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Mon-Fayette Expressway might never run to Pittsburgh

This topic contains 204 replies, has 46 voices, and was last updated by  fultonco 1 mo, 1 week.

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edmonds59

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Dec 21 2012 at 10:35pm #

Doh!


Pseudacris

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Dec 21 2012 at 10:36pm #

Also, this highway might help get the fracking fluid closer to the rivers so it can be shipped downstream on barges for processing (sorry Mississippi).

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/17/usa-fracking-shipping-idUSL1E8NH7A520121217


Mick

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Dec 21 2012 at 11:14pm #

I’m confident the fracking water will get to the rivers without the expressway.


Vannevar

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Dec 22 2012 at 4:18am #

@Mick +1.


Anonymous

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Dec 22 2012 at 6:30pm #

Panera was replaced by a now larger Pamela’s

last time I was past the old B&N it appeared as if there was some interior construction going on.


Steven

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Dec 22 2012 at 9:33pm #

I understand IBM is moving into the old Barnes and Noble space in Squirrel Hill. They bought Vivisimo, the specialized search website just across the street, and I guess needed more nearby space. It’s odd having meeting rooms in retail space like that, right behind picture windows from the street.


Pseudacris

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Dec 23 2012 at 12:15am #

^Ha, so that’s what’s going on in that storefront. I noticed all the conference tables with conference phones & was hoping it would not be some sort of Engram debriefing chamber.


Nate

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Dec 23 2012 at 3:01am #

It’s not Vivismo – yes they are on the third floor above RiteAid/Silk Elephant – yes they were bought by IBM – but it’s the second floor guys – M*Modal who are expanding into the B&N space. I get to stay on the west side of the street but many of my friends are moving over. It will be interesting to see how we work out communication. And I don’t know what’s decided about bicycle storage there either!


Steven

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Dec 23 2012 at 6:23am #

Thanks for the correction!


StuInMcCandless

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May 29 2013 at 9:00am #

Fourth try at getting this post to come up. The first three went away, the last two of which after I saw it on the board.

Can we please get a moderator to change the name of this thread?

There IS a VERY real chance the MFSoB will be built. I just got this email, badly mangled by Yahoo: (see next post)


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

May 29 2013 at 9:13am #

Why doesn’t this work? This is the SEVENTH attempt to paste the text in. OK, then, I’ll type it, one paragraph at a time.


From: director@monyoughchamber.com
To: energyflak@aol.com
Sent: 5/28/2013 10:39:21 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: Call for Support for Passage of PA Senate Bill #1 & Mon Fayette Expressway

Call for Support for Passage of PA Senate Bill #1 and completion of Mon Fayette Expressway

Community Sponsors
UPMC
Huntingdon Bank
Anthony Crane USA
KU Resources, Inc.
The Daily News – Trib Total Media
John the Greek Food Concessions
Dorothy’s Candies
Guardian Storage

201 Lysle Blvd.
McKeesport, PA 15132

Dear LinkedIn Friends:

For the first time in fifteen years, comprehensive transportation legislation has been introduced in the State Senate. This legislation includes funding to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission for Act 61 projects including the Mon Fayette Expressway.


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

May 29 2013 at 9:16am #

…continued from above…


We as a Chamber believe that the single most important economic development issue for our region is completion of Mon-Fayette from Route 51 to Interstate 376. This will spur massive new business investment in our Mon Valley by improving access to nine major developable sites along the Monongahela.

Chamber President, Maury Burgwin has been invited to testify at a PA Senate Transportation Committee hosted by Senator James Brewster this Thursday, May 30th at the CCAC Boyce Campus Auditorium at 11:30 AM. We are in support of Senate Bill #1 and applaud the leadership of the Senate Transportation Committee for moving this important legislation forward to the full Senate.

