North Shore Connector Makes Debut

Mon, Mar 26, 2012

Daily Pittsburgh News

North Shore Connector Makes Debut

In what was a hot topic for the past few years in Pittsburgh.  The North Shore Connector has finally opened up and taken its first rush hour ride in the morning.  While the rush hour “wait” for the connected was supposed to be anywhere from 4-5 minutes.  The intended grand opening wait was around 8 minutes due to a mechanical bug that was quickly iron out.

That’s still great and I hope it’s a service they expand to Monroeville and hopefully all around the area.  With the lack of bus service and the impending route cuts in September, Lord knows that Pittsburgh could use this rail service and put it to good use.

“I plan to use it every day,” said Chuck Waite of Richland, who regularly parks on the North Shore. He said he formerly took a shuttle bus that added 15 minutes to his trip to work at Highmark, or walked to town when the weather was warm.

“I still may walk in the summer, depending on how long this takes,” he said as he waited for a train at the North Side Station.

His wait was eight minutes. Rush-hour service is supposed to operate every four minutes, but there were some delays related to a signal problem at Washington Junction in Bethel Park. The trip from North Side to Gateway Center took another three minutes.

I can only imagine what it’s like to have to wait for something, but I can’t imagine barring any kind of mechanical issue that this route it is going to be unreliable.

Parking in North Shore surface lots and the West General Robinson Street garage is $6.

Merrill Stabile, president of Alco Parking, said the garage added 60 new monthly leases and had 200 more cars than normal by the conclusion of the morning rush. Business also picked up at surface lots. “I’m pleasantly surprised,” he said.

“I don’t expect people to change their habits overnight,” he said. “It’s going to start as a trickle and grow from there.”

Mr. Stabile’s company, along with the Steelers, Pittsburgh Stadium Authority and Rivers Casino, are underwriting free rides on the connector for the next three years.

The connector is a 1.2-mile extension of the Port Authority’s Light Rail Transit system that serves a new Gateway Center Station, Downtown, and stations near PNC Park and Heinz Field. All Red and Blue line service to Downtown will continue to the North Shore, reversing direction at the elevated station near the football stadium.

Now that it’s online and working.  For the people who ride it, or are going to ride it in the future?  Are you actually excited for this to finally be opened and running?  Is it going to make your life easier or harder in any way?

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