Churchill (not Winston) gets a reprieve its politicians don’t want

Churchill

If it was up to the yard signs, the Churchill borough council would have overwhelmingly turned down the Amazon distribution center proposed for the old Westinghouse Research and Technology Park along the Parkway (Interstate 376). This is not how it went, but now, to the disappointment of a bunch of local politicians, not all of them in Churchill, Amazon has withdrawn.[8]

Just driving around the area, I gotta tell you, I see the opposing homeowners’ point. Though the site is adjacent to the Parkway, the freeway access around there is a mess; indeed, one of the reasons I needed a more powerful car than the one I had was exemplified in Google Maps directions that have you accelerating onto the often very busy Parkway into the left lane, with the routine speeding 20 miles per hour over the posted limit (55 mph, therefore a prevailing speed often at 75 mph), cutting across three similarly speeding and similarly busy lanes, to get off in a quite ludicrously short distance to get off at exit 80 for Business U.S. Highway 22 from the right lane.

The exit that trucks would have to use to access the site is a fairly tight, single-lane horseshoe that I would expect they probably can navigate, but the the roadway to the entrance itself is two-lane (one in each direction) roadway. The traffic all around there is already bad due to the way the roads connect, which was clearly not designed to have a freeway dropped right smack into the middle of them. And on the Parkway itself, it’s a mess due to a bottleneck with an old bridge, between exits 79A and 79B that only has room for two lanes in each direction. I can definitely imagine that the traffic from this project could have been catastrophically bad, on the order of the Fort Pitt and Fort Duquesne Bridges.

Apparently, the site has been vacant for twenty years.[9] I don’t know who’s keeping it up; the buildings have not fallen into obvious (from the distance I’m able to view them, anyway) disrepair and the lawns are all still mowed.

The politicians mourn jobs that will be created elsewhere, perhaps the old and now razed Eastland Mall in North Versailles,[10] and the loss of potential tax revenue.[11]

Off hand, I think the traffic might be a little less awful in North Versailles, but it’s a lot farther from any existing freeway and even when (if) the proposed Mon-Fayette Expressway (Pennsylvania Route 43) is extended that far north, it doesn’t look to me like it will be particularly close.[12] The Expressway currently only reaches Pennsylvania Route 51 in Jefferson Hills; the next segment, assuming it’s ever built, would reach through West Mifflin, then across the Monongahela River.[13] The section that would serve the old Eastland Mall site could only be constructed after that.[14]

What I see of Churchill is mostly middle class houses, often on the small side, and tree-lined streets. Much of it is actually quite charming. But a main route from Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania Route 130, passes through it, ultimately connecting to Allegheny River Boulevard, on the south side of its namesake river. Rodi Road (pronounced in a way rhyming ‘Lodi,’ a town south of Sacramento, California) runs roughly parallel to that route, connecting to Frankstown Road, which Route 130 also intersects, a main thoroughfare through Penn Hills.

My own preference would be to preserve the existing buildings—I hate tearing down perfectly good buildings—if they are indeed serviceable but get something in there that’s a lot less traffic-intensive.

Mila Sanina, “Amazon nixes its plan to build a distribution center in Churchill,” Public Source, March 18, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/amazon-cancels-churchill-westinghouse-warehouse-development-plan/


  1. [8]Mila Sanina, “Amazon nixes its plan to build a distribution center in Churchill,” Public Source, March 18, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/amazon-cancels-churchill-westinghouse-warehouse-development-plan/
  2. [9]Mila Sanina, “Amazon nixes its plan to build a distribution center in Churchill,” Public Source, March 18, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/amazon-cancels-churchill-westinghouse-warehouse-development-plan/
  3. [10]Tim Schooley, “Real estate record reveals Amazon closes on buying former Eastland Mall site in North Versailles,” WPXI, October 15, 2021, https://www.wpxi.com/news/business/real-estate-record-reveals-amazon-closes-buying-former-eastland-mall-site-north-versailles/IAYCQ5EVEVFPVNSKMBCKPYN2LI/
  4. [11]Mila Sanina, “Amazon nixes its plan to build a distribution center in Churchill,” Public Source, March 18, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/amazon-cancels-churchill-westinghouse-warehouse-development-plan/
  5. [12]Pennsylvania Turnpike, “PA Route 51 to I-376 of the Mon Fayette Expressway,” 2016, https://www.patpconstruction.com/monfaysb/
  6. [13]Ed Blazina, “Pittsburgh-area leaders press for federal funds to finally build northern section of Mon-Fayette Expressway,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 2, 2021, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2021/06/01/Mon-Fayette-Expressway-Monroeville-Jefferson-Hills-Duquesne-state-hearing/stories/202106010144
  7. [14]Pennsylvania Turnpike, “PA Route 51 to I-376 of the Mon Fayette Expressway,” 2016, https://www.patpconstruction.com/monfaysb/

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