Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Idea for the Airport Corridor: Inter-modal transportation center at Pittsburgh International Airport.

Well, we're returning to the topic of transportation, and I have finished putting together my idea for improving transportation in the western corridor.  I still envision the extension of the light rail system out to the airport, but I also envision a series of bus-rapid transit routes jutting out from the light rail terminus to serve the larger western region of Greater Pittsburgh.

For now, there are two BRT lines originating from the airport terminus, with one extending out to Steubenville, Ohio, and the other extending southward to South Pointe in Washington County.  The Steubenville area was recently added to the combined statistical area given the amount of traffic moving between Steubenville and the airport vicinity.  The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will soon break ground on their latest leg of the Southern Beltway, which will provide a direct link from the airport to Interstate 79 near the Allegheny-Washington County Line.

Both lines will extend along the Route 576 alignment to a fork near the US 22/Route 576 interchange, which is the current terminus.  The Steubenville Line will extend from the Route 576 interchange and follow the US 22 alignment all the way to Steubenville.  Stops will be provided at some interchange locations as well as at a few over or underpasses near dense residential areas.  The South Pointe line will continue along the Route 576 alignment before branching off to follow Quicksilver road to Midway.  At Midway, it will follow a series of trail alignments to Southview, Cecil-Bishop, and eventually Interstate 79 before terminating at South Pointe Boulevard.

The goal of this transportation network is multi-fold. As stated above, the Weirton-Steubenville Metropolitan Statistical Area was recently added to the Pittsburgh Combined Statistical Area given the recent transportation trends that have occurred with recent growth in the I-376/US 22 corridors.  While the population density is not there for any guided rail system, bus-rapid transit should be a rather viable option and should enhance the economic growth of this region.  Pittsburgh is trying to establish itself as a region where bus-rapid transit is viable.  I think this transit option would work very well in this part of the region.