February 29: Public Hearing and Rally for Transit in Pittsburgh

28 Feb

Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 29 there will be a public hearing from 8:00am – 8:00pm at the Convention Center on the future of public transportation in Pittsburgh. Please attend and voice your support for sound public transportation in our region.

We need state funding to maintain a system that works for every single person — including those that don’t ride transit but benefit from those that do. 

As readers of this blog know…

A city is only as good as its transit system. Ad campaign on the Subway in NYC.

Pittsburgh will no longer be considered a “Most Livable City” once our transportation system collapses without funding.

If you have something to say about this, you can speak for 3 minutes at the hearing tomorrow. Register by calling 412.566.5437 (TTY 412.231.7007) from 9 am to 3:30 pm. If you can’t make it to the public hearing, you can also submit your comments through the public comment form or mail them to:

Port Authority Fare & Service Proposals
Heinz 57 Center
345 Sixth Avenue, Floor 3
Pittsburgh PA, 15222-2527

Send in your comments by Friday, March 9, 2012 at 4 p.m.

Maybe during your lunch break you could make your support for transit visible by going to the …

RALLY TO SAVE TRANSIT

WEDNESDAY FEB 29 12 PM

Our public transit system is facing the most drastic cuts in service to date!POTENTIAL LOSS OF 35% OF SERVICE, 50% OF ROUTES AND 500 JOBS

Take action to fight for public investment in transportation and demand that corporations pay their fare” share. Pittsburghers for Public Transit, ATU Local 85, and Occupy Pittsburgh will be rallying outside of the public comment hearings at the David Lawrence Convention Center on Wednesday February 29th at Noon to demand that the proposed cuts be rejected and that a permanent solution to the funding crisis facing public transit be found!

While you’re here, though, gentle reader, won’t you stroll over to last week’s poll and tell us how often you ride public transportation? You can leave any transit experiences or feedback in the comments. If you have a longer transit related story that you’d like to share, please contact me at moregardenslesscars [at] gmail.com.

Let’s Have Brunch On Our Bridges, Part II

26 Feb

Let’s Have Brunch On Our Bridges, Part I is from 2010, but it’s Sunday and I’m thinking about brunch again so I remembered this idea.

Say, Pittsburgh and other cities with (nice) bridges…

Wouldn’t it be great if we could have brunch on our bridges once in awhile? This time lapse video shows how they do it for the Portland Bridge Festival.


Brunch On the brige

Originally uploaded by Aaron I. Rogosin

Mmmm, Pittsburgh, you are delicious. There are so many great bridges to choose from here, so many beautiful things to see around the city which we just can’t appreciate when driving 25-75 mph over a bridge. You need to (be able to) stop and sit and eat brunch with your neighbors in order to be able to take it in.

I took these pictures last week while a friend was driving. They’re okay, but they leave me dying to stop and see more!

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Riding or walking makes it possible to take in the sumptuous view more thoroughly, but the opportunity to sit and relax and talk to people and eat and absorb the city over one of our three rivers isn’t a regular experience of people here.

I think it should be.

This fits in to what I was thinking at 2 o clock in the morning several years ago when I came up with the awkward name of this blog “Re-imagine an Urban Paradise.” After all, what is could be more of an urban paradise than a temporary retreat on one of the bridges, over the rivers? Feeling the gorgeous summer breeze while having the opportunity to have brunch in a magical space?

What Else is Possible?

  • Repurposing a bridge permanently!
  • Let’s turn a bridge into a public park.
  • And extend the public market onto one of the bridges, with outdoor cafes (without door cafes?).
  • Let’s have all age dance parties every night during warm weather on one side of the bridge.
  • And show movies over the river!
  • Let’s have music and art performances.
  • Let’s have some grass and trees and flowers!
I think at least half of the space should always always comfortable public gathering space that is free and has clean and attractive drinking and bathroom facilities.

What Would You Like to See?

If you could have it your way, what would you do with the space? Imagine any bridge in any city. Then re-imagine it. Suddenly it’s not just for transportation anymore. What else could it be?

Poll: How Often Do You Use Public Transportation?

