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April 2011
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gwen [userpic]
Pittsburgh politics, showing its stupidities once again!

So, check out this short article on planned widening of East Carson. Actually, I'll summarize: they're going to spend two years widening East Carson just outside the new Southside Works because of congestion problems they attribute to the shopping complex. Well, while this sounds like a good idea, let me point out a few reasons why it's dumb:

1) The worst congestion in the Southside is not there, and not due to the shopping complex.

The main congestion that occur are during rush hour around the bridge exits, between the Hot Metal Bridge and Beck's Run Road, and between the 10th Street Bridge and the West End Bridge. These are because, well, people like to leave town and go home after work ends. Funny that.

The secondary congestion that occurs is between 1:30am and 2am between 14th and the Birmingham Bridge. This is because the drunks are leaving the bars and start driving home. Again, this has nothing to do with the Southside Works.

2) The Southside Works is attracting a lot of people to it now, but for how long? Given the lifespans of shopping complexes, and how they're often considerably hurt by localised construction (evidence what has happened with the Waterfront with the Homestead Bridge under construction), by the time this project is done, it's likely that the traffic flow to/from the shopping complex will be considerably less.

3) The main traffic for the Southside Works isn't even on East Carson. Most of the people who shop at that complex, in fact, seem to think that going as far as East Carson to park is a horribly dangerous thing to do, and like to drive right down the middle of the complex looking for a place to park.

Really, if they actually wanted to relieve traffic congestion in the area, they should be widening East Carson on that long stretch between 33rd and the Glenwood Bridge. But, that's probably nigh impossible with costs and tracks in the way.

So, yah, they'll be interrupting my daily business for construction of the street near where I live for a totally futile reason. Thanks guys. Another example of the brilliance that Pittsburgh puts into its traffic engineering.

Current Mood: irritatedirritated

Actually, the tracks can be dealt with. Look at the East Busway extension for a recent example (and probably also relevant budget numbers)

East Liberty was the ultimate disaster, as re-planning traffic killed the neighborhood...

The section of Carson Street they're planning to widen isn't residential, though. There isn't much along that section, except railroad tracks, and a couple of industrial parks that were built on former steel mill sites.

They're also not talking about cutting off streets, like they did in East Liberty. They're just widening an existing one. One that really could use it.

Now if only they'd declare some eminent domain along 28, tear down the boarded up buildings, widen that road, and put in some median barriers... that road can be downright scary during rush hour.

Whoops, as I note below, I misread the post - I got the wrong section of Carson Street. That section seems a bit silly to do that.

I still hold to my idea about 28, though ;)

28 is an entirely different set of problems. :)

Just in case people who are less familiar with the area and don't know which cross streets go where:

I live a block from 25th and E. Carson. So, yes, the area between 25th and 30th are still residential (and commercial)!

(no subject) - (Anonymous)

The Era of the Automobile is unlikely to die in the next two years, to be fair. :p

(no subject) - (Anonymous)

Yah, I think that requires *way* more traffic engineering than this city has ever seen. Probably even combined.

Having driven that section of East Carson Street during my daily commute for over two months, I can attest that the congestion is still pretty bad, even if it isn't the worst. When hitting East Carson during rush hour, it could sometimes take close to an hour to get from the Hot Metal Bridge to Becks Run. I'll agree that the Southside Works isn't really the main cause of the traffic, but I'll argue that the Hot Metal Bridge is definitely a key contributing factor, as it provides a convenient link to the South Hills from inside town without having to go out of the way to the Glenwood or Fort Pitt bridges, and it allows one to skip the mess of going through all the traffic lights and nasty traffic of the rest of Carson Street.

Alleviating the congestion on East Carson will also help the rest of Carson, as it will cut down on traffic backing up into the South Side during rush hour - it won't eliminate the nasty traffic by a long shot, but it should help. In any case, it will definitely help anyone coming across the Hot Metal Bridge who is heading off to, say, Baldwin Borough, for example ;)

Whoops, I misread the original post. I thought gwenix was saying that the section from Hot Metal to Becks Run _was_ what they were widening (especially since I thought I had read that's what they were doing somewhere else).

The section between 25th and 33rd is a bit different. My mistake!

Ah, OK. And I replied based on only reading the first part. :)

Firstly, why are you driving on E. Carson to commute from the North Hills to Lawrenceville? I'm very confused by this!

Secondly, Creating a bottleneck between the Hot Metal Bridge and Becks Run Road (which is what this widening will do, since the road will go from 4 lanes to 2 in the middle of that section) will probably actually make the problem worse.

I agree that the Hot Metal Bridge is a big factor, as are all of the other bridges in/out of the Southside (they all support a lot of traffic during rush hour for many reasons, and they're choke points since they're the only access across the rivers).

But I don't see how your point invalidates mine: that widening the thoroughfare between the Hot Metal Bridge and the Glenwood Bridge would be a much better use of construction time than merely in front of the Southside Works.

It doesn't need to be widened all the way to the Glenwood bridge, as carson along "river road" isn't so bad once you get past the light at becks run. What the area needs is a limited access run from hotmetal to becks run, along the river behind the new complexes. Which of course will never happen cause they didn't think ahead before they let upmc and the fbi have choice riverfront property. Unless they can run it over the tracks somehow, which would just be too expensive. Meh.

On the up side, the addition of turning lanes will help the area somewhat, as a lot of the traffic comes from all the crossstreets and cars cutting in from sara and jane. But it doesn't remove the actual bottleneck. The traffic, as you mentioned, isn't for access to the shopping center. Its through traffic to baldwin for people trying to go home. If turning lanes also mean "through lanes", it will improve slightly. But it won't solve the problem.

To answer your first, I'll note that at the time, I was living the South Hills, not the North Hills. Remember we didn't have a house yet when we moved back to Pittsburgh ;)

To answer your second - I goofed, and misread your post. Whoops! We're actually in agreement ;)

I don't suppose it would do any good to write them and complain, although of *course* since they've already secured the funding, it would be horrible if they admitted *now* that perhaps they were wrong. Somehow. Ya know?

It wouldn't be horrible, just a waste of time by their view. Understand that the funding is secured, the contractor who was pushing for it is joyful, to open the discussion to renege it now would just be a lot of debate, lobbying, and crap they don't have time for.

So, meh. Wish I'd known about this before the funding was secured.

So I've got a question, in part in relation to the whole "end of the era of the automobile" thought. At what point is somebody going to stop and say that Pittsburgh is a wonderful city, designed around the most cutting edges of population density and transportation - if you're thinking the 1920s or 1930s, at the latest? I keep thinking this, every time I'm back.

It isn't just that cars themselves have gotten bigger. It's that there's a lot more of them. Which most of their owners seem to drive considerably faster. Add to that, the natural geography limitations of certain parts of Pittsburgh, and the question I find myself logically asking is, is there really so much left that can be done? Or has current human ability and available funds been maxed out?

Don't get me wrong, I ask myself this when I go back home to D.C. The Beltway on Friday afternoon makes the prospect of building another road on top of it almost seem worth cheering for. But with Pittsburgh? Pittsburgh, I just find myself scratching my head over.

Sorry you're getting screwed in all this tho. And yes, big shopping complexes aren't as popular for years, and construction does hurt them. Which, frankly, one doesn't need a degree in engineering to figure out - common knowledge, really. And yet...

Can't wait to have my say

Hey - I am really glad to discover this. cool job!