There are currently two pedestrian bridges across the busway in East Liberty to give bus riders access to and from the busway and surrounding neighborhoods. I have used the larger of the two many times to get to and from the busway, but the smaller one (pictured above) always seemed out of the way, scary, and a bit useless. It ended up not be as scary as I imagined, but it is not a path I would choose to use after dark. It seemed useless, and out of the way, as it connects very low traffic areas to the busway and the Highland Ave Bridge (see July 26 post) or the other pedestrian bridge provide access between the busway and high traffic areas.
Both these bridges are scheduled to be demolished and replaced with one bridge. In June, there was an announcement that a TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Grant was awarded for a new transit center at this location (see June 20 and June 23 articles in the Post-Gazette). In this new transit center, the busway station will be shifted closer to Penn Avenue, making the smaller pedestrian bridge truly obsolete. The larger pedestrian bridge is planned to be rebuilt and the former bus ramp (see July 27 post) will be made into a pedestrian/bicycle connection to the busway (near the top of the ramp a bicycle garage is planned to be built). The articles say that the developer hopes to start construction in the spring. Perhaps in a year, or a little more, there will be a new bridge for me to walk.
Both the current pedestrian bridges take the caged feeling that several of the bridges I’ve crossed to a new level (see Highland Park Bridge, Taking the Long Way Round posts). I have heard that the new bridge planned for this area will be more open and thereby more pleasant. Whether this means it will be more open like the pedestrian bridge in Taking the Long Way Round or it will be truly open without any cage-like fencing, only time will tell.
When I first heard about the planned new transit center, I thought the whole idea was ridiculous–there already are bus stops on the busway and on Penn Avenue and there already are bridges connecting these areas, also public transit across the city has been in serious danger for the last couple years and there is no indication that its downward spiral with increasing route cuts and fare increases is going to stop anytime soon. However after learning more about the new transit center, it seems like it might actually be helpful/useful by making the busway easier to access and more attractive to access. Also after observing the behavior of a pedestrian in Taking the Long Way Round, I wonder if the new transit center might encourage more people to use alternative transit options.
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