Mon-Fayette Expressway might never run to Pittsburgh

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Andrew
Participant
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Well, it looks like 4.5 billion for the mon-fayette might be too much money. woohoo (but they never should have built the mon-fay at all).

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_677757.html


Chris Mayhew
Participant
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I’m gonna remember that price tag every time someone tells me to get off Piney Fork Rd and get on the Montour trail.


joeframbach
Participant
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Well, we do enjoy some of the lowest tax rates in the world. And here’s what that affords us.


steevo
Participant
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This was an awful plan. They were going to run it along the river through Hazelwood, and tear down duck hollow.

The city is not “progressive” however the fact that they have designated riverfront property as parks, and this is not happening, is a really good thing.


Impala26
Participant
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Steevo, I’m not a proponent of more highways in general, but in this case it may have been worked out more or less the way the stretch of route 28 between the North Side and Millvale is being done. That is to say they would have likely constructed a trail along with the highway. And some of the plans call for literally elevating the highway around the bend in the Mon over the railroad tracks and under the Homestead High-Level.

Regardless, this plan is a loser for the Hazelwood area, and I think accommodating it through improving the 2nd Ave/Irvine St. corridor through the town would be the best alternative.


edmonds59
Participant
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It was also slated to run through Braddock, and basically destroy what is left, so this is good news.

Incidentally, if anyone has any opportunity to support what is being done by Mayor John Fetterman in Braddock, by all means, DO IT! He’s really something, and he’s trying some great things.

http://www.15104.cc/


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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The road is a zombie, and cannot be killed, no matter how many times you kill it and pronounce it dead. The biggie here is that it HAS passed all the environmental clearances. All they need is the money. And don’t be too surprised if, in all this Act 44 post-mortem, that they find it.

(You think $300M for a river tunnel is a lot? This is $6,000M!)

Minds have not been changed. The people in the Mon Valley still want this thing. Until and unless you change those minds, we’ll still be looking at this zombie.

Remember the initials: MF-SOB. Mon-Fayette/SOuthern Beltway. That’s the damn thing’s NAME. Really.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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By comparison, when I last looked at the TIP, fully funding every single bike and pedestrian project in SWPA was something like $50M. By further comparison, that’s maybe one interchange on a big road.


rsprake
Participant
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$4.5 billion for a stupid road! Holy crap that’s nuts.


Mick
Participant
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More to the point: $4,500,000,000 for a road without an associated bike path?

I don’t care if it goes through or not – Pittburgh has a need for freeway out south, after all. But it shouldn’t go without a bike path.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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No, I’ll take the hard line and say we just don’t need the road. In 1985, before they started work on I-279, Cranberry Twp was farmland and the North Side was still in pretty good shape. Also note the 3,200 homes and businesses in the East St Valley that got decimated to build it.

They build that thing, we lose Junction Hollow, we lose Duck Hollow, we lose Braddock, and any trail we have, we either lose or are shoved up cheek-and-jowl with an interstate highway.

Not only no, hell no. You want freight moved, we have rivers and railroads. You need better commuting, bring back the PATrain and make transit more workable. You need better roads, fix what we have already.

Lose any idea that any piece of this road is needed. Keep the zombie dead.


rsprake
Participant
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It’s so odd. We don’t have enough money to maintain what we have and we don’t have enough money to build something we can’t even maintain once it’s built.


reddan
Keymaster
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It’s so odd. We don’t have enough money to maintain what we have and we don’t have enough money to build something we can’t even maintain once it’s built.

Agreed. Nothing like throwing good money after bad, AKA the sunk cost fallacy.


erok
Keymaster
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i always liked this picture


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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In a previous life I worked for a PR firm that had a contract to promote the public meetings, etc. surrounding the Mon/Fay and Southern Beltway. I was just a pee-on, but I was around the inside long enough to notice the whole thing was a big trough of cash for consultants, as well as an opportunity for politicians to make promises and pronouncements about with impunity – not to mention dole out cash within their districts on the many little contracts that make up such an enormous job.

It was never going to get built, won’t ever be built – especially now the Turnpike is under such scrutiny, Barry Stout is out of the picture and individuals driving to work in cars is slipping out of vogue.

