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Bus route to return to north Baldwin

| Wednesday, July 15, 2015, 3:08 p.m.

Buses are coming back to north Baldwin Borough and a grassroots group, which rallied during the last year to pressure Port Authority leaders to renew the service, wants to make sure everyone has access to the added route.

An extension of the 44 Knoxville bus line will provide service to the Churchview Avenue section of Baldwin, an area lacking public transportation since cuts were made to routes in 2011.

Buses for Baldwin, with a steering committee of more than 10 South Hills residents, has been gathering for about a year, attending Port Authority board meetings, uniting residents to call state and local leaders and mailing fliers to the nearly 1,700 people who have signed up to participate, said Bob Ieraci, a steering committee member.

The group learned in June that the 44 Knoxville will provide public transportation to the desolated Churchview Avenue and Agnew Avenue areas on Sept. 8, Ieraci said. The Port Authority budget was approved in July with the route extension included.

“It was a whole community effort,” Ieraci said of what the group considers a “start” for adding bus transportation back to north Baldwin.

Buses for Baldwin, coordinated by nonprofit Pittsburgers for Public Transit, is planning a community meeting on July 22 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Baldwin Borough municipal building, 3344 Churchview Avenue, to explain to residents the changes that occurred with bus service and the best ways to get bus passes and tickets.

Willett Road, however, still remains without access to bus transportation, residents told Baldwin Borough council at their meeting Tuesday night. Adding a park-and-ride along Churchview Avenue would give residents living in that area a way to take the bus, said Tracy Keefer of Brentwood.

The group had ideas for locations for a park-and-ride, mostly private locations such as church parking lots and local businesses.

Borough leaders recommended the group approach the owners of the lots individually.

“We're going to keep up fighting,” said Ray Miskiewicz, a 51-year Baldwin Borough resident and retired Port Authority bus driver who plans to take the bus from Baldwin “just to go to town and see what's out there” when it's restored.

Members of Buses for Baldwin plan to take the 44 Knoxville on its first day as a celebration of the restoration, Ieraci said.

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