Mon Valley Residents Affect Change, Port Authority Releases New BRT Plans

Revised Routes Promise No Frequency Cuts for Downtown Routes

Jennifer Bloodworth
April 13, 2018 - 7:16 pm

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) — The Port Authority revealed revised plans for its Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system to Mon Valley residents Thursday night.

Community advocates have voiced concerns since the initial plans were released about plans to decrease the frequency of 61 A, B and C buses and stop their routes in Oakland, forcing Downtown commuters to transfer.

Riders in the Mon Valley worried they would see commutes become too long and too expensive to remain viable.

Under the new plan, the 61A, B, and C, the 71B and the P3 buses will become BRT routes.

Port Authority spokesperson told the KDKA Radio Afternoon News Friday the buses will allow Mon Valley to stay on the bus through Oakland and onto the BRT to ride into town through Uptown.

“Now riders are going to be able to take a direct bus straight into Downtown. If they want they can transfer; they don’t have to. Right now we don’t foresee any riders having to make that transfer.”

The 71A, C, and D, and the 61D will become local routes that will end in Oakland.
And instead of decreasing service to the valley, rush hour service frequency will only change from every 2.5 minutes to 3.5 minutes.

“We realized we weren’t being very good listeners with the community,” Brandolph said. “We went back to the drawing board and we brought the community back something that we felt worked with what they were telling us.”

The community praised the authority’s response following Thursday’s packed public meeting in Rankin, calling it a win for community advocates and disenfranchised residents.

Executive Director of Pittsburghers for Public Transit Laura Wiens told the KDKA Radio Afternoon News Friday the plans should serve as an example for development and speak to the power of collective action.

“We’re excited that they’ve listened when thousands of residents and bus riders and drivers and elected officials went to them over a series of month to tell them that the proposed BRT service cuts to the Mon Valley were going to cause catastrophic harm,” Wiens said.

“They’ve changed the proposal to actually insure that the BRT would serve all residents rather than serving a few at the expense of many.”

The BRT is slated to begin service in 2021.