15 billion.
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  #3  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2008, 9:17 PM
Dr Nevergold Dr Nevergold is offline
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Nice plan, but you left out the already existing Overbrook line that goes to Library.

Actually Pittsburgh is in desperate need of a south side line that goes underneath Carson St and picks back up and heads over to Oakland. It would connect some of Pittsburgh's more urban neighborhoods.

Eventually they could extend the downtown subway north through the strip district up through Bloomfield and back over to Oakland.

The longer I live, the more I feel that trying to get suburbanites greatly excited about urban transit is pointless and that serving the real city and building the real city is always a top priority. I'd rather see South Side, Oakland, Bloomfield, Lawrenceville all connected in a circulator system with downtown and the strip than to see something funded that goes to the airport. Taxi's and express busses can get the few passengers to the airport that need to go there.

Also, if you look at trends from the past, a commuter rail line from McKeesport up through the Monongahela river valley to downtown was shut down in the early 90's because of a lack of support, so just another reason to focus on the city and make the city as good as it can be, and keep the existing LRT up and running because Beechview, Dormont, and Mt Lebanon are all nice quaint transit communities and with the South Hills Mall area connection it is definately a workable system.


Looking at a potential South Side extension, they would only need to bore underground for 1.5 miles from about the 6th St South/Carson intersection down to South Side Works before it exits underground, they can potentially revamp the Hot Metal bridge to cross over and go up towards Oakland.

I'm sure it'd be a good $750 billion to extend it to Oakland and bore under South Side, but its also connecting some of the hottest parts of town. It would be super easy to build an at-grade extension from Station Square south toward where it'd go underground in South Side.
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  #4  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2008, 9:53 PM
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^Damn! Spoken like a man who knows Pittsburgh well.
Some good points in there; Well written.
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  #5  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2008, 9:57 PM
Dr Nevergold Dr Nevergold is offline
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Here would be my ideal system to seriously start considering:



Select portions of this track really need to be underground, through South Side's CBD, Bloomfield's CBD, Lawrenceville's CBD, and throughout the Strip District's CBD. There is no need to have this in-grade through Penn Ave, Butler, Liberty, or Carson. They would only have to bore underground in certain parts and then secure rights of way elsewhere.

The only part of town I think it could successfully be installed at-grade would be through Oakland. The streets are more than large enough and they could dedicate lanes and get them separated only for rail cars.

But if they can't find a plan to successfully give its own lanes and minimal disruptions, they should go ahead and plan to bore underneath Oakland as well.

THIS is what Pittsburgh needs, not some dreamy line to the airport and to McKeesport again.

They could also consider semi-24 hour service, such as running trains as late as 2:30am and starting back up again at 4:30ish, or do weekend 24 hour service. There are plenty of homes and bars and clubs that need to be serviced after hours, even on business evenings.

This new extension to the Pittsburgh subway and LRT system would be 9.5 miles, significant portions underground, and given how much money has been put into the north shore connector I think its a wise future investment. It would probably cost $3-5 billion to build a 9.5 mile looping system that has significant portions underground.

That's not a bad investment because the money only needs to be spent once, and it would secure Pittsburgh's future. We can fund $15 or $30 billion stadiums, yet we can't build a decent transit system?

LOL Yea, right... Especially when in the US we have such a generous system where usually 40-60% of funding always comes from the federal government (more if your Congressional delegation and Senators push for it).

I could easily see a system like this being funded 75% by federal funds and the remainder broken up between local and state governments.

Small price to pay for a new Pittsburgh. The Federal government certainly won't be funding any of the new dreamy stadiums that Pittsburgh has financed or the upcoming Penguins stadium.
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  #6  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2008, 10:01 PM
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Yes, I agree; This plan would hit the most amount of people; The airport doesn't HAVE to have a direct rail line. The busses and taxis are plentiful it seems.
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  #7  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2008, 10:15 PM
Dr Nevergold Dr Nevergold is offline
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And the best part is that a serious proposal like this could be funded mostly with federal funds, its a no brainer. Doesn't matter if the city or Port Authority has ongoing year-over-year finance issues. In today's age the entire nation is having funding issues, there was a town that went bankrupt in California earlier this year afterall... Stockton, CA has about a 50% vacancy rate of mostly new homes less than 10 years old. Pittsburgh's problems ironically seem like the past while the rest of the nation is just now beginning to understand. If the Golden State of perfection has towns with 50% vacancy, somethings amiss. Pittsburgh isn't so boarded up afterall.

