After more than two years of planning, Pittsburgh Regional Transit has settled on the types of improvements it needs to provide more reliable service along Route 837 between Homestead and McKeesport.

But it only has money for a small portion of the work and will have to work with other agencies and municipalities for the rest.

The overall plan calls for the consolidation of several bus stops in Homestead, West Mifflin and Duquesne and safety improvements at numerous intersections along the corridor. The agency has two grants that total $1.38 million for what Director of Corridor Planning Seth Davis called “low-hanging fruit” but additional funding will be needed to complete all the recommendations, which could cost as much as $13 million.

Davis presented the final plans to the board’s Planning & Stakeholder Relations Committee last week.

Davis said one grant for $420,000 from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission is earmarked for improvements in Homestead and Munhall. Those improvements could include a new traffic signal where the Homestead Grays Bridge meets East Eighth Avenue (Route 837) in Homestead, complete with improved crosswalks, turning lanes with pedestrian islands to reduce the distance crossing the intersection, and the elimination of inbound and outbound bus stops.

The other grant of $960,000 from the federal Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside program will be used for bus stop consolidation throughout the corridor. The plan will eliminate 10 stops to improve the flow of bus traffic in the corridor, five in Homestead and Munhall, two in West Mifflin and three in Duquesne.

Nearby stops will be enlarged and improved to provide safer areas for transit riders.

The corridor primarily carries five bus routes: P7, 53, 53L, 59 and 61C.

The plan also includes establishing a series of queuing lanes for buses to have priorities at traffic lights and other intersection improvements, including Fifth Avenue at the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge in McKeesport. Fifth Avenue also could have a “road diet,” where reduced traffic leads to reducing the roadway from four lanes to two lanes with left-turning lanes to make the area safer for pedestrians.

Although all the concepts are in place, Chief Development Officer Amy Silbermann noted that plans are only at the 10% design stage now so that even changes that have funding still are “several years away” from construction. She noted the corridor naturally flows into the University Line that is under construction to set up exclusive lanes between Oakland and Downtown Pittsburgh and those amenities eventually will extend through Squirrel Hill and Greenfield to the Homestead area to meet that corridor.

The entire plan is available here.

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