ShareThis Page

Lamar seeks to remove bus shelters in Carnegie

| Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | For The Signal Item
A bus shelter in Carnegie — this one at Washington and Trimble avenues — is one of four shelters facing removal by owner Lamar Advertising.

Four commuters trying to shield themselves from a bitterly cold wind stood inside a Plexiglas shelter Monday morning waiting for Port Authority's 31 bus at the Washington Gardens stop in Carnegie.

They may soon find themselves standing in the elements, however, as the bus shelter at Washington and Franklin avenues is one of four in Carnegie that owner Lamar Advertising wants to remove. The bus stops would remain.

“It blocks the cold, it blocks the rain — why take it away?” said Delsen Johnson, of Carnegie, who said he waits at the shelter most mornings.

In a letter to the borough, Lamar said the shelters in Carnegie were not generating enough revenue from their advertising space. The agency plans to relocate them elsewhere.

Shelters at the following bus stops are also slated for possible removal: Third Street at Main Street, Mansfield Avenue at Broadway Street and Washington Avenue at Trimble Street.

“The majority of the locations are not performing well enough to offset the initial investment that was made to install these shelters along with the ongoing cost of maintaining and operation (sic) the shelters,” the letter stated.

Lamar must earn at least $2,170 per shelter per year “in order to simply break even,” the letter stated.

Larissa Simko, transit coordinator for Lamar, said Port Authority bus stop changes can lead to shelters being removed or relocated. Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie confirmed that a bus stop at Mansfield Avenue and Broadway Street has been discontinued for at least a year. There are no plans to eliminate service at any of the other three stops, he said.

Simko said Lamar continues to keep up shelters that remain after buses no longer stop there, and the company spends $400,000 a year on shelter maintenance. Lamar wouldn't save money by eliminating the Carnegie shelters, she said.

Johnson called Lamar's plan to remove the shelters “pure selfishness.” “Why take it away from the public because you're not making money?” he said.

Another Carnegie commuter, Vivian Edmonds, agreed.

“It just makes sense to keep it up,” she said. “You're already got it up, just leave it up.”

The Lamar letter also cited the discontinuation of bus stops by the Port Authority as a reason for removing the shelters. The ad agency said the transit authority is “still in the process of working on a consolidation plan and additional stops may be eliminated.”

Ritchie said Port Authority is “always looking at opportunities to consolidate or pull out stops that are not being used.”

Borough council president Pat Catena said he intends to talk to Lamar representatives in an effort to retain the shelters. He said the stops along Washington Avenue are heavily utilized.

“I'm constantly seeing people in those shelters,” he said.

Mayor Jack Kobistek said he sees heavy usage at the three active stops, especially those on Washington Avenue.

He said safety is also a factor.

“It's safer to be in a shelter while you're waiting for a bus,” he said. “If it's an active bus stop, I prefer the shelter to be up and running.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.