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Identity & Community

Preserving Pittsburgh's City Steps

Rebecca Selah

Pittsburgh is known as the City of Bridges, but it should also been known as the City of Steps. It has by far the most steps of any American city, and if all of Pittsburgh’s stairways were collectively stacked, they would reach the top of Mt. Everest.

Like the bridges, they add a unique touch to the area. Unfortunately, they also suffer from a lack of maintenance, and many of the stairways have fallen into disrepair. It is a problem that the cash-strapped city government has struggled to fix, so the onus of stairwell upkeep has fallen onto the citizens.

A South Side community group recently received a grant to make much-needed repairs to steps of the South Side Slopes. Brad Palmisiano, board member of the South Side Neighborhood Association thinks these repairs will help provide safety and make the steps more aesthetically pleasing.

"There is a concerted movement now to move back into cities. So if the city and the county want to make the urban areas more marketable.There’s not enough parking in the city, people want to be able to walk around, that’s a big movement. So we were able to make the case with this grant request that the marketability of the slopes, and the economic impact was a very good investment for the city.”

He added that Pittsburgh should seek to take care of its steps like Italy and other countries with similar stairways.

“When you celebrate something that’s functional and beautiful, it can be a really really big draw for the city.”