Monday, March 17, 2008

Port Authority CEO Defends North Shore Connector

Usually the monthly Rider Report from the Port Authority is pretty non-eventful. However, this month the report has a very good rebuttal by CEO Steve Bland on why the North Shore Connector is important. He mentions not only direct service to the booming North Shore (including stadiums, museums, businesses, CCAC main campus, a casino, and nightlife) but also use of the large North Shore Parking garage sitting of top of the future T station.

It's good to hear that the Port Authority is thinking bigger than just being a shuttle for Pirates and Steelers fans. I think the nightlife opportunities of the North Shore Connector are huge. Many new bars are opening by the stadiums, and the casino will be one stop away from these bars thanks to the new T stations. In addition, patrons can "bar hop" to Station Square by riding through downtown. Believe me, as I saw on Saturday during the St. Patrick's Day Parade, people like taking the T to Station Square. Now, if it was extended down East Carson...

Anyway, the Rider Report also unveiled this little gem:

It's a snake, right? I think. Anyway, the North Shore Connector now has a mascot! Oh god. I'm just waiting for "CALL 4 ACTION: PORT AUTHORITY WASTES MONEY ON SNAKE WITH HARDHAT!"

And I cannot wait until the new web page about the NSC:
Very soon, Port Authority will include a special link on its web site devoted to the North Shore Project called “The Bore to the Shore.” There, readers can learn more about the project through a variety of new interactive features.
Interactive features! Like a specialized version of Dig Dug using tunnel-boring machines!


  1. Regarding the animal: I'm going to guess that it's a mole. Snakes can't give a thumbs-up. It also kind of looks like a weasel, but that choice leaves a lot open to interpretation.

    But I'm really curious about this. Bland writes:

    "If 'T' service to the Airport and/or North Hills is ever to be a reality, crossing the river is inevitable, and it will not get any less costly than the tunnel we're constructing now."

    I've heard the airport argument made before. I've only lived here for about 5 years, so maybe I'm missing something, but isn't the airport west of Downtown, not north? How does tunneling under the Allegheny help the development of a line to the airport? The Ohio would have to be crossed at some point, right?

    Granted, there are a lot of bridges to use, but isn't there a more direct route that can tie into existing infrastructure?

  2. I don't think it's a snake, but I'm not voting for mole either. It's got stripes on its face. Maybe a badger? A chipmunk? A ferret with stripes? The hardhat really gives it that je-ne-sais-quois sort of authority.

  3. Jake:

    I thought the same thing. The airport is West of the city, across the Ohio from the North Side. I think his intentions refer to plans stated by Onorato last year:

    "Mr. Onorato said that, in the absence of maglev, a logical approach would be to extend the light-rail system from the North Shore down the Ohio River, across to McKees Rocks, down the south side of the river to Coraopolis, then inland to the airport, linking Downtown and the airport via the North Shore tunnel."

    I guess that route would pass much more neighborhoods not served by rapid transit than just converting the West Busway to light rail. Hopefully it could cross the river using a bridge though.

  4. I'm throwing my vote towards weasel, that would be the funniest. In my humbly awesome opinion, anyway.

    The primary problem I see with the connector being a viable means for bar / casino transportation would be the 2am limit that most buses see, and that's the really late running ones.

    If you're coming to a bar from what would seem to be logical areas to me, such as Oakland or the South Hills, then while you would be able to get to the bar, you'll find yourself hard up at the end of the night to make it home...

  5. Yes, for the love of god, extend the T into the south side and the east end!

  6. It appears it may be a badger. (A male badger is called a boar... it all makes sense now.) You can even now friend him on MySpace. Yes, that's right. It doesn't say it's officially from the Port Authority, but it does have a copy of the logo that I haven't seen elsewhere as its profile picture. Could be the beginning of a very strange publicity campaign.

  7. I had assumed that the "thinking bigger" reason for the north shore T was to make Manchester more appealing for speculation and development.