Second Avenue loop eyed for transit project
When regional leaders start pushing for a long-envisioned mass transit link to connect Oakland with Downtown, it will likely include a loop to Second Avenue in South Oakland and Hazelwood, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato said Friday.
"There are a couple of proposals we are looking at right now," Onorato said at a forum hosted by the Airport Area Chamber of Commerce.
An elevated system traveling through the Panther Hollow-Junction Hollow area, possibly using steel- or rubber-wheeled vehicles, is among those options, he said at the forum at the Doubletree Pittsburgh Airport Hotel.
Onorato said, however, that no major new project -- including either a link from Downtown to Oakland or Downtown to the Pittsburgh International Airport -- will move forward until new federal funds become available.
There is no indication when that would happen, he said.
"I think Oakland would have a better chance of going first, one reason being that it's shorter and also because we already control rights of way," he said.
The county has been working with the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and other organizations in the effort, Onorato said.
Providing additional access between Oakland and Second Avenue would be a positive step toward reaching the full potential of two developments along Second Avenue -- the Pittsburgh Technology Center in South Oakland and the former LTV coke mill site in Hazelwood, said Robert Stephenson, president of the Regional Industrial Development Corp.
Officials expect both sites to attract companies who want to locate near hospital facilities and research universities in Oakland, but can't find space in that cramped neighborhood.
The RIDC is general partner in Almono L.P., a nonprofit partnership of four local foundations that purchased the 178-acre Hazelwood site in September 2002. Plans are for a $400 million development that could create 2,400 jobs and include housing, commercial space, community amenities and greenspace.
The city Urban Redevelopment Authority has outlined plans for a major expansion of the Pittsburgh Technology Center with as many as 11 new buildings.
A transit link could provide relief for the traffic bottleneck that often develops at the Bates Street intersection with Second Avenue, Stephenson said.
"We've talked many times about the need for transit that would serve Oakland and go through Panther Hollow," said Jim Richter, executive director of the Hazelwood Initiative, a community group.
"If not that, we'd like to see more dedicated bus service by the Port Authority that would loop from Oakland through Hazelwood. But the whole issue of funding is the question, particularly now that (deteriorated) bridges are going to start to take precedent."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.