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Port Authority of Allegheny County to reveal possible changes to BRT plans |

Port Authority of Allegheny County to reveal possible changes to BRT plans

Port Authority of Allegheny County has drafted new plans for its proposed Bus Rapid Transit service to address concerns from riders and state legislators about the potential elimination of nonstop bus service between the Mon Valley and Downtown Pittsburgh.

The authority said Friday that it is planning a series of community meetings to share potential changes to the route with the public and get feedback, Port Authority CEO Katharine Eagan Kelleman said.

The first meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 12 at the Rankin Christian Center.

“We are looking at service options that range from what came out last fall, to some updates to that, to an inclusion of some straight trips that would go all the way from McKeesport or Homewood in to Downtown and accommodations therein,” Kelleman said. “So folks can react to them, let us know are we getting closer to what meets their needs, we’ll take that input and come back again to what we should consider a more finalized plan.”

Meetings also will be held in other areas that will be impacted by BRT, including Squirrel Hill, Highland Park and Braddock, authority spokesman Adam Brandolph said.

After the meetings end in May or June, the authority could edit its application for roughly $100 million in federal funding for the project to reflect changes.

The project, which would connect Downtown and Oakland with buses that have their own designated lanes in 2021, is projected to cost $195.5 million to develop.

The authority last spring held public meetings about potential route options and officials announced they had selected one May 31.

Pittsburghers for Public Transit, the Thomas Merton Center and other organizations have been protesting and raising concerns that the route would negatively impact Mon Valley communities who rely heavily on public transit.

Now, several Mon Valley mayors and borough councils have signed on to the effort, and several state legislators have raised concerns, Kelleman said.

Kelleman, who didn’t take the helm until mid-January, said she wanted to “re-initiate the process.”

“We run the service, but our communities own it and it’s vital that we get this right,” Kelleman said.

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669, or via Twitter @tclift.

Theresa Clift | Tribune-Review
Alesia Castaphney of Duquesne holds a sign at a Port Authority of Allegheny County board meeting Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. She was with a group of riders who voiced concerns that bus service to the Mon Valley will be reduced once a Bus Rapid Transit system is built.
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