As our Mission Statement says: The Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce is committed to sustaining and expanding the region’s prosperity by uniting business and community. We want to send a broad community based message to our leadership in
Harrisburg. Therefore we ask you to sign this electronic petition stating that you support Senate Bill #1 and the opportunity it will create to complete the Mon Fayette Expressway.

It is also crucial that you consider sending a letter to your state
senator and representative to further emphasize the importance of passing this comprehensive legislation and what it specifically means for you business. Statements in the letter describing what the Mon Fayette Expressway would mean to your business in terms of improved market access or “Just in Time” logistics would be very helpful. Please send a copy of your correspondence to the Mon Yough Area Chamber and call us if we can help on the letter.

Mission Statement:

The Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce is committed to sustaining and expanding the region’s prosperity by uniting business and community.

* Forward this email *

Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce | 201 Lysle Blvd | McKeesport | PA |
15132


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

May 29 2013 at 9:24am #

So, there you have it, just like I said on Page 2.

And to reiterate what I said in an earlier post: “All they need is the money. And don’t be too surprised if, in all this Act 44 post-mortem, that they find it.”

(among other more colorful observations further down the page)


Marko82

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May 29 2013 at 9:54am #

@stu, While I agree that this is a horrible zombie that never seems to receive the proper silver bullet to the brain (or however you kill those things). But take some comfort in the knowledge that nothing big is going to get funded at the Turnpike with the current pay-to-play indictments hanging over every politicians head. Even someone with clean hands is going to think twice about voting to fund something that may involve a perp-walk in the very near future.

That being said, where do we buy those silver bullets or whatever to kill this thing?


byogman

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May 29 2013 at 9:58am #

Not sure if any of this is news or just more talk by folks who want this, but FYI:

http://futures.tradingcharts.com/news/futures/Hope_rises_for_Mon_Fayette_Expressway__Southern_Beltway_198022416.html


Mick

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May 29 2013 at 11:30am #

I have no horse in this race, but playing devils advocate.

I have some cager friends (hard to believe, but true) who think it is awful that the Mon-Fayette hasn’t been completed.

They claim that the original plans for I79 were to go across the Birmingham Bridge and continue through there – and taht the location of the jail, on prime riverfront property, was to forestall that.

Also, in my neighborhood, the opposition to the expressway is that it would ruin the Bates Ave corridor. While this may be true, the argument strikes me as akin to “That will kill all my crabs,” or something.

It took a few decades for the 279 N expressway to be finish. Although it strikes me as an awful river of concrete, I haven’t heard much complaint about it.

It seems pretty silly to have an expressway to stretch for a hundred miles to come within 10 miles of downtown, then stop.

It it starts looking like it might come through for sure, I’d seriously considering buy property next to the GAP between Sutersville and Connellsville. Cager commuters will be salivating to live there.


byogman

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May 29 2013 at 12:33pm #

“It seems pretty silly to have an expressway to stretch for a hundred miles to come within 10 miles of downtown, then stop.”

The existing (largely empty) expressway is a sunk cost. The question is only, does doing the last 10 miles actually make sense given what you have to give up?

I am not at all familiar with the details of plans for this thing, but highways cost a lot to build and maintain (bad and bad), displace a lot (bad), generally play slice and dice with your city in a way that’s hostile to community development and any non motorized transport (bad). So, I’m skeptical to say the least.


StuInMcCandless

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May 29 2013 at 12:41pm #

You should be more than skeptical. You should be jumping-up-and-down-ready-to-throw-heated-spears mad.


edmonds59

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May 29 2013 at 1:06pm #

Mick wrote:It it starts looking like it might come through for sure, I’d seriously considering buy property next to the GAP between Sutersville and Connellsville. Cager commuters will be salivating to live there.

