Montour Trail-Airport connector

← Back to Forums


Lenny
Participant
#

I haven’t been out on the portion of the Montour Trail that connects to the Airport.Just wondering if there is any progress on this new part of the trail??Any timelines of when or if they already started and how long it will take to be completed??


Ahlir
Participant
#

Can someone explain the purpose of this trail?

Is it for people who work at the airport (and curently have to use the 28X)?

Is it meant for air travellers? I can see packing in a pannier or backpack for a 1-2 day casual trip but for anything longer just doesn’t seem practical; I don’t quite see how a business trip would work (computer, papers, non-cycling clothes).


Steven
Participant
#

I think one intended use is for people flying in to ride the GAP. They’ll be able to get off the plane, assemble their bikes, then safely ride onto the Montour and its connection to the GAP. Right now people doing this get told to take a taxi or bus from the airport to get to some trail.

They’ve started construction already. The on-road portion on Enlow Road has some trail signs up. Recent Montour Trail newsletters have suggested it could be open by the end of 2011 (but of course such projects often take longer than estimated).


Swalfoort
Participant
#

The Montour Trail, as many of you know, passes immediately south and west of the Pittsburgh International Airport. Yet PIT remains one of the few airport terminals in the country to which you are not permitted bicycle access (the only public access road is an interstate highway). So, there is no cycle access.

Access from the Montour Trail will permit both employees of the businesses in the terminal building and the adjacent hotel, to bicyle to work. Access from the Montour trail will also PERMIT pure bicycle tourism along the GAP, in that GAP users could fly to the airport, assemble their bikes, pack them up, and pedal off towards DC (or the reverse). Although not a common practice in the US, this a fairly common practice in Europe.

The connection of the Montour Trail to the Airport Terminal is a fairly easy project. The route will use old airport service roads, and a short length of new trail (perhaps). The biggest challenge is to meet airport security standards (fencing to keep out deer, etc). It is believed that the design is now complete, and that an RFP for construction will be issued this fall. I think I heard that construction COULD be complete this fall. I’ll double check my notes on that when I get to the office in the morning.


humblesage
Participant
#

I live only a few miles from the airport and know people that walk there now through private property, farmland and along very dangerous roads to get to work as it’s the only way for them right now. A lot of them are high-schoolers and young adults, so it will be nice to give them a path to walk along for at least some of their journey.


Ahlir
Participant
#

Ok thanks.

What is the proposed connection from Montour to GAP? (Bearing in mind that the Montour is not actually completed, cf Rt 51 and the risk of embalming-needle weilding zombies chasing after you.)


rsprake
Participant
#

Ahlir
Participant
#

@rspake, that assumes you’re going up the Ohio (somehow).

I’m thinking of going east on the Montour to Clarion.


Steven
Participant
#

Ahlir, rsprake’s link shows the signed on-road connector from the Clairton end of the Montour Trail to the GAP.

The entire Montour from Coraopolis to Clairton, and continuing on to the GAP at McKeesport, is rideable now, despite the missing segments. There’s a pretty reasonable on-road detour for each one, and any cyclist comfortable riding around cars would have no trouble.

The crossing of Route 51 (at a traffic light, with a 500 foot segment on some lawn) isn’t the greatest part of the route, but it’s safe enough and very short. I’ve never had any zombie trouble there myself.


Mick
Participant
#

If there is a trail to the airport, I would use it for air travel.


Boazo
Participant
#

I think they need bike racks too.


Swalfoort
Participant
#

Bike racks would be a reasonable expectation, if they put in a trail to the terminal building.


reddan
Keymaster
#

Pro Tip: when locking up at the airport, do not use the bike with the “This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb” stickers.


Swalfoort
Participant
#

@reddan – speaking from personal experience there? Or just projecting?


reddan
Keymaster
#

Extrapolating a potential poor outcome to a hypothetical scenario.


Boazo
Participant
#

Oh, it would be nice if they put the racks inside the terminal … so if you were gone for awhile the bike wouldn’t be out in the weather and maybe all rusty when you came back.


ejwme
Participant
#

I have gone on many business trips with less than what I used to bike to work with on my bike. I’d totally use the trail to get from the in-law’s house (Moon) to the airport for business trips. I’ve been to very few airports that have had decent pedestrian access, they usually assume taxi, mass transit, or rental car as the only means of access. I like to prove them wrong anyway.


