ALLENTOWN (KDKA) — Allentown residents gathered together Friday to call for the Port Authority of Allegheny County to bring T service back to the neighborhood.
The Port Authority’s Arlington line took light rail vehicles through Allentown until 2011 when it was shut down for financial reasons. Since then, the Arlington line has been used to detour the T when work is being done or repairs are being made between the South Hills Junction stop and the Station Square stop.
Most recently, the T traveled through Allentown for almost 20 days after several freight train cars derailed and crashed onto the T tracks near the Station Square stop.
The Station Square stop reopened for outbound service Thursday and will reopen for inbound service Saturday. Most commuters view the restored service as good news, but some Allentown residents want the T in their neighborhood.
Residents organized a “Bring Back The T” rally Friday, calling for the Port Authority to permanently restore service on the Arlington line.
“We have attracted as many people as we can. We have done everything the city has told us to do. We’ve built up our business district. We’ve talked to our residents,” Judy Hackel, a former president for the Allentown CDC, said. “And now we need to be able to say that we have transportation, rapid transportation, like everyone else does. It’s time for the south Pittsburgh neighborhoods to be recognized.”
Others in the area, however, are concerned about traffic congestion and noise.
“We just want to keep the dialogue open. Obviously right now it’s not stopping in Allentown, but we see the value in if it did,” volunteer Ben Prisbylla said. “We have way more foot traffic now than we did in 2011 when they cut service. We just want to keep the dialogue going with the community, with the Port Authority, with the city, and do what we can to make this work for everybody.”