We're paying taxes and its time that money comes back to us instead of killing people in Iraq. We pay the tax, the money is already there.

[/my opinion]
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  #8  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2008, 10:21 PM
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BTW my idea also connects Shady Side to the rest of town, really brings the city together IMO.
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  #9  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2008, 1:05 AM
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You stole my plan Brandon!!! :angryfistshake:
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  #10  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2008, 3:45 AM
Dr Nevergold Dr Nevergold is offline
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Well if I end up in Pittsburgh for real this time, we should start a serious movement and lobby group. Seriously... It all starts with an idea, turn it into a plan (and web site), then turn it into community action.
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  #11  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2008, 12:46 PM
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Nice plan, but my two cents are:

-Need a direct Oakland-Downtown line. That would be the busiest corridor by far, and the circuitous route between the two make it unattractive time-wise.

-Sinking LRT lines into a subway is sexy, but the huge cost v. the relatively small benefits to at-grade/elevated lines is an unnecessary expense and is probably the major reason Pittsburgh's system growth has been hamstrung. Imagine how much larger the system could be if the Downtown subway and the NS Connector were at grade or elevated (sorry to beat a dead horse). The Portland, OR system is nearly entirely at grade with only one tunnel under Washington Park because the incline was too great to cross over. Even in the CBD, the LRVs run in the traffic lanes and a few ROWs. Portland has one of the most successful systems in the US. Other comparable systems such as St Louis, San Diego, Sacramento, & Salt Lake have very few if any subways.
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  #12  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2008, 7:59 PM
Dr Nevergold Dr Nevergold is offline
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I just spent most of last year and into this year living in Portland actually (well a west suburb, but my apartment was right on a MAX station at Willow Creek), and let me say that Portland's system crawls to a stall in downtown because of its forced in-traffic sections. The MAX system is fantastic in every way, but it only actually moves quickly when its outside downtown. The fact that its in-grade and in many sections runs with traffic really slows down a system that is meant to be faster. Outside downtown it doesn't run in traffic with cars so even if its above ground, its speedy... But these neighborhoods in Pittsburgh don't have the space for a dedicated right of way with no traffic. Also, the people operating MAX and people in greater Portland keep talking about a future of digging tunnels underground to get the flow going better, yet PGH already has a downtown subway when they originally designed the new system.

In relation to cities like Salt Lake and Sacramento, even St Louis, they have far fewer urban neighborhoods with the character of South Side, the density of Bloomfield or even the Strip District. In-grade seriously is not a significant change over buses, and you can't just shut traffic down on Penn Ave or Liberty. Its just not a good idea to restrict one form of transportation over another.

Pittsburgh is a unique city, and if its all secured with its own right-of-way and tunnelled underground in select neighborhoods, that link from Oakland to Downtown through South Side is quicker than you think...

Also, there's more than a need to move people between just Oakland and Downtown, many Oakland residents want to go to South Side for its nightlife and other businesses, everyone wants to go to the Strip District every now and then. This urban circulator just makes sense from all standpoints.

There is no direct link between each of these neighborhoods that will service the city best, they all need transit service. Just Oakland-Downtown won't be the kind of service needed.

If this circulator system is just going to be in-grade with many in-traffic sections, I'd rather continue improving bus service. No need to waste money on a glorified bus when you can get it right the first time.

Years ago I would have actually agreed with you just to build a LRT system in-grade and go to only the most important neighborhood job-wise. As I travel the world, the less and less that really makes sense, just like going to McKeesport or the airport really isn't a big deal to me as it would have in the past.

Last edited by Dr Nevergold; Jul 14, 2008 at 8:10 PM.
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  #13  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2008, 11:45 PM
Dr Nevergold Dr Nevergold is offline
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BTW all this rail terminology can be confusing. I actually have referred to some inaccurate terms.

When I say "in-grade" what I should be saying is at-grade rail connections where the rail is on the ground and occasionally (or entirely) goes within traffic.

Its possible to have an at-grade rail line, but mostly within its own right of way. That is sufficient, but the problem with Pittsburgh's neighborhoods is that they are too dense and too urban to have an at-grade service running right through these urban districts. Only at spots between the districts would this be feasible (for example, from where it exits underground at the South Side Works and would cross the Hot Metal bridge, it could remain above ground until it gets to Oakland). This could take some significant costs out of it rather than doing at tunnel bore for the entire project.

