Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mon-Fayette Expressway update

Leading Mon-Fayette Expressway supporter changes lanes

So, with the increase in costs to construct the final leg of this controversial highway along with strong opposition from communities through which it would pass, Mr. Joseph Kirk, Executive Director of the Mon Valley Progress Council and avid supporter of this proposed freeway, is now suggesting to axe the segment of the proposed highway that would terminate near Oakland at the Parkway East. As an alternative to the limited-access highway, he suggests extending the East Busway to the remaining proposed link to Monroeville and allowing non-transit high-occupancy vehicles to use the busway.

I have said for quite some time that given increased costs and the heavy opposition from Hazelwood and Braddock that this particular segment should just be abandoned. This road is already going to cost several billions of dollars to complete. Construction costs are just getting higher, and the costs associated with acquiring the necessary right-of-way is almost prohibitive.

As for the suggestion to extend the busway and to allow for non-transit vehicles to use it, that idea does not fly with me. The busway should be used solely for high-speed bus service. Allowing non-transit vehicles onto the busway would be beyond counterproductive. Doing so would occupy capacity that should be designated solely for buses which would allow for them to travel at average speeds in excess of 50 mph. Adding vehicles that really should have no purpose using the busway would likely decrease these average speeds.

My suggestion

Extend the expressway from its existing terminus in Jefferson Hills to Monroeville, and extend the East Busway to Monroeville. I would suggest having the busway possibly terminate at the MFE with access ramps intended ONLY for buses. I also suggest that a road should be built between Hazelwood, Braddock, and McKeesport but as a surface road like a scenic parkway or boulevard. These neighborhoods would be linked with each other and bring traffic to these depressed areas rather than through them.