This is apparently what Tom Murphy, otherwise a champion of the city, did in the Cranberry version of this scheme.
This would be a neat counter to the usual “Why should taxpayers who don’t use [cycle infrastructure][PAT transit][insert your peeve here] allow their tax money to pay for… Why should taxpayers pay for a multi-billion dollar highway scheme that will benefit developers and a relative handful of people in some remote Mon valley communities?


byogman

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May 29 2013 at 1:38pm #

Stu, will have to check my basement for spears :)

Not sure how to reconcile this vs. my prior link, (I thought one of the concerns about this project was destruction of what was left in Hazelwood) but I’ll counter with a good piece of news from there: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/planners-approve-zoning-for-massive-hazelwood-project-at-ltv-site-689415/.


byogman

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May 29 2013 at 2:11pm #

“It seems pretty silly to have an expressway to stretch for a hundred miles to come within 10 miles of downtown, then stop.”

Mick, with apologies, I’m going to quote you and play devil’s advocate to your devil’s advocate yet again. I can totally see how a highway (well not this one, but some highways) make a ton of sense 10 miles outside of downtown, but not closer in (or at least not very close in).

Semi-rhetorical question, but has anyone seen expressways in close proximity to a major downtown carrying vehicles, at rush hour, a consistently high (expressway only) speeds?

I think the number of people and the size of two ton cages more or less plugs up any road in those areas regardless of design… there just isn’t ROOM. If that’s the case, then expressways downtown don’t seem very beneficial to even motorists, which means the negatives have little to weigh against, and you should just avoid.

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but anyone care to poke a hole in this?


jonawebb

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May 29 2013 at 2:28pm #

@byogman, try driving to say California U. from Pittsburgh. Half the time is spent working your way through local crappy roads to the Expressway. And then everything is easy once you get on. So pretty much any expressway advocate will make the argument that the connection to Pittsburgh is essential. And they’ll probably win that argument. I’m guessing that the Expressway has too much momentum behind it to get stopped, unless we elect a new state government pretty soon.


StuInMcCandless

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May 29 2013 at 2:57pm #

Of course, nobody, not even the Turnpike crowd, remembers that the original Turnpike started at Irwin, about 10 miles from the edge of the city at that time.


Pierce

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May 29 2013 at 3:39pm #

@byogman

I seriously doubt that that’s going to have any positive effect on Hazlewood. It’s not mixed income housing, which means that new rich people will just move in.

If that actually spreads across Second Ave, which I doubt it will, because it’s a four lane highway, (speed limit is 25, but that’s a joke) and there’s an elevation difference, it will just gentrify Hazelwood

But my guess is that it’s just going to be an extension of what the 2nd Ave looks like on the other side of the hot metal bridge; new commercial buildings, some research/UMPC/stuff, more parking lots, just a place to work, waterfront property completely empty and unused outside of work hours


byogman

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May 29 2013 at 4:12pm #

Fraught question, what new development should look like and how to align incentives to worthy goals, yet also still be developer friendly enough that something happens and there’s some benefit to show… anywhere.

I don’t think we can really go there in this thread without taking it seriously off course. Just sayin’, whatever it is, it’s likely to be better than an expressway.


Ahlir

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May 29 2013 at 4:19pm #


They claim that the original plans for I79 were to go across the Birmingham Bridge and continue through there – and taht the location of the jail, on prime riverfront property, was to forestall that.

If I recall correctly, the Birmingham bridge is the way it is because it was funded by the federal government, as part of the interstate system. Really. Getting money in creative ways is how our congresspeople people get things for us. It’s called pork. (I, for one, have no problem with the bridge: it’s the only one around here that includes proper bike lanes. A remarkable example of foresight on the part of, um, somebody.)

MFE proposals never really included the B’ham bridge:

Note how neatly the routes fit into the local bicycle trail system.


StuInMcCandless

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May 29 2013 at 8:26pm #

And now you know why I said you should be screaming-hopping-dipping-your-arrows-in-poison mad. Four goddamned billion dollars to bulldoze everything we just fought for.

Ten dollars for every dollar spent on the North Shore Connector.


salty

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May 29 2013 at 9:34pm #

I’m with you 1000% Stu. It would be bad enough even without the implications for cycling, that’s just the proverbial icing on the cake (or sharp stick up the ass, if you please).

