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Eliminating congestion with support from our storied past

Leveraging old industrial rail infrastructure to build a new affordable light rail system. Foundations of our past moving us forward.

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We currently have 100s of miles of unused, or inactive industrial rail in Pittsburgh that runs to the three major suburbs - West(Moon Township), East(Monroeville), North(Cranberry). As these areas developed over time - it has increased highway congestion for the city. Pittsburgh is one of the very few cities in the United States that has the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to provide a light rail solution at a nominal capital expense in comparative to typical light rail infrastructure costs. If Pittsburgh is able to collaborate with the three municipalities to invest, and acquire the sitting industrial rail from current private industry owners, the city has an opportunity to renovate the track without having to flatten mountains, or tunnel underneath them as it’s already completed. This could then be tied to the, "T" offering a rapid infrastructure expansion w/fiscally sound investment. All that is needed is acquisition with track revitalization an station builds. If Pittsburgh was able to create collaboration with the municipalities seize the industrial track rights, and invest in the revamp of the rail - it could alleviate massive amount of congestion off the major highways and offer people a cheap, envirommentally friendly solution to get to work. Purchase the rights, update the track, build the stations and within 5 years you have a fully operating light rail system that enhances Pittsburgh’s mobility, increases revenues, and drives out environmental impacts.


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Hi Justin - are you going to propose this idea formally in the propose phase? I'm back to encourage you! Katie, Facilitator

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Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Given our previous conversations I was under the impression that presenting this idea in terms of a formal research, and business plan given it's scope was outside the scale of research - or hypothesis expected for this particular challenge. I am definitely passionate about this idea, and would be willing to build a formal business plan - to continue momentum with this idea with the hope that some private investors, government, etc. Could take this idea an seek to implement to alleviate congestion patterns in the city.

One idea I did have that was smaller in scope recently over intellectual discussion with friends, was an app that could allow local farmers to provide fresh produce to city residents downtown in a manner similar to ride sharing where 3rd Party Drivers could pickup orders of enrolled local farms, and deliver them to their customers who ordered the produce through the app. I am not sure how familiar you are with Pittsburgh's geography, but outside the urban center it is fairly rural with a myriad of local farms - felt this might be a way to help local growers, and city consumers with getting access to fresh locally grown produce despite the lack of a central grocery store in the city.

Let me know your thoughts - if I should continue to pursue providing research on the rail conversion research, and proposal - or shift gears to this smaller scale idea.

Best Regards,


Photo of KatieWalsh 100

Hi Justin. Sorry, meant to reply yesterday - if you'd like to go ahead with this idea then make sure that whatever you propose fits the budget for the piloting money you would win - that's all - a long academic feasibility study for the whole project would be worth doing only if it's worth it for further reasons other than this competition. Can you think of a way to pilot this idea? Your other idea - sounds great , submit that as an idea as well. (you are not limited to one) As long as you make your best efforts to fill n all the questions on the submission form then your idea will be considered. Aly Stone 

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