Thursday, January 22, 2009

Port Authortiy.. please close.

Port Authority of Pittsburgh, I cant explain how much I dislike you. Wait, you are thinking... But you are a bike riding non car owning hippie that loves public transport and all that right? True, but I have taken 1 single PAT bus in 7 years.

Why? In the past 10 years PAT has tried killing me, literally attempted to take my life. I remember looking up at a bus driver as I was going straight, and he was turning left. I was a bikemessenger at the time, hardly a human being. Anyway, I was looking up at him, and he was looking down at me as he turned into me. He mouthed "Fu.. You" to me as he steadily turned into me. This wasnt a fast motion crazy happening. I was going maybe 11mph or so. I remember hearing a pedestrian scream as she watched it.
There are tons of stories like this. Weekly stories that have become so ordinary that I stopped paying attention. Remember the time I slipped on oil right after a bus dumped all of its oil in front of me and slid for 100 feet in my fancy spandex? I called them the next day to complain and they had no record of it. No record of a bus breaking down and needing a tow truck? Really?

Anyway. Few people care about people on bikes getting hurt or killed by big giant autos in order for them to save a minute. The Port Authority especially does not care. People do care about a hundred million dollars though.

See, the Port Authority started digging a tunnel under a river in Pittsburgh. They said that the money was granted to them ONLY if they were going to dig a big tunnel. If they wanted to use it for useful things, like driver training, or extending light rail to where people actually live, the money became unavailable. They had to build a tunnel to a non existent casino, which ended up being another debacle.

So they started digging. They were scheduled to have drilled through the thing by a certain time, but they were late. Of course they were late (have you ever waited for a bus so long that you werent sure if it was the one you were waiting for being late or the next one being early?), and the money went over. 130 million dollars over.

So now PAT is asking the federal government for money out of the soon to be federal stimulus. This is money that could be used to repair existing infrastructure. This money could insure people, or heat homes, or buy schoolbooks, or help small businesses. Infrastructure, think of all the pipes you hear about freezing in Pittsburgh all winter because they are so old. Think about the road conditions, the potholes.

Anyway, good job pat. You started a stupid project under the guise that it was free and you had to do it or you would lose the money. You messed it up. Now you are going to take money from things that are actually useful and spend it so people dont have to walk 1/2 of a mile. Literally.


Anonymous said...

2 words:

the 'BIG DIG'

Anonymous said...

that's three words

Karen said...

Amen brother. FUCK PAT. Add to the list of complaints:
- the buses are physically too big for many of Pgh's streets
- their recent route cuts left my grandmom with no way to get to the Symphony on Sundays, so she had to cut back her ticket purchases (to days when I could drive out to pick her up and go with her, not a bad deal for me, but she goes less often, the Symphony gets fewer sales... some of her elderly friends had to stop going altogether.)