Monday, July 21, 2008

Part I: The Early Years

I figured this would be a two to three part post when I got started. What I actually found is that Pittsburgh has been transit study crazy for the last 100 or so years. If ever there was a city that did not learn from its mistakes and continues to repeat them, it is the city of Pittsburgh. Here is a brief list of some early transportation studies that advocated advancements in Pittsburgh's transportation system (mainly construction of a subway system).

1906-1929: The first studies to mention construction of a subway underneath the city. The initial study in 1906 recommendations included a downtown loop with several lines radiating out from it. I wasn't able to dig up exactly why these first few attempts failed ( OK, I didn't dig all that hard). More importantly, these early studies began to establish a long standing tradition within Pittsburgh of studying mass transit options to death, but doing nothing further about it.

In 1919 the first mass transit proposal that really seemed to carry promise occurred. Bond was even issued in hopes of beginning construction, but nothing came of this. It seems that Political wrangling helped do this proposal in. The construction was to be limited to the "1st and 2nd Wards" (Basically daaahntaahn, and the Strip). Does this sound familiar to anyone???? Political in-fighting that stifles the local government until....absolutely nothing gets done, and alot of money is wasted.

The bottom line; between 1906 and 1929 no less than 7 studies/proposals came to light. In the end, what did the city have to show for it? $ 20 million in bond issued, another $30 million in bond recommended for issue for transit improvement, and absolutely nothing to show for it.

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