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I avoid going to or through downtown Pittsburgh at all costs

1. No loop around Pgh 2. Entrance and exit ramps share a lane 3. Mult entrances and exits on the Ft. Pitt bridge/tunnel - criss-crossing

Photo of Michael Golebiewski
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1. No loop around Pgh - I have to go east toward Philly frequently and would prefer traveling to Washington, PA and over rather than thru the city. progress on the loop has been at a snail's pace. 2. Entrance and exit ramps share a lane - this is probably the worst traffic problem in Pgh. Whoever designed these ramps is an idiot. If our highways were all 6 lane thruways, it wouldn't be a problem, but with only two lanes on each side, the crisscrossing is very dangerous 3. Mult entrances and exits on the Ft. Pitt bridge/tunnel - There are too many entrance/exit ramps at the Ft. Pitt tunnel/bridge causing crisscrossing on both ends. We need some dedicated highways that don't have to touch down at the Point. 4. There hasn't been a real improvement on the parkways in years. All the construction and delays have only been like "a new coat of paint" - no real improvement in traffic flow. 5. There are no good connectors between the major roadways - 79, 19, 51, etc. people are forced to rely on backroads thru residential areas to get from one point to another.


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Photo of Michael Golebiewski

Traveling that stretch of 376 is bad on any afternoon, not just Friday. And for a town the size of Pittsburgh, "rush hour" should not start at 3:30 in the afternoon.
The northeastern branch of the Mon–Fayette Expressway (576 loop) was indeed planned for an extension to Monroeville, but it seems that whole project has been scrapped.
I definitely agree that the transit system needs a major expansion also. I can't believe there hasn't been any development into the airport area or other major residential areas.

Photo of Michael Golebiewski

It's not the miles Craig . . . it's the time. Have you ever tried getting to 79 from the airport area in the afternoon, especially Friday afternoon? It is often backed from the 79 entrance all the way back to the 376 split. I'd rather travel an extra 10 or 20 miles, than sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic for 45 - 60 minutes. I think a loop would also open up business in other areas around the city. I don't remember the last time i went to the convention center in Monroeville - it too much of a hassle to get there through the tunnels and bridges in town. With the loop, I'd consider it. Same for areas north of the city.

The only issue though, is with how the loop is constructed. So far, we've seen this area's short-sightedness by only making the 1st two pieces of the loop a 4 lane highway. I would think ANY newly constructed highways should be a minimum of 6 lanes. Look what they're having to do with the turnpike now.
Don't get me wrong, i love the piece of 576 that has been completed, especially with the removal of the exit tool booths. It saves me a good 10-15 minutes on my visits to family down in the Wheeling area.

Photo of Craig Toocheck

You're traveling during rush hour on a Friday, of course there will be traffic. There will still be traffic if we build another highway. City after city has seen that when you build new highways, they fill up soon enough too (c.f. induced demand). And the beltway wouldn't help you much getting to Monroeville anyhow.

Photo of Craig Toocheck

Plus I would prefer that we concentrate business development in the small towns that have been disinvested (and the ability to get there ways other than by car), rather than inducing more development of forest and farmland by building a new highway. We should not be subsidizing more new suburban sprawl which will only make traffic worse no matter how many highways we build (and will be bad for people who walk, bike, or take transit).

Photo of Craig Toocheck

As you noted you can take 79 down to WashPA and head east from there. You could also go north to the Turnpike at Cranberry. Either adds like 20 miles to the overall trip. Why spend billions of dollars for a new highway that will save only 20 miles travel? Even with the south beltway, it would probably only save you 10 miles.

That said, getting east-west around the south hills does seem pretty complicated. The topography is the challenge here--and in a lot of other places. That keeps us from being abl eto expand the highways.

Photo of Aly Stone

Hello Michael, I'm Aly, a community facilitator here. Welcome and thanks for the detailed post! As you took the time you number your points, I'll do the same in responses.
1. As someone who is constantly traveling back and forth, east and west of Pittsburgh, I'll agree about the loop. Currently, I just know to never try to leave the city at rush hour.
2. Tell us more about which roads you're specifically referring to and at what times the problems are the most pronounced. I do notice this on 376 going West before the Fort Pitt tunnel constantly and it is pretty stressful.
3. Oh there we go, Fort Pitt tunnel. Any other areas where you notice this issue? How much does it tend to delay you?
Since you are actively avoiding going through downtown Pittsburgh most of the time, are you usually just finding long ways to get around?
Also, if you have any photos relevant to any of these posts, please add them. Visuals really help others relate and join the conversation.

Photo of Michael Golebiewski

1. Finishing the loop is a no-brainer - I mean, even Wheeling, WV built a loop years ago to avoid traffic at their tunnel and downtown area. I traveled to (and eventually lived in) the Houston TX area back in 70's and 80's. They built the 610 loop before Houston started expanding. During the boom, they started working on the Beltway 8 loop. Now they're building a third loop. Amazing that some cities have the forethought to stay ahead of expansion, rather than always trying to catch up.

2. I live in Moon so in traveling to the Point in Pittsburgh, there are no less than 5 such areas on the Parkway West (376): a) intersection of Business 376 (Montour Run exit); b) intersection of The Point shopping area (Route 22/30 W exit); c) intersection of 22/30 on ramp (Settler's Ridge exit); d) Banksville Road (Route 19/51 exits); e) and ON the bridge, Rt 51 on ramp (the North Shore and Fort Duquesne Blvd exits). I don't know how many accidents have occurred in these intersections, but I personally have seen and been involved in dozens of close calls. And this is all just in one direction on one major artery!

3. The Fort Duquesne Bridge is set up the same way, and the biggest problem here is you can't read the signs until you you're right up on them. It you're going from say East Allegheny to the Airport, you enter the Duquesne Bridge from the left and you have to get all the way over to the right to get to the Fort Pitt bridge, then you have to merge twice more to get into a lane than gets into the tunnel. The delays and the stress are excruciating. Luckily, if you find a friendly driver (much fewer these days), you can maneuver into the correct lane. Otherwise, it's major detour time!
Trying to go from Rt. 65 to Rt. 28 is another fiasco. Why does it route you down into stadium traffic to make that connection? There should be a dedicated lane connecting those two highways. Areas like this occur all over town. That's why I avoid them. I either travel HOURS ahead of time to avoid the traffic (and to get parking, which is another issue!) or I just don't go at all. We used to have memberships at the zoo, Phipps, the Benedum; we used to go see ball games - but now we look North and West for activities. We had our grandkids here for a week in late June and didn't go toward Pittsburgh even once. They keep announcing plans to build up the North Shore, but they don't do anything to make it easier to get there.
Another thing that gets me is that there is no link to the airport from Moon, without first transferring through Robinson !?!?!? Thank goodness for Uber! Or here's another no-brainer - from Pittsburgh to the Airport - where's the subway? No, instead they extend it to the North Shore, which is easily walkable.

If I were Amazon, I would laugh at the prospect of moving their headquarters to this area.