The planned extension of the Panhandle Trail into Carnegie. (

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission announced $21.3 million in discretionary grants Wednesday that will help fund Pittsburgh Regional Transit’s first micro transit project, improve road safety along three Pittsburgh roadways, nearly double the size of Bike Share Pittsburgh’s rental program and expand the trail network in southwestern suburbs in Allegheny County.

The commission, which sets priorities for federal transportation projects in a 10-county region, gets money from the federal Department of Transportation every year to fund projects in three categories. This year, the agency awarded funds to seven projects in two categories: two trail projects under the Transportation Alternatives Set Aside Program and the others under the Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Program.

All of the grants will be available beginning in 2025.

Here’s a breakdown of the projects that were funded:

Pittsburgh Regional Transit

The agency will receive two grants, $3.9 million to help start its first micro transit service and $7.4 million to help pay for stations between Squirrel Hill and Oakland that were left out of its Bus Rapid Transit project.

Spokesman Adam Brandolph said the agency is “super excited” to get funding for the micro transit project, which is designed to connect unserved local communities with each other and with PRT’s main service corridors. That type of service was one of the key recommendations in the agency’s NEXTransit long-range plan adopted in 2021.

The grant will help to pay for the first step of the project, determining where to try micro transit and how to deliver it. The agency will consider two locations recommended in the long-range plan, the Tarentum-Brackenridge-Harrison area in the Allegheny Valley and the McKeesport-Versailles area in the Monongahela Valley.

During the planning stage, the agency will hold public meetings in both areas to determine the need and types of service residents want. There could be several options, including on-demand service or regular routes using full-size buses or smaller vehicles, possibly zero-emission vehicles.

“The $3.9 million is going to help us go to the communities and help us determine what those plans might look like,” Brandolph said. “There’s still a lot we have to figure out about how it will work.

“One thing is it will certainly connect to existing routes.”

Brandolph stressed that the first program will be a pilot project, but if it is successful the agency plans to try it elsewhere. The overall project is expected to cost $11.5 million.

The grant for BRT will allow the agency to restore the Squirrel Hill wing to its University Line that will connect Downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland with exclusive bus lanes to improve reliability. Construction began on the $291 million project in September, but PRT eliminated extensions to Squirrel Hill and Highland Park when federal officials questioned whether it had included enough money to cover unexpected costs during construction.

The grant will allow the agency to build six stations in the 1.6-mile stretch between Bellefield Avenue in Oakland and Forbes and Murray avenues in Squirrel Hill, Brandolph said. The total cost of the project, which won’t begin until the main University Line is finished in 2026, is expected to be about $15 million.

The agency continues to look for funding for the Highland Park branch, Brandolph said.

Pittsburgh road projects

These are the road projects funded in Pittsburgh:

  • $3.6 million for improvements to Brownsville Road in the South Hills, including four signalized intersections including Maytide  Street, Biscayne Drive-Becks Run Road and Nobles Lane. The signals will include audible crossing instructions, better nighttime lighting, and highly visible crosswalks, some of which will be raised.
  • $1.5 million to improve signal timing on East Ohio Street on the North Side to reduce congestion and improve air quality from Cedar Avenue to Chestnut Street. Other improvements will include raised crosswalks and signals that detect pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • $1.5 million to add bicycle and pedestrian improvements on Negley Avenue in East Liberty between Friendship Avenue and Broad Street. The work will include adding a speed table between Friendship and Coral Street to curb speeding near the bike lane crossing, highly visual crosswalks, new traffic signals and a bumpout at Penn Avenue and Negley so pedestrians have a shorter distance to cross the street.

Bike Share Pittsburgh

Bike Share Pittsburgh’s $2.1 million grant is part of a larger capital project that will allow the agency to nearly double its network of regular and electric-assist rental bikes and stations and extend the service to new areas, said Executive Director David White.

The agency plans to establish 50 new rental stations and buy another 500 bikes, two-thirds of them electric-assist and the rest pedal bikes. In addition to adding more stations in Larimer, Homewood and Oakland, Bike Share Pittsburgh will move into new neighborhoods such as Lincoln-Lemington, Belmar, Squirrel Hill, Point Breeze, Manchester, California Kirkbride, and Highland Park.

White said the agency will conduct community outreach in the neighborhoods to finalize the exact locations of the new stations, some of which could be installed beginning next year.


A $1 million grant will help Allegheny County Redevelopment Authority extend the Panhandle Trail by 3 miles from Collier to the park-and-ride lot in Carnegie. That is a portion of the inactive Pittsburgh & Ohio Central rail line.

The county completed a feasibility study for the extension in 2022.

The trail currently runs from Walkers Mill Station in Collier through Washington County to the Harmony Creek parking area in West Virginia.

In South Fayette, the township will use its $800,000 grant to help pay for a new trail system through the 190-acre Fairview Park, said Paula Willis, township parks and recreation director.

The trail system in the park will connect with nature trails and other trails outside the park, Willis said. The township now has about 90% of the funding for the project and has started design of the 10-foot-wide multi-modal park trails.

The park was established at the former site of Mayview State Hospital more than 30 years ago.

Ed covers transportation at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Ed Blazina

Ed covers transportation at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at