Guys like Dave Tessitor pushed back against Mon/Fay 15 years ago when “urban sprawl” was not fully understood.

The shame isn’t the $4.5 billion that would have been spent, but the countless millions that HAS been spent.


asobi
Participant
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andreaboykowycz
Participant
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The road is dead and will never be resuscitated; the only nail missing from the coffin is its de-authorization by the legislature… but that will never happen, regardless of how unrealistic the project is, was, and always will be. The only way to really get the project off the books is to kill the Turnpike Commission. Ah well. It’s still good news!

But I agree with AtLeastMyKids – the real tragedy is all the time and money wasted. Check out some of Jason Togyer’s vitriol on the subject at http://www.tubecityonline.com/almanac/entry_1476.php.

And check out PennFuture’s project to support community-driven transportation planning in the Mon Valley here: http://www.monvalleyhelp.com/.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Lyle
Participant
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@AtLeastMyKids:

I was opposed to the mofosob when Tom Murphy was first running for Mayor – in fact, my colleagues and I challenged him on it when he was campaigning at my office. There is no question that we all fully understood urban sprawl 20 years ago, and I am pretty sure that urban sprawl was understood in the 60s. It was just people who’d never been to New Jersey that didn’t understand it.


rsprake
Participant
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but I was around the inside long enough to notice the whole thing was a big trough of cash for consultants, as well as an opportunity for politicians to make promises and pronouncements about with impunity – not to mention dole out cash within their districts on the many little contracts that make up such an enormous job.

This is everything that is wrong with our country, You see it with mall and plaza development all the time. New plaza means new money for consultants and builders. What they leave behind is an ugly parking lot with a few chain businesses that moved from somewhere else that doesn’t serve the community.


Lyle
Participant
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And then they go bankrupt and leave an eyesore, in what used to at least be a field or a farm or something. Oh, and that “new money?” taxes, TIFs, taxpayer subsidized bonds…

There NEVER used to be empty storefronts in Squirrel Hill. Now there are several. But there’s lots of parking at the Waterfront, and there will be lots of parking at BkSq (and I’m guessing that it will be cheap/free)


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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One other really important piece missing from my “hard line” rant above:

You want livable communities in the Mon Valley, like Glassport and Monessen, with burgeoning development, make it possible to get around those communities with a bicycle and your own two feet!

At their base, those are tiny, workable, walkable, reasonably level communities, but pasted to the edge of a huge hill. They were developed when people walked to the factories. They would be IDEAL for ped/bike-oriented development. The 21st century will be fueled by people with an Internet connection and/or a satellite dish, and places with a low overhead (read: non-dependence on cars) will do just fine.

Build up the ped/bike infrastructure in all the little towns along the Mon Valley, and nobody is going to want the damn road. Bikes seem to work just fine among you South Side Slopes dwellers; no reason they can’t work in Port Vue, too.


edmonds59
Participant
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Stu, to add; build the road, and Charleroi becomes “Cranberry South”, no agriculture, and what’s left of the river towns becomes crumbling ghettos for those unfortunates who can’t afford to move out.


rsprake
Participant
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But there’s lots of parking at the Waterfront, and there will be lots of parking at BkSq (and I’m guessing that it will be cheap/free)

Big surprise that the two large store fronts that just closed on Murray have locations at The Waterfront?

Interestingly enough the exact opposite is happening with Target!


Impala26
Participant
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@rsprake: Might I ask what (former) stores on Murray you’re referring to? I also find it sad because Charleroi used to be somewhat of a big ticket trip because it was at the end of a major trolley line. I’m still convinced Pittsburgh could use a trolley “renaissance”. Not that one out to Charleroi is practical today, but could be practical within the city and possibly inner suburbs. They could’ve funded a T extension to Century III and made it a regional transit center with the MFE money with hundreds of millions left over to fix and upgrade the EXISTING roadways.


rsprake
Participant
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Barnes & Noble and Panera.


sloaps
Participant
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And the shoe store from Bloomfield, Gordon’s, moved to the waterfront too.

