The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority a $1.2 million grant for transit-related development in Uptown.
Development carved through Uptown, Oakland, Downtown and the East End, known to senior city planner Justin Miller as the “EcoInnovation District,” is designed to make more effective use of the city's resources as a key component to its Bus Rapid Transit corridor.
Stemming from Portland, Ore., EcoInnovation is a protocol of city planning that encourages land use for small business and entrepreneurs to promote innovation and economic growth, Miller said.
“Improving transit in Pittsburgh is a key step in the city’s economic development,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey in a written statement. “This grant will lay the groundwork for major upgrades to the city’s transportation infrastructure and ensure Pittsburgh continues to be an attractive location for businesses.”
The Uptown area has had much “disinvestment”, according to Miller, and is not making effective use of its space.
“It’s not like you’ve got wide open acres to be able to develop, but … if you look at the predominant land use right now in Uptown, it’s parking lots,” Miller said.
More efficient use of a space would improve travel times, he said.
“I think the bigger picture of it is that it would make transit through the corridor more predictable, [have a] higher level of service, better station amenities, better traffic flow for buses.”
Miller said planning will take about 18 months and up to another two years to complete.
“There’s quite a bit of opportunity in the neighborhood,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a Downtown or Oakland necessarily in terms of scale and intensity … but maybe something a little bit more on the scale of what we’re seeing in East Liberty or the Strip District.”
The URA applied for the grants at year with the support of the city, county and Port Authority of Allegheny County.