Vannevar
Participant
#

In the original plan, a long time ago in an economy far far away, the Airport Authority had budgeted to build a bike assembly work area in baggage claim in conjunction with the Connector – so that people flying into Pittsburgh to ride to DC could assemble their checked bikes, exit the terminal, and get on the trail immediately.

Shortly after that, USAirways de-emphasized the PIT hub and the budget wasn’t there anymore.

Now, a few years later, the same trail connection is being established and that’s a great thing.

On the other end of the trail, the DC trail network lets you ride ride right up to the terminal at DCA. It’s very convenient for riding one way, and picking up a rental car for the trip back home.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Rotsa ruck with that. We’ve had the 28X for 15 years, and I’m *still* finding no shortage of people who have no clue there is bus service to the airport, let alone where to pick it up (near Door 6).


Steven
Participant
#

Do people really need a bike assembly work area? Can’t they just use a patch of floor? Seems like there’s plenty of that, with the airport so far from capacity.

There are plenty of ads on airport walls, but I can’t recall ever seeing one for the 28X. Though perhaps, if the airport authority is getting fees from the taxi and limo companies, they don’t want to plug a competing government service.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

IIRC there is the logo of a bus on the “Door 6 – Ground Transportation” sign. I would guess this is meaningless to most people. Their decision to use anything other than someone meeting them, or renting a car, was made long before they showed up at luggage claim. That isn’t happening.

I’d say we do need a patch of floor dedicated to bike assembly, but it need not be anything more “infrastructure-y” than a roped off area a couple dozen feet on a side, and signed. In other words, we don’t need drywall, doors, etc., though a big honkin’ camera or two should be placed next to the lock rack.


dwillen
Participant
#

Someone finally taped up a schedule for the 28X (very much doubt it was PAT). How is anyone supposed to know it exists if there is no indication it exists? A nice map, schedule, and a sign that lists the current “CASH ONLY” fare (may as well have interchangeable numbers on that sign, update it every few months when they raise the fare) would go a long way to increase ridership.

You go to the airport website and they list the 28X as leaving every 20 minutes (it doesn’t) and lists the fare as $2.60 (how many years ago was that?).

I think more than half the flights I’ve taken back into town have arrived after the last scheduled 28X. I realize its stupid to run a bus all night, but it sure sucks when a delayed plane means an expensive cab ride. I imagine most people just say f-it and pay for parking. I certainly wouldn’t rely on catching the last bus in a strange city within an hour of a scheduled landing time. I’d just make alternate arrangements ahead of time.


Steven
Participant
#

Yes, there’s some signage in the terminal, same as the signs directing people to other facilities. Outside, PAT has a freestanding sign with info on the frequency and fare. But none of that “sells” people like an ad might.

I wonder if, once they have the new smartcard system in place, they’ll install a machine at the airport that lets travelers pay for the bus with a credit card? That would address one objection people might have.


salty
Participant
#

$2.60 was <2 years ago, I believe. And 20 minute intervals too, maybe… sigh.

An updated sign might get them one extra rider a week, and that’s being generous. What Stu said – how many times have you landed at an airport without already knowing how you were leaving?

It would be cool if there were one more bus at ~1am (I’m getting hosed by that this week), but it’s hardly a peak travel time.

Having just taken the bus for the first time from (newly renovated) SJC, it’s no less confusing. I almost missed the airport bus because I was at the “scheduled buses” stop instead of the “public buses” stop. Luckily the latter wasn’t far away and I was able to make it there after the bus went by me. That bus plopped me down in some barren “transit center”, where I had some time to make the transfer and discovered (after looking at maps on my phone and talking to someone) that I was sitting at the wrong bus 22 stop, the one I wanted was across a parking lot and not really in sight. I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining, it’s just the reality of trying to navigate a strange city by transit, especially at night. That’s why people say f-it and drive their cars instead, even in their own city – they’re too lazy to figure it out and too afraid of the consequences.


edmonds59
Participant
#

It’s a little baffling to me that the last 28x is at 12:05. I can recall PAT touting part of the benefits of that route as serving “service industry workers” in the airport area and the Robinson Multiclusterfk. How many of those people get off to get to a bus stop by 12:05? Again it’s a cycle where, you can’t depend on the service, so you find other ways, so the demand for the service isn’t there, so the provider doesn’t provide the service.

