Robinson welcomes 'super shelters' for bus riders

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“Pretty amazing, isn’t it,” Gov. Tom Corbett remarked.

“Pretty cool,” state Sen. Matt Smith said.

They were talking about bus stop shelters, albeit ones with far more amenities than typical shelters.

New Super Stop bus stop opens in Robinson

The Airport Corridor Transportation Association opens the regions first Super Stop, a hub that will serve bus passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists, in front of IKEA in Robinson. (Video by Nate Guidry; 7/29/2014)

Hence the name: Super Stop.

Mr. Corbett and Mr. Smith, D-Mt. Lebanon, were among the dignitaries on hand Tuesday morning to dedicate what was billed as the region’s first multimodal bus hub, serving riders, pedestrians and bicyclists. It was built in front of the IKEA store in Robinson.

Lynn Manion, executive director of the nonprofit Airport Corridor Transportation Association, the project’s developer, said it was years in the making. It was able to advance in part because of Act 89, the transportation funding law signed by Mr. Corbett in November. The law provided funding to continue an on-demand shuttle that delivers workers from the Port Authority bus stop at IKEA to 150 places of employment within 1.5 miles.

Thirty thousand people work in that area, Mr. Corbett said, and the RideACTA service provides access to those jobs to people from throughout the county who don’t have cars.

Several features set the twin shelters apart from their mostly drab counterparts: large picnic tables in the area behind them, bike racks, and decorative screening that gives the shelters the appearance of dorm rooms furnished with brightly hued IKEA sofas and shelving. Also: a bike station that has an air pump, several types of wrenches and a QR code that, when scanned, delivers a series of how-to videos for basic repairs.

Other improvements include crosswalks from the shelters to the shopping plaza across from IKEA, a realignment of the entrances and exits to create a four-pronged intersection with traffic signals on Park Manor Boulevard, a protected channel for left-turn traffic from PNC Bank, maps and informational signage, and share-the-road markings from the Montour Trail to the shelter.

State funding paid $775,000 of the $966,000 cost; IKEA contributed land, paid for the final inspection and donated $170,000; PNC contributed $21,000.

The project began to take root in 2001 when ACTA sponsored a walking tour for public officials that illustrated the unfriendliness of the shopping mecca to anyone not in a motor vehicle, said Bob Dudash, president of the organization’s board.

“We are changing the mobility in the suburbs from being only automobile-driven,” he said.

The shelter is at the transfer point for riders of three Port Authority bus routes, including the 28X Airport Flyer, who want to use RideACTA. Ms. Manion estimated that 400 people use the stop on a typical day.

IKEA store manager Terri Noble said the backdrops in the shelters were produced by the store’s graphics department and will be changed periodically. “Now it’s back to college,” she said. “We might do something around the holiday season.”

The store’s contributions to the Super Stop were an extension of the company’s commitment to the environment, which includes recycling three-quarters of its waste material, use of flat shipping containers, solar panels on the store roof and a phase-out of incandescent lighting sales by 2016 in favor of LED products, she said.

“Our commitment to sustainability extends to the movement of people,” Ms. Noble said.

The project “is definitely a model of how to complete projects in an era of decreasing public funding,” said Sam Abatta, president of the Robinson board of commissioners.

Jon Schmitz: or 412-263-1868. Twitter: @pgtraffic.

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