Take me to the river: new developments in Pittsburgh

Just a few weeks ago, I was talking about how frustrating it was that Pittsburgh wasn’t capitalizing on its riverfront spaces to the fullest extent.

This week, some positive news about Pittsburgh’s riverfront space was announced – and even managed to garner a mention in the New York Times.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s story about the project is here.  The project has been named Almono (after the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers).

The site was originally slated for an expressway that would go to rural Fayette County, but that’s been scrapped. According to the NYT article, a rail line will remain. Could this corridor be a possible site for a commuter train/trolley down the line? Pittsburgh has several train lines (a corridor along Route 28 is another) that are already in place – will multiple uses of these lines ever become a reality?

The site is slightly “up river” and east of the city, just east of the South Side neighborhood.

I’m very encouraged by this news and I hope that the developers get the involvement of the community around them in these early planning stages. The current plans call for mixed use properties, which is a great use of the space.

The report card for development in this area so far has been mixed. The South Side Flats (closer to the city) has capitalized on the busy elements of the South Side and expanded the footprint of that area.

But just a few miles farther up the river, the “fake town” mall on the site of the former Homestead steel works hasn’t done much for the area around it. Instead of bolstering Homestead, it’s drained all the remaining life from its streets. On a recent visit I drove down 8th Street and was astonished at how decayed and empty it looked. Another cluster of retail (devoid of any local businesses) is not the answer, so mixed use sounds promising.

Braddock is another nearby neighbor on the river, and its struggles have been well documented

So I hope that this project finds a new purpose for this existing space. I’ll be keeping an eye on the progress.

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