Port Authority trying to ease parking crunch during Beechview T work
February 18, 2016 12:06 AM
Businesses in Beechview have complained that the planned reconstruction of the T Red Line in their neighborhood would impact parking.
The T runs past a row of buildings on Broadway Avenue in Beechview.
By Ed Blazina / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
In advance of a public meeting tonight, the Port Authority has announced changes in its six-month project to reconstruct the Red Line on the T system in Beechview to allow more residential and business parking.
For weeks, businesses have complained that the project, scheduled to begin March 27, would eliminate a large amount of parking for months. Residents along Broadway Avenue also have been concerned.
As a result, the Port Authority announced Wednesday that Michael Facchiano Contracting Inc. will do the $8.4 million contract in two stages. Officials from the Port Authority and the contractor will be available at 7 tonight at St. Catherine of Siena Church on Broadway Avenue to discuss the project.
The work involves replacing tracks that run down the center of Broadway between Fallowfield and Potomac avenues. Instead of working on the entire length at one time, crews will finish work on both ends of the project first — including the business district — then work on the middle, which is more residential.
As a result, the parking restrictions should last three months or less in each stage.
To still get the work done in six months rather than over two construction seasons, the Port Authority is proposing to allow the contractor to work Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. instead of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pittsburgh officials must approve the plan.
Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said the agency began talking to Facchiano after the company was awarded the contract last month and revised the construction schedule. The contract also includes financial incentives if work is finished early.
“The thing we’re able to do is limit the time we work in each area rather than working on the whole thing at once,” Mr. Ritchie said.
The construction zone will have four crossovers for pedestrians to get from one side of Broadway to the other, two of which also will accommodate vehicles.
Pittsburgh Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, who represents Beechview, said she is happy with the changes.
“It’s something we have been working on with the Port Authority,” she said. “[The project] is not going to be pleasant — it’s going to be a long six months — but other communities have gone through this and been OK.”
Pete Wagner, owner of The Huddle bar/restaurant and one of the more outspoken business owners, said he likes the changes, but he’s disappointed that Port Authority wouldn’t meet directly with the business community. He predicted tonight’s meeting could produce some fireworks.
Ms. Rudiak said she is disappointed that the neighborhood probably won’t be able to move forward with a proposed project to upgrade T stops and pedestrian crosswalks at the same time the track project is being done. A proposed $910,000 state grant for that work is being held up by the state budget stalemate.
“This grant was supposed to make these improvements happen and it’s being stymied in Harrisburg,” she said.
Ed Blazina: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1470.
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