Pittsburgh City Council
February 2, 2016
Last week, after attending a 4 Mile Run Watershed workshop, I had a brief conversation with an official of the Urban Redevelopment Authority concerning the Oakland Transit Connector project. As you are all aware, the project is a city initiative to construct a roadway from the Almono site in Hazelwood to Carnegie Mellon University and other sites in Oakland. This project would pass through and decimate two neighborhoods, The Run and Panther Hollow.
The URA official mentioned that one reason for this roadway project is that it currently takes 40 minutes by bus to go from near the Almono site in Hazelwood to Oakland. This project has once again brought to the surface a myriad of problems. I would like to share ten solutions for consideration by Oakland’s three councilmen, the councilman for The Run, community organizations, and others who either support or are undecided about this roadway project.
1) Express public buses must be employed from the Almono site in Hazelwood to Oakland. Such buses traveling down Second Avenue onto Brady Street underneath the Birmingham Bridge would be on Forbes Avenue in Oakland in approximately seven minutes at most times of the day–without impacting any adjacent neighborhoods.
2) If needed, an additional roadway could be built adjacent to Brady Street for the exclusive use of buses.
3) Instead of the Almono site’s future tenants traveling to the universities in Oakland, the universities and health institutions should expand at the Almono site to satisfy the tenants’ needs, and the needs of the people of Hazelwood.
4) The fundamental focus for the development of the Almono site must be for the enhancement of the quality of life for the people of Hazelwood.
5) There must be a moratorium on any further expansion by universities and developers in Oakland.
6) There must be honest in-depth Impact Statements on how any future development plans in Oakland affect its longtime residents.
7) Plans for any future expansion by universities and developers in Oakland must be presented to the city council for approval.
8) The local media must end their silence and not sit by idly as Oakland becomes systematically destroyed by its two major universities and developers, both in the residential and business districts.
9) The watershed problems that residents of The Run have suffered for far too long must be resolved immediately without any quid pro quo requests by supporters of the Oakland Transit Connector.
10) Human dignity must be the highest priority in any decision-making, for when that belief is fully understood and implemented, problems become easier to resolve.
Additional objectives for the community of Oakland are on Link 69 of the website www.OaklandDignity.com. Additional information for the Oakland Transit Connector project is on the website www.SavePantherHollow.com.