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Liberty Avenue Renovations Underway To Help Ease Traffic And Increase Pedestrian Safety

Jake Savitz
90.5 WESA
The newly painted bus lane on Liberty Avenue on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.

The 900 block of Liberty Avenue downtown in getting a makeover.

Renovations started Monday to add a temporary curb extension, bus lane and parking lane to the stretch. 

A bus platform will be added by the end of the week, and adjustments will also include landscaping and lighting to be added in coming months.

The project, dubbed"Life on Liberty," is helmed by Envision Downtown, a collaboration of Mayor Bill Peduto's office and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. Executive director of Envision Downtown, Sean Luther, says the changes are to improve pedestrian safety and ease traffic flow on the busy street.

"The pedestrian is downtown's key customer, and we want to make sure they're the No. 1 priority," Luther said.

The installations will be in place for 18 months, during which Envision Downtown will see if the pilot is successful. A decision will then be made by Envision Downtown and the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure to keep, expand or remove elements of the project.

The "Life on Liberty" renovations are funded by local foundations and businesses, with in-kind support from some city departments.

If the Liberty project is successful, Luther said Envision Downtown will look to do similar pilot programs on other city blocks.

"We're trying to push the idea that downtown streets don't have to be exactly as they are today," he said. "Three lanes and an 8-foot sidewalk isn't necessarily the configuration that we're locked into in every corridor."