city steps

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Pittsburgh has hundreds of sets of steps — more than any other city in the United States. A new event series, “The Steps We Take” will highlight these staircases with music, art and parties.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Brian Oswald is pretty familiar with the steps of the South Side Slopes.

Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

For a city molded by its dramatic topography, Pittsburgh has admittedly been a bit neglectful of many of those simple structures that get people up and down the hills: steps.

But over the next year-and-a-half, city leaders are hoping to hear some innovative ideas from national experts on how they can repair and improve the city’s extensive system of staircases.

Though a design firm hasn't been chosen yet, $1.16 million worth of in-kind services furnished by the Citi Foundation means Pittsburgh won't have to pay anything.

Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

On Oct. 3, Pittsburghers will walk up and down the formidable stairways of the hilly South Side Slopes neighborhood with maps in hand. The StepTrek, which started more than a decade ago, raises awareness and funds for the Slopes’ aging stairs.

Adam Jette

The South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association is tackling the task of renovating one of Pittsburgh’s community steps through a neighborhood-driven public art project titled “The Oakley Street Mosaic Steps.”

“Mosaic steps” are much more common in Europe and California and are seen by countless passers-by every day. The South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association wanted to create a similar, yet unique to Pittsburgh effect, on a few sets of city steps.

Preserving Pittsburgh's City Steps

Jun 27, 2014
Rebecca Selah / Flickr

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.