Relocation of bus stops at malls urged

By Matthew Santoni, TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Allegheny County officials are urging the owner of three shopping malls to work with Port Authority and rider advocates to relocate or improve bus stops that the rider groups say have been moved too far away from the entrances.

After Indianapolis-based Simon Properties moved Port Authority bus stops at Ross Park, Century III and South Hills Village malls, members of the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network complained that transit riders had to cross access roads and parking lots in all kinds of weather to reach mall entrances.

"I am concerned that one day, someone is going to be seriously hurt or even killed in that crossing" from the bus stop at South Hills Village Mall to the mall entrance, said Shirley Atkins, a member of PIIN.

"There's a trade-off here. We want people to come to our malls, and we want transit access," said Les Morris, director of public relations for Simon Properties, at a meeting of County Council's committee on government reform Wednesday. "But we don't want traffic, we don't want exhaust fumes right near our entrances, and we don't want pedestrians dodging buses as they enter and exit."

Committee chair Rich Fitzgerald, the council president, said local representatives from Simon should work together with Port Authority, PIIN and the Allegheny County Transit Council to find compromises, such as bus stops located along the sidewalks surrounding the mall but not directly outside the busy entrances, or improved walkways across the parking lots from the bus stops to the entrance. A resolution supporting cooperation will come before the County Council soon, he said.

This story originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on December 3, 2009 and is available here: