PITTSBURGH — A petition is circulating on social media, demanding pedestrian access to the East Busway’s Roslyn station.
The station sits on the other side of the Washington Avenue Bridge, which the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation closed for emergency repairs. People who live in the area said due to that closure, there is no safe way for them to walk to that bus stop.
“If you have any kind of mobility issues or more than one job, it could essentially ruin your life,” said Hannah Bailey of Swissvale.
Bailey lives a few blocks away from the bridge. Last week, her daily commute grew exponentially after PennDOT announced the closure.
“Before, it took me about 45 minutes to get to work. Last night, it took me an hour and a half to get home,” Bailey said.
“I know that our borough council has tried to work with Norfolk Southern to try to get this taken care of for some time because the borough is responsible for the surface, and we weren’t able to repair the surface because the sub-structure was so terrible,” said Miranda Crotsley of the Swissvale Community Action Organization.
Channel 11 spoke with Norfolk Southern and Swissvale officials, who confirmed repairs have been in the works for some time, but that PennDOT recommended the bridge be closed before those repairs came to fruition. In the meantime, the Swissvale Community Action Organization and Pittsburghers for Public Transit started a petition, asking for a collaborative effort between all parties involved to find a way to get pedestrians across safely and efficiently, whether it’s by shuttle, a temporary walkway or keeping the sidewalk to the bridge open.
“To shut it down, everything right away, it makes sense, but they need to quickly figure out if that’s possible,” Crotsley said.
Swissvale’s borough manager is asking for the community’s patience in allowing engineers to do their due diligence. He said a meeting is in the works with all parties involved but could not disclose any additional information.
A representative with Norfolk Southern released the following statement:
“First and foremost – I want to say that Norfolk Southern is in lock-step with Swissvale and PennDOT on safety coming first. The Borough and PennDOT are collaborating to have a load analysis performed to confirm the bridge is safe for travel. The bridge is closed out of an abundance of caution until that can happen. We are not directly involved in that process.
Prior to this closure, we had been coordinating with the Borough, the Port Authority, the Public Utility Commission, and PennDOT to make repairs to the bridge since early this year. The repair plan was approved last week by those authorities, and we will now be able to move forward. Our repairs wouldn’t have required the bridge to be closed except for occasional temporary closures for necessary work. We can appreciate that the public may not have visibility into those processes which is why it may seem that nothing was happening, but that is not the case. The relationships we have with local leaders are important to us, and we will continue to work closely with Swissvale on the Washington Ave Bridge.”
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