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A Local Neighborhood Flexible Semi-Mass-Transportation System Demonstration Project

Poor sidewalks, a lack of parking, and lack of convenient low-cost neighborhood mass transportation are problems requiring new solutions.

Photo of Gordon Davidson
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See the Full Proposal, attached. The neighborhoods of Mount Washington and Duquesne Heights (MW/DH) in the City of Pittsburgh are transportation-challenged on many levels. Walking, bicycling and even driving on Pittsburgh neighborhood streets is often an adventure, and not in a good way. Sidewalks in many neighborhoods are in poor condition; signs are lacking, not very informative and poorly placed; streets and sidewalks are steep; and parking on sidewalks often makes neighborhood streets travel a dangerous proposition. Personal vehicle parking space is limited, especially near the six business districts. Public transportation is inconvenient and expensive for certain types of travel. Mobility on demand services are expensive. No existing transportation systems are designed to promote local economic development. The proposed system fills most of the identified vehicular transportation niches in MW/DH. The system addresses problems that mobility-impaired individuals, senior citizens, and Low and Moderate Income individuals encounter when interacting with existing systems. The system addresses many of the problems that local businesses experience due to the poor parking conditions and the fact that there is no transportation system that can move the 1.5 million visitors and tourists per year (who primarily go to Grandview Avenue) into the business districts. The system is designed, from the beginning, to be flexible, multi-faceted, responsive to demand AND entertaining.

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Photo of Aly Stone

Hi Gordon, welcome and thanks so much for the post! I think better connecting the neighborhoods is an idea that has been getting a bit of attention here. I think Claudia Smith may agree/have some thoughts on your post. I'm personally wondering how you think having short routes that operate through an on call system would be financially sustained through time? Also, if you have any pictures related to your idea, please add them on to your post!
-Aly, community facilitator

Photo of Gordon Davidson

Hi Aly, I will contact Claudia today or tomorrow. MWCDC has been kicking the idea around since 2017, and being self-funding is a problem to solve (not one that we HAVE solved). I will be working on a more complete plan (possibly a pilot project) with the financials soon. MWCDC is working on getting pictures of potential systems, topographical maps, destination micro-neighborhoods and bus routes on The Mount (to show why neighborhood "semi" mass transportation could be a good idea).

Photo of Gordon Davidson

Aly, I contacted Claudia, and I see at least one other "explore" that might relate to the MWCDC "explore" comment. It is possible that multiple organizations in Pittsburgh can work on this concept. I am doing my research (which could be extensive) as we speak, and will reach out as appropriate. If multiple groups work on the project, I'm not sure the proposal would consist of more than a research project. MWCDC has been exploring a similar project since 2017, and we're hoping to get a pilot project in place within a year (which may be too optimistic) - we intended to submit a "Tourism Development" proposal to local foundations - a "semi-mass transportation system" would be bundled with a Visitor Center(s), Marketing and Outreach, website development, and various "mini" studies on how to improve the tourist/visitor experience on Mount Washington.

Photo of Aly Stone

Gordon, fair points here and I appreciate your efforts in reaching out! That being said, please do submit a proposal into the "Propose Phase" if you do have some ideas for a pilot going (if at least to facilitate some discussion and feedback). You've got some interesting ideas here, so good luck to you!

Photo of Gordon Davidson

Aly,

Thank you for the support. MWCDC will be submitting a proposal. My research tends to indicate that nothing like what MWCDC wants to propose, in total, exists in the U.S. - in part, yes - in total, no. I have contacted the FTA, EPA, APA, trade organizations, etc. and have been told that these organizations are unaware of any comprehensive multi-tasked neighborhood transportation system, and I have received some support (and many suggestions to include autonomous vehicles). My email to Claudia disappeared from the blog (?) record - no idea why. MWCDC is working with Jeff Ericson of RubyRide on a Mobility on Demand demonstration project for the FTA, but we are in the earliest negotiations. It IS possible that the MWCDC COT proposal could benefit from a partnership with someone who owns a "ride-summoning" technology.