PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Finishing touches are underway at the North Side T-stop, an underground cavern that is remarkable for its size and openness.

The first stop on the North Shore is just west of PNC Park and requires patrons to descend deep below the earth, first down escalators and then another set of escalators to the T platform.

“It’s absolutely beautiful,” says Jeremy Waldrup of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. “Traffic continues to increase. People need alternative modes to get downtown.”

Parking on the North Shore and hopping the T to downtown will be facilitated by the cost of using the service — free.

“This is an agreement between the Stadium Authority, the Port Authority, and the parking operation system to provide free service here in the North Side station,” Waldrup told KDKA Money Editor Jon Delano.

Under the proposed agreement, riders will be able to take the T to and from this North Side station to anywhere downtown without charge.

“Congestion is always an issue, so allowing folks to park on the North Shore, jump on the T — it will now be free here at the North Side station — will allow them easier access in and out of the downtown corridor.”

While the last stop at Allegheny station, west of Heinz Field, is not yet free, Waldrup hopes it will be when the T opens on March 25.

“This free service will allow more economic development, more office development, more retail development where there is quite a bit of capacity to do so.”

The plan to provide free T service in downtown Pittsburgh to the North Side station needs to be approved by the Stadium Authority on Wednesday and then ratified by the Port Authority board next month.

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