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.
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.
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.