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MOVEPGH Project Prioritization Map is Online!

The MOVEPGH project team would like to thank everyone who came out to the Prioritization Workshops and the Peer Cities Summit back in November!  We had a lot of great interactions, and learned a lot from our guest speakers.  Check out a summary of the meetings below.

We have published a map of all the projects that were presented at the workshops--there are a lot of projects, and once you see all the dots on the map, you'll get an idea of why this prioritization exercise was so important!  Full background info about the map, the project categories, and the ranking system can be found on the project map page.

The public comment period for the prioritization map has closed--thank you to everyone who submitted comments!  We got nearly 1,000 comments, so we're now working to process them all and incorporate them into the next phase of MOVEPGH.  Stay tuned to this site for the latest information.

Go to the MOVEPGH Project Prioritization Map & Comments Page

MOVEPGH Prioritization Workshops and Peer Cities Summit
Summary of Public Events

MOVEPGH Prioritization Workshops were conducted on November 7th and 8th, 2012 for the public to review and provide input on the draft list of recommended projects generated over the course of the study.  The MOVEPGH study team evaluated and prioritized the projects, and workshop participants were asked to provide comments on these projects and their recommended rankings.

As an additional public involvement opportunity during the week, Pittsburgh’s Department of City Planning hosted speakers from around the country at a Peer Cities Summit on Friday, November 9th, 2012 from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm at the Carnegie Mellon University, Rangos 3, 5032 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh.  The Summit offered an opportunity for the public to learn how innovative transportation projects including Milwaukee’s Park East Freeway, Portland’s Bicycle Program, and Cincinnati’s The Banks project achieved public buy-in, secured funding, and impacted communities.  Over 21 participants in addition to members of the City Planning Department and study team attended the Summit. A video recording of the Peer Cities Summit will be made available on the MOVEPGH website.

At each of the workshops, the public viewed a PowerPoint presentation about study findings and the process for how candidate projects were evaluated, followed by a question/answer period.  Participants then moved to three stations for types of projects (Roadways, Transit, and Bicycle/Pedestrian), where projects were identified on both maps and written lists, to discuss preliminary project prioritization rankings with members of the study team.

Preliminary Project Evaluation Criteria:

The preliminary project evaluation criteria are intended to express measures of effectiveness for proposed candidate projects with regard to the five Community Goals developed through the initial public and stakeholder outreach efforts of MOVEPGH.  The evaluation criteria were used principally to assign basic scores to projects, allowing them to be ranked in order of their overall score as the first step at prioritizing the projects.  The recommended prioritized list of projects will likely differ from the initial draft list being presented at the workshops, as it will be refined using staff and stakeholder input.

The five MOVEPGH goals and their respective evaluation criteria metrics are:

  • Goal 1: Provide balanced choices that strengthen Pittsburgh as a regional hub – metrics used to measure a project to meet this goal include: modal options (cars versus transit and bicycle/pedestrian access), street congestion, street options (how well the street network works), and connectivity measures.
  • Goal 2: Support diverse economy through sustainable infrastructure spending – metrics used to measure a project to meet this goal include: unique financing (dedicated to a project), economic development, project cost, concurrency with City mobility (promotes short distance trips), project utility (improves movement of people), facilitate goods movement, and parking facilities.
  • Goal 3: Provide a safe, accessible and healthy environment to live, work, play, learn and thrive – metrics used to measure a project to meet this goal include: operational safety, walking and biking accessibility, access to healthy food sources, impacts to vehicle delay, impacts of vehicle miles traveled, and impervious surfaces (reduces asphalt).
  • Goal 4: Prioritize investments that support community and strengthen neighborhoods – metrics used to measure a project to meet this goal include: appropriateness to context (does the project support existing and future land use), consistency with neighborhood plans, contribution to complete streets, quality of public realm: street character, quality of public realm: landscape/streetscape addition, community preference, and parks and community facilities accessibility.
  • Goal 5: Provide connections to natural and cultural resources – metrics used to measure a project to meet this goal include: river access, connectivity to defined cultural district, and access to open space.

Summary of Question/Answer Period and Workshop Comments:

Why prioritize projects?

  • The MOVEPGH list covers over 300 projects.  All of the projects will not be funded, given current funding constraints, so it is important to prioritize projects to help determine the priority of what should be funded.

Who evaluated the projects?

  • Staff from the consulting team evaluated each project on a number of evaluation criteria, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other technical measurement tools.  The team walked the study area and used this background information for their evaluation.  A Management Committee, representing City planning staff, state, and local agencies, and neighborhood groups, provided input and guidance throughout the study. Local perspective from the public, gathered from community workshops held during the study, provided further insight.

Were objective/subjective measures used in the evaluation?

  • Both types of measures were used. Objective, quantitative measures include metrics such as measured travel time, percent change in vehicle miles traveled (VMT), quantitative travel demand model outputs to estimate vehicle delay from volume/capacity ratios, crash rates, and per mile project costs; subjective or qualitative measures include appropriateness to context and community preference.

How does this process interface with the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Corridor Study?

  • The study team has been in discussion with the Port Authority and will provide MOVEPGH study recommendations to them.  The City will use study recommendations to develop City transit policies and will provide input to the Port Authority and PennDOT.
    The PowerPoint presented premium transit routes and not the rest of the system, so does not tell the complete story of transit access in the City.
    Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) was the focus for this study to look at ways to reduce roadway congestion, resulting in the focus on premium transit service and what would attract riders to transit and away from cars. The BRT Corridor Study is taking place concurrent to this study effort.

With respect to transit ridership, in this study, do you ever ask “What would it take to get you out of your car?”

