Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Rapid Transit to Oakland: No Foolin'?

Hello again. Well, I have to report on the recent stories in the press reviving a Oakland-Downtown public transit link. The Tribune-Review has reported that the county has approved a contract with Lea+Elliott, a consulting firm that specializes in transit. Its projects have included the Las Vegas Monorail, Amtrak's Acela express trains, and Pittsburgh's own existing light rail system. They mention a specialization in automated transit systems. Which, as has been mentioned before in a Peak Direction review of Oakland rapid transit, seems to be the direction Dan Onorato wants to head in.

This seems to be driven by a recent report by the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group, which recently published a report on improving public transit. Sadly, it's a report that has been issued by other state PIRGs and has no specific solutions for Pittsburgh, though the PIRG has advocated light rail in Oakland. Joe Grata in the Post-Gazette covered the release of the report.

The real question is why does Onorato want a futuristic automated system? What's wrong with having people operate it? Oh, right:
The transit contingency planning session will brief attendees on the Port Authority of Allegheny County's labor negotiation process and route restructuring plans to help companies prepare for service disruptions that could create problems for commuting employees.

That's right, more planning for a transit strike from the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. No foolin'.