It is nice to see a renewed effort being put into transit development with the proposed Bus Rapid Transit linking Downtown to Oakland. I am a huge supporter of rapid transit, both BRT and light-rail transit, and think this is an important step in the right direction. My thesis, which was recently featured in the City Paper and on NPR’s “Essential Pittsburgh,” explores a design for a comprehensive LRT plan for the region, which includes roughly 230 miles of track and 114 stations and would cost about $6 billion to construct.
Though I am excited to see the Oakland BRT proposal, I am concerned that a lack of vision of a bigger picture will lead to shortcomings in the future. Pittsburgh really can’t afford to plan piecemeal. Connectivity of the Oakland-Downtown proposal to the other transit lines, existing busways and LRT is essential. As planners think about an Oakland-Downtown corridor, I implore that they consider its effects on a greater transit network and focus on how the new BRT proposal will link up with future developments. If we have a comprehensive goal to work toward, we will have far greater success. Good luck, Pittsburgh! We can do this!