The Southwestern Pennsylvania Corporation, a 501(c)(3) corporation, on behalf of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC), is requesting Technical Proposals and Price Proposals (together, the Proposal package) for the preparation of a Brodhead Road Corridor Planning Study in Beaver County. The selected firm or team of firms will assist SPC with completing a study with recommendations that will improve safety and mobility for all travel modes along the corridor.

Read more »

The grant is a U.S. Department of Transportation Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) transportation grant. It covers the second phase of the $63 million Route 228 corridor project.

This portion of the project stretches from Route 3020 Haine School Road to the Beaver County line. Gateway 228 also includes the realignment of Balls Bend in Middlesex Township.

The improvements to the stretch of road will allow for better traffic capacity, safety and accessibility.

“Strategically, it’s a great project,” Gordon said.

Gordon said about $17 million has been raised locally for Gateway 228, an amount he referred to as “unheard of” at a local level.

Gr

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission has awarded nearly $9 million in grants that will serve as the final piece of funding for 16 transportation projects worth more than $110 million across the 10-county region.

Some of the money is for planning or feasibility studies, but the bulk of it will allow projects to begin construction, the commission said.

The grants were awarded in two categories: $5.8 million for 10 projects under the Livability through Smart Transportation Program, and $3.186 million for six projects through the Transportation Alternatives Program. The Livability program is designed to link transportation projects with other development work while the Alternatives program encourages bike and pedestrian lanes, trail expansion, and access to public transit.

Read more »

For more than 20 years with the Federal Transit Administration, Vincent Valdes worked with local communities across the country, overseeing their transportation projects from afar but only getting what he called “visceral satisfaction.”

Now, as the new executive director of the 10-county Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Mr. Valdes said he looks forward to seizing the opportunity “to come here and bake the cake myself.”

“I wanted to be able to see the fruits of my work,” Mr. Valdes, 61, said in an interview Friday. “Why not actually come out and do it myself?”

Mr. Valdes was selected in April as the replacement for Jim Hassinger and began his new job on June 15. Mr. Hassinger retired after 19 years as executive director.

Read more »

Most of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been negative: high unemployment, business closures, transportation agencies reeling from revenue losses due to low traffic.

But a seven-page study released Thursday claims there’s one area where Americans have benefited dramatically: Working from home instead of driving to work has saved more than $90 billion in time and actual costs since the pandemic began in March.

Upwork — a Mountain View, Calif., agency that specializes in matching freelance professionals with temporary jobs — concluded that working remotely has become so popular during the pandemic that many people won’t return to driving and the national economy will go through a major shift in the next couple of years. Adam Ozimek, the agency’s chief economist, said he expects Americans to spend the money saved on commuting in other areas such as eating out more often, home improvements or more lavish vacations.

Read more »

The coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt life in the region; overall, residents of Allegheny County are still traveling less compared to 2019. However, bike miles have gone up.

“We pretty much had our best May ever,” said David White, executive director of Healthy Ride, Pittsburgh’s bikeshare system.

The nonprofit’s ridership increased 43 percent from 2019 to 2020. Much of the growth stemmed from Healthy Ride’s partnership with Port Authority: anyone with a Connect Card can take unlimited 15-minute trips. However, beginning May 1 of this year, average trip length increased by 60 percent.

Read more »

After more than eight months of research, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission wants to hear from residents in the 10-county region about where they want to go and how public transit could help them get there.

The agency is conducting an online survey through September as part of a study that will recommend a series of intermodal hubs or corridors to help transit agencies work together better. Dave Totten, a transportation planner for the commission, said it wants to hear from residents regardless of whether they currently use public transit.

Read more »

Distribution of a Public Survey Tool to Inform a Vision for Multimodal Transportation in Southwestern Pennsylvania 

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) has launched an online survey to collect opinions about public transit in the region. This survey is part of the project SmartMoves Connections: A Regional Vision for Public Transit, which is planning for future Multimodal Hubs and Multimodal Corridors.

The survey is primarily map-based and includes a process that will guide the survey taker through a series of questions that correspond with choices and locations shown on the map. SPC worked with the Pittsburgh-based firm, CivicMapper, to create the brief survey, which includes questions about mobility choices and priorities.

Read more »

Through a multiple-stop tour Friday, Butler County officials welcomed Vincent Valdes, the new executive director of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission.

According to a county news release Friday, Butler County officials, including the county commissioners, ushered Valdes and U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th, through stops including construction work improving the Route 228 corridor and the UPMC Sports Complex, the Pittsburgh Penguins practice site, in Cranberry Township.

“We’re in such an expansion mode,” said Kelly about the growth of the county.

Mark Gordon, Butler County chief of economic development and planning, said the tour was to welcome Valdes to the region and showcase the county’s economic development.

“We wanted to show the diversity of the county,” Gordon said.

Read more »

Greensburg is planning a $389,000 project to improve the Five Star Trail, making the popular running and biking destination more accessible to city residents.

“We’re basically trying to improve the connections between the neighborhoods that are adjacent to the Five Star Trail,” said Jeff Richards, Westmoreland County parks planning coordinator and vice president of the Five Star Trail chapter of the Regional Trail Corporation.

Read more »