Traffic, transit improvements begin at Robinson Town Centre

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Motorists, bus riders, bicyclists and pedestrians will benefit from a $1 million, five-month transportation improvement project set to start Monday at Robinson Town Centre.

The Airport Corridor Transportation Association, or ACTA, plans a four-way intersection with a traffic light and crosswalks at IKEA, a bus hub with a bike station, a left-turn lane from the PNC Bank plaza and shared bicycle lanes connecting the Robinson shopping center with the Montour Trail.

Lynn Manion, executive director of ACTA, said the project will make the Robinson and North Fayette commercial centers more accessible to those traveling by foot, bike or bus, including shoppers and many of the 25,000-plus people employed within a mile and a half of IKEA.

“When this area was built 25 years ago, it was built more with the idea that everyone would drive a car, but times have changed,” she said.

Donegal Construction Corp. of Unity will conduct roadwork from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays on Park Manor Boulevard near IKEA, beginning Monday if weather allows, and wrapping up in late July.

One lane will be closed temporarily in each direction during work hours, with the lanes reopening to evening and weekend traffic.

Funding for the work is from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, IKEA, PNC Bank and ACTA.

The four-way intersection at Park Manor Boulevard will connect a new IKEA driveway with the westernmost Robinson Town Centre entrance, which is near the post office. The junction will include a traffic light and crosswalks with countdown signals.

In conjunction, IKEA will fund work on its own property, including reconfiguration of its ring road, Ms. Manion said.

A new bus hub in front of IKEA will replace the existing public transit shelter, which often is overcrowded and sits too close to the roadway, Ms. Manion said.

She said ACTA is examining whether the existing bus stop can stay in place during construction or if it will have to be temporarily moved.

The bus stop serves the 28X Airport Flyer, 29 Robinson and 24 West Park routes of the Port Authority of Allegheny County.

Covered and open-air accommodations in the new hub will include two shelters, two benches and three round picnic tables, along with lighting, a message board, of bus schedules and bike connection maps.

Bicyclists will have access to bike racks and a work station to fix flats and make minor repairs.

“This is a first for our region, that we’re doing a bus shelter that’s more than a bus shelter,” Ms. Manion said. “It’s not just for the people who ride the bus.”

Signs and roadway markings will alert drivers to share the road with bicyclists along Park Manor Boulevard, Robinson Town Centre Boulevard and Robinson Centre Drive, between the IKEA bus hub and the Montour Trail at Montour Run Road.

An intersection design called a Florida-T at the PNC Bank/DSW/Office Max plaza will provide motorists with a safer, easier way to make left turns.

After crossing two lanes of oncoming traffic, drivers will enter a lane that channels vehicles onto westbound Park Manor Boulevard without having to wait to merge.

Ms. Manion said the Robinson improvements will relieve traffic congestion, enhance air quality and provide more transportation options.

“It has a regional effect in that people are coming from everywhere,” she said. “It’s wonderful we have the opportunity to give people more of a choice of how they want to get here and how they want to move around in the area.”

Adding sidewalks is part of ACTA’s long-range plan for the area, but funding, legal and time constraints kept sidewalks from being part of the upcoming project, Ms. Manion said.

Funding for the Robinson Town Centre project includes $775,000 through PennDOT and its Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative grant.

PNC Bank donated $21,000, while the home furnishings store IKEA donated at least $200,000 plus land for the new bus hub.

Robinson-based ACTA — a private, nonprofit membership association of local businesses and government entities — has spent more than $25,000 in labor, legal fees and other costs.

Ms. Manion said community input and a mobility study guided the project.

Robinson commissioners in November gave permission to ACTA to schedule roadwork during daylight hours with the condition that if police determined it caused traffic problems, construction could be moved to overnight hours.

To receive project updates via email, send a request to amy.mathieson@actapgh.org.


Andrea Iglar, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.

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