Residents oppose elimination of T stops
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Castle Shannon residents decried the Port Authority's Light Rail Transit system cuts at a council meeting Monday, identifying safety as a chief concern.
Stressing that the borough is not a walking community, residents said they're worried that walking to alternate T stops near busy thoroughfares, Connor Road and Willow Avenue, will be a hazard.
Someone's going to get hit, resident Bill Suvak said. "And it's going to be on the shoulders of the people who made the plan."
Under pressure from county Executive Rich Fitzgerald, the Port Authority announced that on June 25 it would eliminate 13 little-used stops, including two in Castle Shannon that serve both Red and Blue line trains: Martin Villa and Smith Road.
The authority cites low boarding counts and closeness to adjacent stops as reasons the 13 were selected.
The longest distance anyone will have to travel to an alternate stop is about 650 yards, or a 5- to 10-minute walk for most, the authority has said.
"Six-hundred fifty yards is six football fields," and a major inconvenience in inclement weather, resident Lorraine Wuolo said Monday night.
Resident Michael Stout lives near the Smith stop and called the cuts a "travesty of justice" that will hit vulnerable groups, such as seniors and the disabled.
He circulated a sign-up sheet Monday night for people interested in signing petitions or organizing a group to meet with the county executive.
"We need to turn the heat up on Mr. Fitzgerald," he said.
Mayor Don Baumgarten said he will write a letter to Mr. Fitzgerald and copy "all the powers that be" -- including Port Authority CEO Steve Bland, local politicians and state and U.S. representatives. Mr. Baumgarten also said he would join the group for a meeting with Mr. Fitzgerald.
"Whether they'll ever change their mind, I can't tell you," Mr. Baumgarten said.
Mr. Stout told the roughly 50 people in attendance that he will print the petitions and get in touch within 48 hours.
About 20 people signaled their interest on the sign-up sheet Monday night.
Borough leaders told residents they also didn't know about the cuts until they read about them in the newspaper. They are concerned eliminating stops will attract fewer people to the area. Mr. Suvak noted that he lists proximity to the T in ads for his rental property.
"We're just as upset as you," council President Nancy Kovach said.
A few residents declared if the stops go, so does their support for Mt. Fitzgerald.
"Mr. Fitzgerald is never going to get my vote again," Mr. Stout said.
The other stops that will be eliminated are the following: Red Line stops Traymore, Coast, Boustead and Neeld in Beechview and Kelton in Dormont; Santa Barbara in Bethel Park, that serves both Red and Blue line trains; and Blue Line-Library stops at Mine 3, Lindermer, Center, Latimer and Sandy Creek, also in Bethel Park.
First Published June 14, 2012 5:36 am