  • Yes, responses usually refer to obstacles to using other modes.

Has the study looked at queue jumping or signal timing for transit preference?

  • These strategies will be included in the City’s toolbox for improvement options in the street design manual.

For getting people in and out of the City, what about using the rail – make use of freight track for commuter line?

  • There are candidate projects under consideration for rail.  The issue with the freight corridors is that they are privately owned and operators will demand full lease of hours of day use by commuter rail.

How will sidewalks be improved?

  • The study has developed a map of where sidewalks are and where there are gaps.  The study team does not necessarily know the condition of all existing sidewalks – public input will be helpful in this regard.  It is recommended as part of the plan to set up a fund to deal with specific public requests for infrastructure improvements including street maintenance, curb ramps, and sidewalk repair.

What improvements could be made to take the City of Pittsburgh from a Bicycle Friendly Community award level of Bronze to an award level of Silver (as awarded by the League of American Bicyclists)?

  • The next steps include further improvement of bicycle facilities and broader reaching programs including on-street bikeways, bike share programs.  Look to National Association of City Transportation Officials bicycle guidelines. (

Are there car pool incentives being considered for the MOVEPGH plan?

  • Travel Demand Measures (TDM) encourage car pool/home telecommute models.

Has intersection signalization been considered as a strategy for improving traffic movement? With before and after studies, there can be up to a 25% return on investment improvement.  The plan should have funding allocated to this option.

  • This strategy will be included in the City’s toolbox of improvement options in the street design manual.

Is the $270 million in Federal planned transportation investments over a five-year period?

  • This planned allocation would be made over the next 25 years.  This is a combination of Federal, State, and local funding anticipated to be spent.  There are ways to expand this funding pool, through competing funds or some sort of taxation.

That is only $10 million/year, which is not a lot of money for projects – is yearly repair/maintenance part of that funding?

  • Basic maintenance is not included in that funding. Transit is struggling with funding services.  Cities that are succeeding have to make decisions about funding transit – they are making decisions to pay for assets themselves or by county.  We want to be sure that funds are spent the best way possible to best serve the City’s interest.  Our library system is a good example of that – we raised taxes to support the PGH library system.

Is it too early to tell the impact to the election on funding?

  • Currently there is Federal “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP21) funding in place for a two-year surface transportation reauthorization through September 30, 2014 by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration.  It is difficult to forecast future funding at this point.  The development of measurable goals and a continued consistent planning process by the City will help obtain future Federal funding. Additional funding sources do become available – for example, recent stimulus funding.  In addition to top-down Federal funding stream, the City can also have conversations locally and use existing investments to direct toward projects that are shovel-ready.

Additional comments collected during workshop:

  • Route 65 – List light rail on transit project sheet so there is a cross reference
  • Prioritize Parkway Center proposed transit.
  • Please prioritize the subway over a BRT – spine lines.
  • Strip District streetcar could connect with buses to enhance even downtown transit
  • Lower the railroad track to keep the park and lower Northside level
  • Airport BRT – make it easy to bring visitors into the City
  • Evaluate Downtown/Oakland/East BRT versus rail (is the BRT proposal enough to produce the perception and investment needed?)
  • Include CWX to Lawrenceville
  • Other overlapping projects: Strip circulator/shuttle/streetcar – which is most viable? Can streetcar be sustainable with tax increment?
  • Improvements outlined in SMART TRID are critical to attracting other investment in those areas, which are on the verge of seeing business and residential revitalization
  • Education for alternative modes is a priority project; investing in getting kids/youth to understand/be comfortable with alternatives to cars will pay off in later years with more people of driving age will to travel by alternative modes – this is an important medium-long term payoff.  Statistics show that once a person gets a car, they are very highly unlikely to travel regularly by other modes.
  • Yes, do the 21st Street Corridor project
  • Do a TIF district in Hazelwood’s brownfield to pay for light rail between it, Oakland, and Downtown (like Copenhagen Metro); change land use for way higher densities
  • The transit plan does not think about anything but one subway line? What about to the airport or short connection to Southside – let’s increase funding to get it done.
  • Don’t remove the trolley lines on Chestnut – they add character.
  • Connect E. Ohio through Allegheny Center – along with two-way around Center.
  • Road diets are good; curb bump-outs impede bike lane flow?
  • Did you connect streets through Allegheny Center? Do it!
  • Penn, Carson, Liberty, Butler streetscapes are huge – do it!
  • New York City is doing easy/cheap curb bump-outs, and street improvements – look at Times Square.
  • If you make the City more bike-friendly, you need to make sure the existing bikers have access to use the new bike lanes
  • Prioritize additional sidewalks in neighborhoods such as Banksville
  • Look at topographical issues in regards to ease of biking – i.e. bike escalators
  • Route 51 multi-use path sounds good – what about a safe pedestrian crossing at 51 – West Liberty (and other intersections)?
  • Foundation funding for small infrastructure projects is an issue.  Foundations do not want to fund safety or accessibility projects.
  • Did you look at methods/funding for keeping bikeways clear during winter?
  • The Bike Plan does not seem bold enough – these are just main streets
  • Can we do raised “Copenhagen lanes”?
  • Can we get A) a transit or bike LOS or B) get rid of traffic LOS?  Yes.  Focus on pedestrian and transit projects; we cannot expand roadways easily

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posted 12/04/12 @ 2:19 pm
William Peduto, Mayor | Ray Gastil, AICP, Acting Director
City of Pittsburgh | Department of City Planning
200 Ross St, 4th Floor | Pittsburgh, PA 15219
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