Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More Funding for Pittsburgh "Highways"

I'm a resident of the South Side of Pittsburgh and normally when the federal dollars start flowing in my neighborhood, I find it difficult to complain. Except for this time. Why is PennDOT widening Carson Street between 25th St and 33rd St? I just don't understand.

Carson Street is a mess. It's not especially pedestrian friendly - and in the vicinity of the Birmingham Bridge, it's especially pedestrian-unfriendly. I frequently fear for my safety while crossing the street in that area. Yet PennDOT and our generous state senators have won the fight to make Carson Street wider???

I understand that this is a heavy truck route. But I certainly don't feel the need to encourage that the home to "America's longest business Victorian National Historic District" be a more pleasant and convenient truck route.

And is it really in our best interest to enable bar patrons to drive their cars more quickly and efficiently after closing hours at the many bars on Carson St? How about we encourage them to take the bus instead?

Carson Street is not a highway. It's a business district. But if PennDOT and short-sighted leadership have their way, I wonder how long that's going to last. If I had my way, I'd shut Carson Street down between 10th and 22nd Streets to cars every Friday and Saturday night except for public transportation. If Austin, Texas and New York City can do it, why can't Pittsburgh? Heck, in my ideal world, Carson would be shut down every day of the week with walking and light rail being your only option for traveling the street. While we're at it, how about shutting down Penn Ave in The Strip every Saturday?


Paz said...

An excellent point. It would be absolutely fantastic to shut Carson street down, however, we both realize that it's a vital artery to the rest of the South Hills.

Plus, it's critical to look at where the widening is happening. As I understand it, the widening is happening from 25th to 33rd streets. Basically the furthest west that this goes is the end of the new development at the old J&L site. The heavy pedestrian traffic later on past the Birmingham bridge would not be affected, at least as I understand it. The stretch that is being widened goes down to basically the new FBI building. This is the strip that, gets incredibly backed up with people coming to the South Hills from Oakland via the Birmingham and Hot Metal bridge. As a student in high school, I would drive this stretch of highway twice a day (though sometimes going through Hazelwood would be quicker coming home). I actually think that, if any stretch of Carson should be more opened up, it is this part. That way people driving to the South Side (not that I'm encouraging that) can get to all of the parking facilities in the South Side Works instead of gunking up the works later down the line.

Matt H said...

"If I had my way, I'd shut Carson Street down between 10th and 22nd Streets to cars every Friday and Saturday night except for public transportation."

Would never ever work. No plan would work.

illyrias said...

It's very refreshing to see a city employee thinking out of the box regarding new ways to accomplish goals for this city and embracing change.

Matt H, if only you were such a city employee.

Do you really think "No plan would work"? No compromise could be reached? No inventive method could be devised? If so, why do you even bother going to work in the morning?

Mark Winston said...

Well, my personal preference would be to reduce the concentration of bars, but that's just me :P