Sharlene McCombs scowled on Friday afternoon as Port Authority of Allegheny County crews worked to remove concrete islands at two former light-rail stops along Broadway Avenue in Beechview.
Port Authority in June closed the stops and nine others in an effort to make its T system run more efficiently. That didn't appease some riders who lost convenient stops adjacent to their homes and businesses.
McCombs, 39, lives next to the former Coast T stop at Coast and Broadway avenues, which is being permanently removed along with the nearby Boustead stop at Boustead Street and Broadway. Between 50 and 100 people a day used the Coast stop, while fewer than 50 people a day used Boustead, according to Port Authority data.
“I don't like it one bit,” McCombs said of losing the Coast stop. “It doesn't ruin my life or anything. I can walk to the next stop (several hundred yards downhill). I'm more concerned about the elderly and people with disabilities.”
Port Authority originally planned to close the Hampshire stop — the one McCombs uses now — instead of Coast, but reconsidered in response to concerns from local business owners and residents who thought the Hampshire stop better served the neighborhood's business district.
Saul Franco, 40, of Beechview, owner of the Tienda La Jimenez market at Coast and Broadway, would have preferred the original plan.
Franco said he lost the Coast stop next to his market while the Hampshire stop remained open in front of the IGA store.
“It's not fair, but hey, there's not much you can do,” he said, adding he hasn't yet noticed a drop-off in business because of the Coast stop closure.
Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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