Plus PAT doesn’t seem to bother to get a clue to coordinate with airline flights. pfft.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

What Salty said (paraphrasing): If you don’t know exactly where and when and how, that makes the service either unknown or unreliable, so you make other arrangements. Thus, what edmonds59 said.

This is what I’ve been studying for 15+ years, but cannot figure out how to make a living at.

Beyond that, ear to the ground, the drumbeats are now telling me about YET ANOTHER set of massive cuts coming in FY13 unless this funding fight is FINALLY resolved in the next couple of months. The system is already running only about half the vehicle hours it did 10 years ago.


Ahlir
Participant
#

— I find parking at the airport to be a major pain, so I almost always take the bus.

— The 28X seems to be mostly used by airport workers. Or maybe that’s just the times at which I travel. The schedule is ok but not great (since they decreased the frequency).

— SJC is confusing, but if you figure out the bus thing you end at a trolley stop and everything works out.


rsprake
Participant
#

Last time I used the 28x there was a group from St Louis staying the weekend for the Cardinals v Pirates series.

The information at the airpot and on the website is perfectly clear but if you don’t want to use it, you don’t look for it.


dmtroyer
Participant
#

<rant>the 28X is a poor excuse for an Airport bus. It might as well be called the Robinson Town Centre commuter (who won’t give their seat to someone with baggage) bus. That little jaunt can add a healthy 15 minutes to the ride and puts the overall trip from downtown at almost an hour, the duration of most flights leaving PIT.</rant>


Steven
Participant
#

Around holidays the 28X is often packed with students.

The rest of the time, I find that running every 30 minutes instead of 20-25 isn’t a major issue. It takes me 2.5-3 hours from leaving my front door to when the plane takes off (have to catch a second bus to get to the 28X), so allowing for up to 10 minutes more of waiting for the 28X isn’t a big deal.

Adding the Robinson Town Centre stops back to the 28X increased the scheduled trip time by about 8 minutes, I think, though perhaps it was more during rush hour. The trip used to take about 50 minutes off-peak before the last service cut.


ejwme
Participant
#

to avoid security shenanigans, I typically take the first flight out in the AM – there is no PAT bus that will get me to the airport at 4:30AM. There isn’t even a bus to get me to the airport at 5AM, for the times I decide to sleep in until the second flight out. I passionately hate flying, especially later when there are lines for security, so that rules out getting there by bus.

I have, many times, planned on taking the 28x home and gotten screwed by airlines, touching down exactly 30 seconds too late for us to sprint to the stop (even though we never check bags). We take the shuttle service to one of our parents’ places then, it’s cheaper than a taxi or going all the way home, and we can bum rides/breakfast in the AM.

Bottom line – PAT is a service. The people controling it (via money or politics or both) have no interest in continuing this service for anybody, thus are killing it as quickly and painfully as they can.

We can only make progress one funeral at a time if they don’t kill off the next generation’s will to stay and change things first.

yeesh, sorry for the rant.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Can we get back to the airport trail now? Do we have specs, dates, where and how it will connect on either end, all that sort of thing?


Swalfoort
Participant
#

This is what I got from my sources last week:

The Airport Connector project (from the Montour Trail) has been bid, and the contract awarded. Construction may/should begin this year.

I do not know who got the award, have not seen the final drawings, etc. But, I can find out if it is meaningful……


Steven
Participant
#

It connects to the mainline trail at Enlow Road, next to the Enlow Station ice cream place, a spot called Five Points. That’s also where they installed the “Washington DC 380 miles =>” sign someone recently posted a photo of, right where the airport connector joins the mainline trail.

A recent post on the trail’s mailing list mentions that the trail will go near the approach end of runway 10R (the southernmost of the E-W runways). Perhaps it’s using Harper Road, which is in that area.

A P-G article from May 28 says it will “enter the airport in the general vicinity of ticket dispensers for the parking lots.”

The recent 2010 Annual Report of the Montour Trail Council (PDF) says in 2010 they “reused part of what was once Route 978 (before the 1990s construction of the new parkway to the Pittsburgh Airport), turning this abandoned road into part of the connector trail that should, within another year, create a direct link between the Montour Trail and the Airport.”

I haven’t seen anything that lays out the exact route for the connector yet, just the above hints.

← Back to Forums

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Click here to login.

Supported by