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* CORRECTION: This story was corrected after publication.
An architect’s rendering of a typical GetGo store, from the Giant Eagle website. City officials said they could not confirm any details of the proposed facility. (Giant Eagle website)
McKeesport city council has endorsed a traffic study from Giant Eagle, which plans to build a new GetGo convenience store and gas station at the foot of Hartman Street in the East End.
At Wednesday’s meeting, council agreed by 7-0 vote to adopt and endorse the transportation impact study for the store, which would be built on the current site of a car wash and several other properties along East Fifth Avenue.
In light of social distancing guidelines from county, state and federal authorities, three councilors — Jamie Brewster-Filotei, Lu Ethel Nesbit and Keith Soles — participated in the meeting via conference phone. Other council members sat six feet apart in city council chambers at the Public Safety Building.
The only spectators were reporters from the Mon Valley Independent and Tube City Almanac.
* Several parcels along East Fifth Avenue, including the car wash, have been targeted for development. A site plan was approved in 2018 for a restaurant on a neighboring parcel, but the operator of the restaurant has not been named publicly.
* Wednesday’s meeting was the first time that city officials announced publicly that GetGo will be a tenant as well.
“We are definitely behind this project,” McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said, but said the city could release few other details under the terms of its agreement with Giant Eagle.
The transportation impact study is required because East Fifth Avenue is a state-maintained road, Route 148.
The proposed site for the GetGo is located where East Fifth Avenue temporarily narrows from four lanes to two, and the intersection often backs up, especially during evening rush hour.
According to PennDOT traffic volume maps, up to 18,000 vehicles a day use that stretch of East Fifth Avenue, and about 3,900 use Hartman Street.
Giant Eagle has proposed making several improvements to minimize the traffic impacts on the intersection, including widening East Fifth Avenue to add turning lanes both for eastbound and westbound motorists, re-aligning the westbound lanes and improving the traffic signal at the intersection.
The traffic engineer who completed the study, Joshua Haydo of Pittsburgh-based David E. Wooster & Associates, said in a letter to council that even with those changes, “it is not possible to fully mitigate the impacts associated with the proposed development,” but said that with the existing traffic and road alignments, “there are no improvements ... that would fully mitigate the reported impacts.”
Final details of the design will be worked out when the developers apply for highway occupancy permits, Haydo wrote to council.
Jason Togyer is editor of The Tube City Almanac and volunteer executive director of Tube City Community Media Inc. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published April 02, 2020.