WBEZ | pittsburgh http://www.wbez.org/tags/pittsburgh Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en $7.3 million OKed for downtown ‘bus rapid transit’ http://www.wbez.org/story/story/city-devotes-73-million-downtown-brt-96580 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-21/BRT_Flickr_.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Transmilenio" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-20/Transmilenio.jpg" style="margin: 9px 18px 6px 1px; float: left; width: 374px; height: 247px;" title="Bogotá, Colombia, has the world’s most advanced bus-rapid-transit system. (flickr/Oscar Amaya)" />Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration has decided to channel more than $7.3&nbsp;million in tax increment financing toward a &ldquo;bus rapid transit&rdquo; line downtown, according to transportation and economic-development officials.</p><p>The money will combine with an announced $24.6&nbsp;million from the Federal Transit Administration to speed up trips between Union Station, the Ogilvie Transportation Center, several Chicago Transit Authority lines, Streeterville and Navy Pier.</p><p>&ldquo;About 50&nbsp;percent of the commuters who come to work every day in Chicago&rsquo;s central business district arrive by bus or train,&rdquo; said Peter Skosey, vice president of the Metropolitan Planning Council, a nonprofit group working on the project. &ldquo;If they&rsquo;re getting off at those Metra stations in the West Loop, it&rsquo;s quite a hike over to North Michigan Avenue or even just to State Street. So this really facilitates the use of transit for downtown Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p>Bus rapid transit, known as BRT, delivers many benefits of rail at a fraction of the cost. The most advanced BRT systems have sprung up in Bogotá, Colombia; Guangzhou, China; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Ahmedabad, India.</p><p>BRT remains largely unknown in the United States. Modest systems are running in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas and Eugene, Oregon.</p><p>In 2008, Mayor Richard M. Daley&rsquo;s administration said it was moving on a BRT pilot project. But the city bungled an application for $153&nbsp;million in federal funding for it.</p><p>Emanuel&rsquo;s mayoral transition plan last year promised a &ldquo;full bus rapid transit pilot&rdquo; within three years. The pilot, according to the plan, will include &ldquo;dedicated bus lanes, signal preemption, prepaid boarding or on-board fare verification, multiple entry and exits points on the buses, limited stops, and street-level boarding.&rdquo;</p><p>The Chicago Department of Transportation is keeping lips tight about its design of the downtown line, known as both the &ldquo;East-West Transit Corridor&rdquo; and &ldquo;Central Loop BRT.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s not clear the design will include many of the timesavers listed in Emanuel&rsquo;s plan. A CDOT plan announced in 2010 would remove cars from some traffic lanes, rig key stoplights to favor the buses, improve sidewalks, install bicycle lanes and build specially branded bus stops equipped with GPS-powered &ldquo;next bus&rdquo; arrival signs.</p><p>The CTA, meanwhile, has a separate $1.6&nbsp;million federal grant to plan BRT options along a 21-mile stretch of Western Avenue. Another $11&nbsp;million from the feds is funding bus improvements this year along the South Side&rsquo;s Jeffrey Boulevard. That line, though billed as BRT, will lack many features for speeding up trips.</p></p> Tue, 21 Feb 2012 11:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/story/city-devotes-73-million-downtown-brt-96580 Rahm vows bus rapid transit, but can he deliver? http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-23/rahm-promises-brt-can-he-deliver-90926 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-23/Transmilenio.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>All this week, WBEZ is looking at <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/first-100-rahm-emanuels-first-100-days-chicago-mayor" target="_blank">Rahm Emanuel’s first 100 days as Chicago mayor</a>.</p><p>One of Emanuel’s pledges is to push for the creation of the city’s first bus-rapid-transit line. The idea behind BRT is to deliver the benefits of rail at a fraction of the cost. BRT shortens travel times through dedicated bus lanes, pre-paid boarding that’s level with station platforms, and traffic signals that favor the buses.</p><p>WBEZ’s West Side bureau reporter <a href="http://www.wbez.org/staff/chip-mitchell" target="_blank">Chip Mitchell</a> gives us a progress report on Emanuel’s ambitious plan.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 23 Aug 2011 16:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-23/rahm-promises-brt-can-he-deliver-90926 Changing Gears: What Gary can learn from Pittsburgh http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/changing-gears-what-gary-can-learn-pittsburgh <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Changing Gears_Gary.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Pittsburgh and steel began a courtship in the late 1800s. That affair would eventually produce a lovechild: Gary, Indiana. In the early 20th century, Pittsburgh&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href="http://www.ussteel.com/corp/index.asp">U.S. Steel Corporation</a> decided the best spot near Chicago to build its new mill would be Gary.