The only main transportation line passing within a block of the business district is the Norfolk Southern line. Given its isolation regarding the street layout, I have my own theory of how to possibly revitalize this city. I consider myself to be a strong supporter of commuter/regional rail, and I believe this could be used to improve access and mobility of the city. It could provide a sense of connectivity with the rest of the county and the region as a whole.
I have been reading the comprehensive plan for Westmoreland County, and according to the 2004 document they are trying to pursue commuter rail options for county residents. One of the options is using the Norfolk Southern line between Pittsburgh and Greensburg. Also stated in the comprehensive plan is bus data, and the shuttle bus serving this very corridor is one of the most frequently used in the county. By adding regional rail, I think more people would be enticed to use public transportation along this corridor. Aside from Greensburg and Jeannette, I believe other possible station locations would include Irwin, Penn, Trafford, and various densely populated areas of neighboring Allegheny County.
Establishing regional rail would be only the beginning of the revitalization. Having rail access right in the economic heart of Jeannette could drive up property values, potentially enticing developers to consider investing in improved business use for the city. By establishing regional rail service accessing Jeannette and especially considering its complicated street grid, the city should
- Encourage transit-oriented development to promote pedestrian activities
- Improve the street layout to promote safety for pedestrian traffic
- Improve and possibly redesign some of the streets to allow for any increased traffic due to the station.
- Construct structured parking to accomodate autos associated with commuters using the train station
- Establish zoning to encourage mixed use development around the rail line and station site