Tag Archives: access

Young Transportation Professionals, the Pittsburgh Chapter

“YPT’s mission is to provide career guidance, fellowship, and networking opportunities for young professionals in the transportation field. We are the future of transportation.

Our goals are threefold:

Professional Development: Provide a regular series of seminars from leading individuals or teams in the transportation field.
Fellowship: Provide an ongoing forum for mutual support and interaction between young transportation professionals, especially for those starting their careers.
Networking: Provide networking opportunities and seminars to help young professionals advance their careers and share innovative ideas”

So join us for the first meeting of our Pittsburgh Chapter on 7/27 at 6pm in Oakland:

Register for Young Professionals in Transportation/Pittsburgh Local Chapter in Pittsburgh, PA  on Eventbrite

Public vs. Private Transit

Peter McFerrin, a research analyst for Brookings Institute that published the now (in)famous Missed Opportunities study about transit in US , writes at length about the opportunity for private transit in suburban areas in this article published on The New Republic.

And to an extent I do agree with Mr. McFerrin –private transit initiatives can provide a sound alternative to public transportation. The organization I belong to, ACTC, agreed that to allow a private local provider Lenzner Coaches  to replace the service lost as a consequence of Port Authority ‘s recent cuts. The reason why we voted for this alternative service was that since as long as we represent the riders’ interest and we consider the typical rider on those routes a private alternative will be better than none].  And, it is my guess that, unlike the New York pilot program quoted by Mr. McFerrin, Lenzner is running a profitable service.

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My Rights as a Pedestrian

A recent article on Grist explainin  “Why are we (Americans)  so angry at the gas pump “– Because we have no choices- notes that suburban sprawl makes impossible (or at best impracticable) other transportation means such as walking, biking or taking public transit.  We do have to drive to work, shopping, doctor, the kids soccer games ,family events, church and so on… So even with a gas efficient vehicle at $3 /gallon we’ve already spent a big chunk of our budget at the pump, if gas were $8.50/gallon as I understand it is now in UK , we’d probably had to stop eating because we would either be unable to afford a trip to the store, or if we put the gas in the car there will be  nothing left to purchase groceries.

the first phase of several projects planned to improve the Route 65 Marshall Avenue Interchange

            One of the solutions pointed in the Grist article mentioned above: limit sprawl from now own, rebuild within urban boundaries with higher population densities.  Shorter distances will make all these options such as walking possible again. Agreed! But we need to do better, and there is something else we need to do first: we need to revise our outlook on accessibility. In many cases it is not distance, but lack of access for cyclists and pedestrians turning away most Americans living in suburban areas who may consider walking instead of driving.

            And our priorities are so skewed that , even in the old city neighborhoods  where pedestrian pathways survived the last six decades, we tend to ignore the fact that their role is not ornamental  but quite pragmatic.  Yes, people do walk on those sidewalks –especially when they are the pedestrian path to a bus route. So really, what were they thinking when they put up this sign?

I am unable to tell you what exactly where they thinking, but I can tell you how to fix it. You can file a complaint with Penn DOT here: http://www.dot.state.pa.us/penndot/districts/district11/d11ccc.nsf

Why file a complaint?

  • Because Penn DOT through their local district is actually required to supervise and in certain cases approve every step of the project in order to comply with FHWA Work Zone Safety & Mobility Rule (23 CFR Subpart J)
  • Because Penn DOT’s specifies in its Publication 46 that, when designing even a temporary traffic control plan, a contractor is required to provide bicyclist and pedestrian accommodations:

Para (c) Do not expose bicycle and pedestrian pathways to unsafe conditions…”, and obviously if your pathway is blocked therefore forces you to step out in traffic you are exposed to an unsafe condition.

  • Because we need to remind Penn DOT that their pedestrian friendly policies are nothing if they are just ink on paper.


WE have the same rights as Pedestrians as we do as drivers!

Bad Bus Day (rant) -original post July 15th 2008

In the previous post I covered a little bit the topic of bus accommodations for  bulky object with wheels in Germany. So I could not help to recall some old bickering on the wheelchair accommodations offered by Pittsburgh buses ( wheelchairs are the only bulky objects with wheels they will allow in a bus )

This story I wrote in July 2007 covers the unfortunate story of a wheelchair bound rider who ended suspended halfway between the ground and the bus floor:

“I am trying to pay my debt and it had become increasingly difficult (not that I am the only one in this situation). When they asked me to work some overtime, I volunteered even some more hours in…SO, today I was supposed to be in at 9am (instead of 12pm).

But as it was said, Tuesday there must be three bad hours.

The first bad hour :It started yesterday evening when I realized I must have caught a cold or something. I decided to go early to bed and take some acetaminophen based cold pills. It worked last night, I got in that drowsy state and felt great, but unfortunately the drowsy effect did not vanish in eight hours as supposed, but lingered with me in bed . I got up for a late start and dilly-dallied in the shower and left my house so late that:

The second bad hour: I missed my bus. I called in and told my boss I’ll be half an hour late counting toward the overtime I volunteered. Got in the next bus and made it just in time for my connection. For a minute or so I thought my luck had changed. But it did not:

The third bad hour: One passenger in a wheelchair. The driver gets the platform out  – you know, the one that is supposed to raise him at the floor level, and it gets stuck. Yes, the poor guy was stuck right in the middle, at the second step level. He could not get out and he could not get in…
I did felt bad for that man and his wheelchair. But I felt even worse for me, I was 45 minutes late to work –and that was half the time I volunteered to work over my schedule. Do you think they’ll ask me again? I am afraid they won’t. “