Mick, if you need a complaint about 279N: it is an abomination that directly led to the gigantic sucking parasite known as Cranberry. All it does is weaken the city while flooding it with more cars. Why is this going to be any different? “Improving access to X major developable sites” is just shitspeak for inducing more sprawl.


byogman

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May 29 2013 at 9:55pm #

That is just a mind bogglingly stupid amount of money. Honestly, as bad as the side effects may be, I don’t even need to know them anymore, not really. That cost alone is more than enough to convince me. Yeah, I’ll go on the warpath with you.


Drewbacca

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May 29 2013 at 11:11pm #

Aside from cost, I have a hard time seeing any infrastructure as a bad thing. It may seem like a waste of time and money to those here who would never use it but it seems perfectly sensible to have the many towns along the Mon and I70 given better access to the city. Have you actually tried driving from down there? The roads are a nightmare. Even without fore investment, the entire southern area has become an industrial hub due to its proximity to I70. The fact that it feels so disconnected from the rest of the Pittsburgh area is one of the reasons why I didn’t take a job in Madison. Although, in fairness, I’d probably buy property right off the GAP and never drive a car again. ;)

But the point is that I do sympathise with the people who benefit from this being completed. It’s a big part of making Pgh an attractive city for more companies to move in and set up shop. I think that completing the mon-fay really falls into the same category as the expansion of 22 over the last decade. I really do see it as “progress.”

If you don’t think it’s worth the cost, that’s one thing. I’d be curious to know some specific objections based on actual studies of the project… besides financing it. Anyone look at the environmental impact preliminary stuff? That usually covers all the bases.


salty

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May 29 2013 at 11:55pm #

So you drop 4 billion, encourage more people to move out in the middle of nowhere, and 20 years later you’re back in the same boat. Why do you sympathize with the people this (allegedly) benefits but not the people who get screwed over?

What good came of Westinghouse being lured to Cranberry? Monroeville and Allegheny County got the shaft, thousands of employees got to add an hour to their commute, and Cranberry comes back begging for tens of millions of more dollars to redo the clusterfuck “connector” they spent $65 million on less than 10 years ago because of all the new traffic.

It’s time to put a stop to it.


StuInMcCandless

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May 29 2013 at 11:59pm #

I said it on page 1 of this thread.

You want freight moved, we have rivers and railroads. You need better commuting, bring back the PATrain and make transit more workable. You need better roads, fix what we have already.
Lose any idea that any piece of this road is needed.


JaySherman5000

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May 30 2013 at 9:15am #

“Four goddamned billion dollars to bulldoze everything we just fought for.”

Where in the plans for the MFE does it include bulldozing the bikepath? I thought on the earlier pages of this thread, it was mentioned that the plan calls for building an elevated roadway along the Mon. And based on the proposed routes in the picture above, it doesn’t necessarily have to affect the bike trail at all.

I understand not wanting to spend $4,000,000,000 on something that’s seen as unnecessary, but if the MFE could provide a direct route into town, it might reduce the number of asshats flying down the back roads. It could also be viewed as an investment that will stimulate growth by allowing more people from a larger area to come into the city for commerce.

I’m sorry, Stu, but without some more concrete evidence that this actually threatens the livelihood of cycling infrastructure, it just sounds like a lot of chicken little talk.


paulheckbert

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May 30 2013 at 9:26am #

Look at route 576 (Findlay Connector portion of the proposed “Southern Beltway”), which connects Route 22 to 376 near the airport, in its present state. Is it needed? No. It’s very little used. A waste of taxpayer money. Was it great for the construction business? You bet!

Look at route 43 (Mon Fayette Expressway) between Large and Uniontown. I drove it recently. It’s a largely empty road. A monument to concrete and asphalt. It’s not even in the Mon River Valley, for most of its length, so I’m skeptical of the economic recovery arguments. What if the money had been spent on improved transit in the Mon Valley, instead? Light rail, say?