Its entirely feasible.
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  #14  
Old Posted Aug 12, 2008, 2:59 AM
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Brilliant! Both ideas, really, let's build them both . On your idea though Brandon, I would also suggest as PA Pride did, put a "cut" line in from Bloomfield through Shadyside, Oakland and The Hill into Downtown.
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  #15  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2008, 3:24 PM
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I just went to Pittsburgh for the first time this week. It is an absolutely beautiful city. I love going inbound through the Fort Pitt Tunnel, talk about a city that makes an entrance. Anyway, I noticed a lot of railroads running through the city, are these line heavily used for frieght? What is the feasibility of using these line for transit. Also, I went to The Waterfront, is that where the commuter rail used to go through?
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  #16  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2009, 8:07 PM
Valsek Valsek is offline
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I didn't realize that there was already a thread about extending the LRT in Pittsburgh. Seems like this "debate" has been going on for quite some time.

I'm beginning to wish that the Port Authority would start to reach out and at least listen to some of "our" ideas. I think BrandonTO416 has some great ideas and has obviously put a lot of thought into this topic. It would be fantastic to have some type of symposium or meeting of the minds in which these ideas could be collectively presented.
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  #17  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2009, 8:17 PM
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dugdogmaster dugdogmaster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valsek View Post
I'm beginning to wish that the Port Authority would start to reach out and at least listen to some of "our" ideas. I think BrandonTO416 has some great ideas and has obviously put a lot of thought into this topic. It would be fantastic to have some type of symposium or meeting of the minds in which these ideas could be collectively presented.
Already done

http://www.pghwiki.org/wiki/index.ph...tiWiki_Project
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  #18  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2009, 10:17 PM
ctoocheck ctoocheck is offline
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But these neighborhoods in Pittsburgh don't have the space for a dedicated right of way with no traffic
It kind of does, depending where... For example, in Hazelwood where there are existing train tracks running on a separate-right-of-way very near 2nd Ave. Also in the South Side, where there are two sets of existing rail lines that could be used, or have additional tracks laid (especially the line that runs right at the base of the Slopes along Josephine St). Also through Homestead, The Strip, McKees Rocks, Neville Island, Coraopolis, even Oakland (Panther Hollow) etc.

Burring tunnels is just enormously expensive, and I don't think it's needed in Pittsburgh unless the city at least grew to back 1950s density and population. Alternately, at-grade is alright in many places (such as Oakland as was mentioned) but probably not best for Carson St, especially closer to the city where the roadway is more narrow. I mean, it would be nice to have to route running right down/under Main Street, but no necessary, and usually prohibitively expensive.

Even at-grade, compared to buses, trolleys can typically hold more people, generally have a better image, a smoother ride, and (to me especially) are generally easier to understand, since the routes (tracks) and stops are more visible. That's also why I think LRT to the airport is really important, since it would more likely be people with little knowledge of the city or how to work our crazy PAT Bus system, and likely are with luggage, who use it.


I have some maps.... I won't post them here though because they are huge files! Check out the links:
Routes Map:http://www.pghwiki.org/wiki/index.ph..._net_tucek.jpg

Routes marked on Google Earth:
Central area: http://www.pghwiki.org/wiki/index.ph..._(central).jpg
Greater area: http://www.pghwiki.org/wiki/index.ph..._2_(metro).jpg

Last edited by ctoocheck; Jan 11, 2009 at 12:11 AM.
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  #19  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2009, 10:22 PM
ctoocheck ctoocheck is offline
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Originally Posted by dugdogmaster View Post
That's not the Port Authority's doing, but indeed a good start; hopefully they will listen.

If you happen to surf the site, check out the "draft" version (http://www.pghwiki.org/wiki/index.ph...portation_Plan) which seems to have lots more information that was intended to get carried to v.2.0 but never did

But unfortunately it's gonna take lots more than just our input to make PAT and Pgh super more awesome: new development patterns, economic development, social change, new government....
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  #20  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2009, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ctoocheck View Post
That's not the Port Authority's doing, but indeed a good start; hopefully they will listen.
I know, but it's a meeting of the minds as Valsek suggested. And they are going to submit the plan to PAT and The City once it's complete.
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