Heated bus stop benefactor steps forward

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Heated bus stop at Fifth and Ross

As if their battle with UPMC weren't hard enough, Highmark officially announced today a war against another major Pittsburgh institution: unbearably cold bus stops.

But installing "overhead heat lamps" at four bus stops — three Downtown, one on the North Side — isn't just an effort to heat the outdoors; it's an attempt to earn a little name recognition.

"We knew the cold months are coming," says Highmark spokesman Doug Braunsdorf. "It was certainly a way to get our name out."

The lamps are activated by a button at the stops, which on a recent frigid evening at Fifth and Ross, seemed to elicit a Pavlovian response (the company has not ruled out some sort of cooling apparatus in the summer months).

“These warming stations may be novel and something for people to talk about, but more importantly they show our commitment to the health and well-being of people in Pittsburgh," says Highmark executive Steve Nelson, according to a press release. "It may be a small gesture, but it shows that we care."

One can only hope UPMC responds with curbside espresso bars.

The heaters can be found at the following stops:

*Boulevard of the Allies and Stanwix Street

*Liberty Avenue and Ninth Street

*Fifth Avenue and Ross Street

*Reedsdale Street and Boyce Street

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