<br /><br />The new mill employed thousands and helped the young city of Gary grow big and strong. But when the once plentiful steel jobs began to disappear, both cities fell on hard times. <br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.changinggears.info/"><br />&quot;Changing Gears</a>&quot; has been looking at the reinvention of Pittsburgh, and in this final report WBEZ&rsquo;s Michael Puente went to Gary to see if this smaller Steel Town can learn from its industrial mother. He found that old habits are hard to break.</p></p> Fri, 19 Nov 2010 14:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/changing-gears-what-gary-can-learn-pittsburgh Changing Gears: What Detroit might learn from Pittsburgh http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/changing-gears-what-detroit-might-learn-pittsburgh <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//CG.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://www.changinggears.info/" target="_blank">Changing Gears</a> has already taken a look at the re-invention of Pittsburgh. In a three part series, reporter <a href="http://www.changinggears.info/2010/11/17/changing-gears-presents-reinventing-pittsburgh-part-3/" target="_blank">Dan Bobkoff tracked how Pittsburgh put its economy back together</a> after the steel industry collapsed. <br /><br />The story picks up in another Midwestern city as <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/staffhulett.html" target="_blank">Sarah Hulett</a> of Michigan Radio explored whether Pittsburgh can provide a model for the reinvention of Detroit.</p></p> Thu, 18 Nov 2010 13:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/changing-gears-what-detroit-might-learn-pittsburgh Changing Gears: Reinventing Pittsburgh, part three http://www.wbez.org/story/changing-gears/changing-gears-reinventing-pittsburgh-part-three <p><p>Pittsburgh is looking up these days. Many people point to the steel mills turned into technology parks, or the slight uptick in population as signs that Pittsburgh could be a model for the rest of the industrial Midwest. But all this doesn't mean Pittsburgh is out of the woods. For our series, &quot;Changing Gears,&quot; Dan Bobkoff has part three of his report on the revitalization of Pittsburgh.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 17 Nov 2010 13:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/changing-gears/changing-gears-reinventing-pittsburgh-part-three Changing Gears: Transformation in Pittsburgh, part two http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/changing-gears-transformation-pittsburgh-part-two <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Pitts.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The steel city has successfully transitioned to a medical and technology center. Pittsburgh is home to hundreds of start up companies and a below average unemployment rate. There are more jobs opportunities now than there were during the height of the steel era. Not bad just three decades after its major industry collapsed. <br /><br />In part two of his <a target="_blank" href="http://www.changinggears.info/">Changing Gears</a> report, Dan Bobkoff explained how it happened.</p></p> Tue, 16 Nov 2010 14:55:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/changing-gears-transformation-pittsburgh-part-two Changing Gears: Reinventing Pittsburgh, part two http://www.wbez.org/story/changing-gears/changing-gears-reinventing-pittsburgh-part-two <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//5175414979_b177c6a6e4_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>All this week, our Changing Gears team is looking at Reinventing Pittsburgh. The steel city is now more like the medical and technology city with hundreds of start up companies, a below average unemployment rate, and more jobs than during the height of the steel era. Not bad just three decades after its major industry collapsed.</p><p>Monday, our reporter Dan Bobkoff <a href="http://www.changinggears.info/2010/11/15/changing-gears-presents-reinventing-pittsburgh-part-1/">told us</a> of that remarkable transformation. In <a href="http://www.changinggears.info/2010/11/16/changing-gears-presents-reinventing-pittsburgh-part-2/">part two of his report</a>, Dan tells us how it happened.</p></p> Tue, 16 Nov 2010 12:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/changing-gears/changing-gears-reinventing-pittsburgh-part-two Changing Gears: Reinventing Pittsburgh, part one http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/changing-gears-reinventing-pittsburgh-part-one <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Pitts.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Pittsburgh achieved a milestone recently. For the first time in years, more people are moving to than away from the city. And Pittsburgh residents can&rsquo;t stop raving about their town. The comeback of a city that once focused almost exclusively on steel is a model for other struggling areas of the industrial Midwest.</p><p>But it wasn't always that way. Once, the air was black with soot and the mills ruled the roost. As part of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.changinggears.info/">Changing Gears</a>, Dan Bobkoff told the story of what it's like now.</p></p> Mon, 15 Nov 2010 14:45:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/changing-gears-reinventing-pittsburgh-part-one