Margaret J. Krauss

Development and Transportation Reporter

Margaret J. Krauss is WESA's development and transportation reporter. She previously worked for Keystone Crossroads, a statewide reporting initiative that covers problems facing Pennsylvania's cities and possible solutions. Before joining Keystone Crossroads, Margaret produced a 48-part radio series about Pittsburgh's lesser-known history, biking 2,000 miles around the region to do so.

Ways to Connect

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Mike Kirsch has been working at Brunner’s Garage on the South Side for more than 43 years. Over his career, car repair has changed quite a bit, he says. Even smaller jobs, like replacing headlight bulbs or rearview mirrors, have become more time consuming and expensive. But it is not all bad. “New cars … don’t break like they used to.”

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

It’s not easy getting older: the wear and tear, the aches and pains; gravity is nobody’s friend. But the historic Produce Terminal in Pittsburgh’s Strip District just got a new lease on life: after five years of negotiations, developer McCaffery Interests has started renovation work.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Dentist Lorraine Callen sees a lot of patients at Allegheny General Hospital. Using special magnifying lenses, called loupes, she is able to see their teeth much better. It has also played havoc with her memory. She can’t always remember a patient by their name, but when she sees their teeth or an x-ray, “I can remember people's stories about their grandkids.”

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

This spring, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority will embark on a massive new infrastructure project to replace its small water mains.

Google Earth

Pittsburgh’s Housing Opportunity Fund won approval for a new program: emergency rental assistance. The initiative was one of many greenlit by the board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Thursday.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority wants to replace lead service lines for families with moderate and low incomes.

The Right Tool For The Job

Mar 13, 2019
Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The English language is loaded with idioms related to tools: tightening the screws, burying the hatchet, and hitting the nail on the head, to name just a few. But for automotive technician Andrew McHaney having the right tool for the job is much more than a metaphor.

Gensler

After more than ten years of negotiations, plans and delays, the Pittsburgh Penguins intend to break ground on the 28-acre Lower Hill project in fall 2019.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Transit agencies across the state are facing budget shortfalls because of pending litigation against a state agency. Each year, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission sends $450 million to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to support mass transit, but two groups have alleged that the set-up is illegal.

Kevin C. Brown / 90.5 WESA

Gordon Nolan spends a lot of time on the ice, but rarely on skates. As the head of maintenance at Alpha Ice Complex in Harmar, it is his job to keep three ice rinks ready for hockey teams, figure skaters, and the public. In more than a decade of working on the ice, he has only fallen twice. “That’s pretty good, I think.”

Alex / Flickr

Preliminary data presented in an annual report from the Governors Highway Safety Association found that pedestrian deaths across the nation have increased by more than a third, even as all other traffic-related deaths have declined.

Governor Tom Wolf was in Bridgeville Thursday to tout his Restore Pennsylvania plan, which he said could generate $4.5 billion for infrastructure investments across the state over the next four years.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

They’re everywhere — creators, innovators, mavericks — and they sure do know how to suck all the air out of a room. But most of the world’s work isn't making the newest technology or shaking up an entire industry, it’s shepherding the things that already exist. The falls a figure skater won’t take because the ice is perfect; the angst a patient won’t feel because a dentist helps care for her teeth; the hours not spent roadside thanks to an automotive technician: this is the fruit the maintainers' labor.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

The digital signs on the front of each Port Authority of Allegheny County bus will no longer read “Go Steelers” or “Go Bucs,” or thank the region’s veterans. 

Kevin C. Brown / 90.5 WESA

Community can exist in any place where two or more humans gather. Port Authority operator Jill Smallwood sees it at rush hour, as she drives the P1 route from downtown Pittsburgh to Swissvale and back again.

As her bus gets crowded, Smallwood can’t see all the way to the back of the bus, so she’ll appeal to her riders, “Do we have any room in the back?” Most of the time, they make space for one more.

Google Maps

Second Avenue in Pittsburgh is a busy east-west roadway that takes travelers from Downtown through Uptown, past links to the South Side and Greenfield, and on through Hazelwood to the Glennwood Bridge. It’s an important route and fated to become even more critical due to developments planned along its length, such as the 178-acre Hazelwood Green site.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Construction on the Produce Terminal in Pittsburgh’s Strip District neighborhood is expected to begin in March. The work won approval from the board of Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority Thursday.

Kevin C. Brown / 90.5 WESA

John Spellman is all about customer service. As the owner and operator of The Shady Dog, a lunch cart in Pittsburgh’s East End, Spellman says he’s learned a lot about who people are and how they operate. Perhaps most tangibly, Spellman has arranged his schedule to sidestep the Monday blues.

Kevin C. Brown / 90.5 WESA

Modern existence requires a lot of signs: road signs, park signs, building signs, direction signs, special event signs. Plenty of signs could be ordered online, in this age of hyper-availability, but Allegheny County doesn’t outsource its written communication with the public; instead, the county runs its own sign shop.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has set a new course for its future, in which its customers can rely on clean, safe water and rarely ever think about the authority headquartered at 1200 Penn Avenue. 

Lawrenceville Pittsburgh / Facebook page

Like most American cities, Pittsburgh needs thousands more units of affordable housing, but federal and state money to build those homes continues to shrink.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

City officials will present an update on the project to renovate Smallman Street in Pittsburgh’s Strip District Wednesday night.

Tim Tierney / Wikimedia Commons

Pittsburgh officials continue to discuss how to balance development and protect housing affordability, while legislation to do so has lingered in city council for more than a year.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

A federal grant may help municipalities in Allegheny County grapple with fallout from last year’s record rainfall and accompanying floods and landslides. However, the competition for funding is fierce, said Matt Brown, chief of Allegheny County Emergency Services.

“I don’t think that we’ll have a capacity to recover from a lot of the ... challenges that we have, but this is an opportunity that we don’t want to turn away from,” Brown said.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority board on Monday voted to terminate its cooperation agreement with the City of Pittsburgh and negotiate a new one.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Friday he filed 161 criminal charges against the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority relating to partial lead line replacements the authority made between 2016 and 2017.

Kevin C. Brown / 90.5 WESA

Jill Smallwood has operated a Port Authority bus for nearly five years and says the learning curve is pretty steep. She found out the hard way that there’s a lot to pay attention to, both inside and outside the bus. 

MV+A Architects / Used with permission from LG Realty Advisors

Developer LG Realty Advisors presented final plans for the first phase of work at the former Penn Plaza site to the Pittsburgh Planning Commission on Tuesday. The company intends to build more than 300,000 square feet of office and retail space in the first of two phases of development on the roughly nine-acre site in East Liberty.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

By the end of March, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority must begin treating its water with a type of chemical called orthophosphate to lower lead levels.

Road Work Ahead

Jan 25, 2019
Kevin C. Brown / 90.5 WESA

Highways, streets, and sidewalks get most Pittsburghers to and from work. On this month’s episode of 90.5 WESA’s series Still Working, though, roads themselves are essential to the workplace. Jill Smallwood drives a bus for the Port Authority of Allegheny County. John Spellman operates the “Shady Dog” hot dog cart in Shadyside. And Steve Smith makes road signs at Allegheny County’s sign shop.

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