WTAE-TV: VIDEO: Bus lane project on Parkway East aims to ease inbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel traffic

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission is sharing plans to lessen traffic at the Squirrel Hill Tunnel inbound.

The project is part of the “Eastern Pittsburgh Multimodal Corridor.”

It will allow public transit buses to bypass the Squirrel Hill Tunnel, by creating a bus lane on the shoulder of the Parkway East (Interstate 376) from Churchill to Edgewood, connecting the parkway to the busway.

Parkway inbound traffic is something Rose MacDonell avoids.

“Even after rush hour, there’s always traffic going through the tunnels anymore. And I’m baffled as to why,” MacDonell said.

Angela Burley avoids it too, out of fear for her safety.

“I avoid the parkway because it’s very dangerous to me,” Burley said.

She opts for the long way around the Squirrel Hill Tunnel that is likely to see a slowdown daily.

Rich Fitzgerald, executive director of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, is hopeful a $142 million federal grant could lessen the traffic.

“They’re going to be building a bus lane, a bus ramp, a bus lane on the Parkway East coming by where the Churchill exit is. That will then connect up onto the East Busway at Edgewood,” Fitzgerald said.

He said this would allow public transportation buses to bypass the Squirrel Hill Tunnel. This extended bus lane will be part of what’s called the Eastern Pittsburgh Multimodal Corridor Project.

The goal is to have fewer buses passing through the tunnel and more drivers opting to commute to work via public transit.

“Anytime you make things more convenient, more reliable, quicker and cheaper, more cost-effective, people are going to use those options,” Fitzgerald said.

“It would definitely make it easier, more reliable,” East Pittsburgh resident David Tyler said.

Fitzgerald said while work could begin soon, the project will likely take a few years to complete.

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