23 Feb

I don’t know about you — hence, the flashy poll– but I use public transportation all the time. How often do you ride the bus, the streetcar, the metro, subway, train, incline, ferry, people mover? I’ve always tried to live in cities that have excellent public transit so that I don’t have to spend money on a car, and I can use my money instead for adventures.

I ride a bike and I walk a lot. But sometimes it’s nice to have someone else paying attention so I can pay my fare, relax, read my book, and get there on time and in style.

Reading on the bus

Like every service in this country that is for the public good, it is facing funding shortages. In cities around the country there are service cuts, layoffs, and an increased reliance on automotive transportation to get around.

Last year Pittsburgh had a 15% service and route cuts on an already shaky and skeletal system. Though often called the “Most Livable City,” Pittsburgh’s meager public transportation system is facing another 35% in cuts! Even in dense neighborhoods with the most bus routes and riders, buses are often 30 minutes apart now, and there will be even fewer if funding does not come through from Governor Tom Corbett. If a bus route even still exists after this systemic demolition, it’s likely that it will stop at 10pm. This truly is a travesty which will leave many Pennsylvanians stranded.

Public transportation is a resource for everyone. It makes the most sense for our money, our land use, for efficiency, for socializing, for socialization, for our time, our sanity, our quality of life, for our lungs, and for our future.

Pittsburgh bus in Lawrenceville

 

What are your thoughts?

Vacant Lot Transformation for Green Jobs and Neighbhoodhood Revitalization

21 Apr

I just found this little blue-print I drew up for a vacant lot by one of my houses in Pittsburgh. I never had the chance to put this into place, but it would be wonderful to have more non-consumerist places to spend time between home and work.

Break it Down!

There’s tons of space in Pittsburgh and tons of bricks from demolitions so it would be pretty great to build a rainy or very sunny day pavilion as you see in the top left corner.

The top right corner would hold the Constance Street community bread / pizza oven and would also benefit from spare bricks.

Going down the top center are several long picnic tables.

Trees are much needed on this highway-side of Pittsburgh’s Northside so some nice fruit and shade trees in the middle of a block will sooth the residents and be beautiful and delicious. Sporadic dots both labeled and unlabeled represent trees.

The bottom center of the lot includes plans for some weird seating to be designed by one or several of Pittsburgh’s many amazing artists.

And at the very bottom, a lovely long row of soil-cleansing, sun-worshiping, smile-making sunflowers!

Let’s Make Green Jobs Fixing Our Communities

We have so much public land that’s being wasted as over-grown and trash-filled lots. At the same time, we have so many under and unemployed people. Let’s find a way to create and fund jobs that would enhance our communities, like rehabilitating abandoned lots, while putting under-worked Americans back in the workforce.

I’m underemployed myself and I’d jump at the chance to have a part-time job cleaning up and beautifying my neighborhood.

Give Me Work and Give Me Beauty

We want bread but we want roses too!

Seven Things You Can Do to Protect Air, Water, and Soil Quality

19 Apr

These tips are taken from the posts “Thank You Pittsburgh For Banning Marcellus Shale Drilling” and “Drilling for Natural Gas in the Marcellus Shale: What’s It All About and What Can We Do.”  They are specifically about working to protect air, water, and soil quality from the dangers of natural gas fracking. Of course, the last three can apply to anything.

  1. Check out Marcellus Protest
  2. Here are some tips from Pittsburgh organizer Gloria Forouzan
  3. Watch background and analysis of Marcellus Shale industry by the Real News Network
  4. Watch Gasland and share your story
  5. Write letters to the editor
  6. Talk to your neighbors
  7. Educate yourself

The Private and Public Horror of Cut Trees

19 Apr

There are few things more depressing to me than walking by trees that are being butchered or cut.

I just can’t take it when I walk by a scene like this:

20 Dead Trees Under BART Tracks

Tree Amputation at its Finest

I dont really like the 30mph either...

How could 20 dead trees benefit anyone?

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Love to and From San Francisco

19 Apr

105 years after the legendary earthquake that shook San Francisco to the ground, I lived through my first San Francisco earthquake. I didn’t even feel it, but I was there when it happened.

You probably don’t know, but I skipped out of Pittsburgh last month and now I’m living and working in the Bay Area. To celebrate San Francisco, I will share some of my favorite scenes so far:

My first sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge:

My bicycle on a greenway:

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