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Phase 1 of Transit Center Makeover Complete; Agency Looks Ahead

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
December 04, 2017
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

With Phase 1 of a makeover of the McKeesport Transportation Center complete, officials at Port Authority of Allegheny County are making plans and raising money to begin Phase 2.

The first phase included demolition of the dilapidated and mostly unused combination bus and train station, addition of 36 new park-and-ride spaces, and new sidewalks, curbs and bus lanes, says Adam Brandolph, spokesman for the agency. It also included new comfort stations --- restrooms --- for transit operators, he says.

"Phase 2 is going to focus on site improvements and is supposed to be much more expansive than the first phase, but we just don't right now have specific details, or a cost estimate," Brandolph says.

However, the proposed Phase 2 would include a new enclosed waiting area for bus passengers, better landscaping and other improvements to the Lysle Boulevard facility, which serves riders of the 55, 56, 59, 60, 61 and P7 buses, as well as the Heritage Community Initiatives' shuttle buses to Port Vue, White Oak, East McKeesport and North Versailles Twp.

Phase 2 also would include new paving in parking areas, Brandolph says.

The proposed Phase 2 could cost about $4 million, says state Sen. Jim Brewster, a member of the Port Authority board.

During Phase 1, besides improving the appearance of the facility on Lysle Boulevard between Huey and Sinclair streets, Port Authority wanted to make sure the park-and-ride facilities were expanded. The lot, which was generally filled on weekday mornings by 10 a.m., has more than doubled its capacity, to 68 vehicles.

"If there's demand to expand the park-and-ride area (again), that is definitely something we would look into," Brandolph says.

General contractor for Phase 1 was Terra Works of Clarion, Clarion County, with a cost not to exceed $900,000.

Brewster says improving the appearance and the functionality of the transportation center is important for attracting business to the RIDC Industrial Center of McKeesport --- the industrial park on the National Works site --- as well as to the Daily News Building.

City officials last week accepted ownership of the Daily News Building and are hoping to market it as a digital media and technology incubator. Having convenient access to Pittsburgh is important to that mission, Brewster says.

The proposed upgrades to the transit center also come at the same time that Dura-Bond is preparing to re-open the former U.S. Steel electric-resistance weld pipe mill, he says, and while city and state officials are looking for funding to improve and re-open the Lysle Boulevard parking garage.

In November, the state's Commonwealth Financing Authority committed $600,000 toward improvements at the transportation center.

"It's taken a long time, but with Dura-Bond opening, the Daily News, a $4 million investment in the transportation center, and the medical marijuana facility, I think people are going to finally see things happening, things coming together down there," Brewster says of the Lysle Boulevard area.

"We have a lot going on down there that I think will help the neighboring communities as well," he says. "We are working together to fix up that corridor. Infrastructure is important, mass transit is important ... (but) that all takes money."

Port Authority's Brandolph echoes Brewster's optimism. "We are very excited about the transportation center and looking forward to Phase 2 in the near future," he says.

(Photos of McKeesport Transportation Center special to Tube City Almanac.)

Originally published December 04, 2017.

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