Look at the Squirrel Hill Tunnel. It’s bumper to bumper every rush hour. The civil engineers and construction companies should be fixing the horrible Squirrel Hill interchange so it stops generating traffic jams. That’s where more of our tax money should go, not to the MFE or SB. An MFE-booster would say “oh! the MFE will include a Bates St-to-Monroeville bypass to the Squirrel Hill Tunnel, so it’s just the answer to your concerns!”. To which I would answer: “We don’t need the MFE; we need repairs to our crumbling roads and bridges”.

I am irate to see the Turnpike Commission squandering our tax money on another porkbarrel project.


jonawebb

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May 30 2013 at 9:28am #

JaySherman5000 wrote:Where in the plans for the MFE does it include bulldozing the bikepath?

In the map that was posted earlier, if they build the southern shore route it looks like they would get rid of the GAP to Pittsburgh connection. It says Sandcastle would have to move.
The northern shore route would eliminate the Duck Hollow trail and the Hazelwood trail, I think.


JaySherman5000

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May 30 2013 at 9:37am #

The Sq. Hill tunnel is bumper to bumper every rush hour because it is literally the only highway connection between downtown and points east of Pittsburgh. A second highway route to bypass the tunnel would allow some traffic to be diverted, alleviating the daily traffic jam into/out of the city. It actually is a viable solution, whereas simply “fixing what we have” doesn’t alleviate the daily mess.

If this proposed new highway were coupled with an increase in public transit, I think there could be real progress made. That said, I would like to see an itemized list of projected expenses. Four billion seems like a steep price tag, but then again, I’m no expert on road construction.


JaySherman5000

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May 30 2013 at 9:41am #

@jonawebb: has anyone actually asked the planners of this project directly “How will this project affect the bike trail?”

If not, someone should. Then I’ll let you know whether or not I’m ready to bring my spears out.


jonawebb

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May 30 2013 at 9:58am #

JaySherman5000 wrote:A second highway route to bypass the tunnel would allow some traffic to be diverted, alleviating the daily traffic jam into/out of the city.

People tolerate a certain amount of traffic. What happens when you add additional highways is more people move into outlying areas, and eventually the highways fill up again. You end up with just as much congestion on more roads, and more people commuting. And the core areas get depleted of investment, industry, jobs, and people.
What is needed is more investment in transit and biking, which improve quality of life and accessibility in the core areas. And Pittsburgh is sort of half-heartedly making improvements in some of these areas. The Mon-Fayette Expressway is a step back to an earlier mindset.


byogman

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May 30 2013 at 10:11am #

I’ve sat through the mess trying to go through the squirrel hill tunnel. No question that it is absolutely miserable.

But here’s the question, how many people who do that don’t have another credible option, public transit or biking?

And I’m not saying it’s not a lot of people, I just don’t think it’s in any way enough people to remotely justify this kind of price tag. If I’m spending 4 ^&*ing billion dollars, I think it’s more than reasonable to ask at MINIMUM, a million people to raise their hands and say they need it, and not consider the project if you don’t have that as a critical mass. We’re not a big enough town for that.

Now, maybe the eastern busway needs to be longer, have more frequent service, or have more express (v.s. all stops) service. For sure, points east need to be made more bike friendly. That sort of stuff costs, but it doesn’t cost billions. So let’s have that conversation, not this.


StuInMcCandless

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May 30 2013 at 10:50am #

They could, for a whole helluvalot less money, convert one lane of the Parkway East to an bus-only lane, and connect it directly to the East Busway. That third outbound lane starts almost exactly where the busway crosses the parkway. Right now, because of Edgewood’s intransigence against transit, East suburb buses all have to spend 10 minutes threading through brick streets in Wilkinsburg.

Again: Make transit workable. That solves the traffic issues, which obviates the main argument for the tunnel bypass.

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