Can we count the Squirrel Hill theatre, too? granted it had been floundering for years, but Lowes put the baby in the bucket.


rsprake
Participant
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Sure you can. Forward theatre used to be my theatre of choice but they let it fall apart. They could have helped themselves possibly by running smaller movies that Lowes won’t play.


ieverhart
Participant
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That’s really depressing to think about the migration of businesses from Squirrel Hill to the Waterfront.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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Sure you can. Forward theatre used to be my theatre of choice but they let it fall apart. They could have helped themselves possibly by running smaller movies that Lowes won’t play.

Hence the fact that the Manor, owned by the same company as the Sq. Hill, is still making money.

@ieverhart I’m not sure what Panera’s problem was, they seemed to do a good business. Too many locations? I do think that was B&N’s problem, they are all over the place with huge stores. Coupled that with major weakness in the bookselling market. They tried to branch out into music right around the time the iPod killed CD sales and then DVD’s but live streaming comes along…

Adele’s–a fancy women’s clothing store–moved from Squirrel hill down there several years ago but Pro Bikes and Alladins moved into that space. Squirrel Hill ebbs and flows a bit. I think the B&N sapce is just so large no one quite knows what do do with it.


HoffmannJ
Participant
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@jeffinpgh Unfortunately, the Manor is starting to show more and more mainstream movies, which is a bit disappointing as someone who always enjoyed the more eclectic fare there.

On the whole , I’m not too worried about Squirrel Hill – it should bounce back. I’m just glad on the whole that the MFSOB is (mostly) dead.


Impala26
Participant
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I still the biggest flaw in the project is that there are no contingencies. The Turnpike Commission basically made this highway with the argument that, in order to be the most effective it has to link up with the Parkway East. No one at the commission ever had the brain think, “hmm, maybe we can’t fund this whole thing and maybe the community opposition will be too great as well?” How come there is no “plan B” or concessions with the affected municipalities? Ok, so the highway basically won’t go any further than it does now, is there anyway we can improve the existing infrastructure (Route 51, Route 885, Route 837, etc.) to maximize the highway as has been built to this point?

It slays me that this dinosaur of a project is still billed as the “golden honey” that will soothe all the Mon Valley’s woes.

Stu is right, the Mon Valley is ripe for some fresh 21st century thinking.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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Unfortunately, the Manor is starting to show more and more mainstream movies Wondered if that would happen when they closed the other. You can tell how often I go to movies (pretty much never). Netflix just sent me a disc for the Wii that allows me to watch movies on demand on my TV.


alankhg
Participant
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I’ve heard that the Panera (and maybe B&N) closed because of landlord/building maintenance/rent-type issues and not just because it wasn’t doing enough business.


dwillen
Participant
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It would be nice to have something else go in those spaces.

I am surprised by the number of vacant storefronts in Oakland too. Someone should open up a [non-dunkin] donut shop, please.

I also just read they are looking to build an Eat’n Park in Schenley plaza. (see: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10118/1054028-100.stm ). Personal dislike aside, am I the only one who finds it ironic they are going to build a historically drive-in restaurant in a park (noun, not verb). Why are we going to pave over public green space (that we just reclaimed from the pavement!) to build a corporate chain restaurant when there are huge empty buildings not even a block away. There must be something I’m missing.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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I also just read they are looking to build an Eat’n Park in Schenley

This was going to be more like Six Penn Kitchen (which Eat ‘n Park also owns) and have a different name like Current, or Willow or something. But I guess the design was still Eat’n Parky from the article you linked. Also Eat’n Park is a locally based chain which matters to the folks that make these decisions. Orginally another “local chain” Atria was going to be in that park but I guess the economy took that plan out.


dwillen
Participant
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Ahh, that makes more sense. Thanks.

Also, one of the little food vendor stalls in the plaza (the one nearest the tent) has been vacant for well over a year now, though it looks like someone was putting something in it last time I walked by.


rsprake
Participant
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Something like that could be really great there so long as they do in fact integrate it with the park more. I am thinking something Mad Mex or micro brewery inspired with loads of outside seating.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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@Impala – Turnpike intended a “loaded gun” strategy: build the easier sections as they could and walk the project right up to the city, when they could play the “we’ve spent all of this money, and here we are” card.

Mon/Fay: RIP.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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Eat n Park – local company, buys local produce, etc., support tons of charitable events, relatively healthy menu (seriously!), and way kid-friendly.

Plus, it’s not Kings. Kings sucks.

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