Development & Transportation

We cover how people move about the region, as well as trends in housing and commercial development.

Gensler

An open-air music venue, food hall, hotel and playground are among the elements included in the master plan for the redeveloped Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill District, which will be named “Centre District.” Detailed renderings of the $750 million project were unveiled to residents at a community meeting Wednesday evening.

Wikimedia Commons

The Hill Community Development Corporation is hoping a $55 million project to redevelop the New Granada Theater block will be a catalyst to continued development in the area. The project will include office and retail space as well as mixed-income housing units, according to CEO Marimba Milliones.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

A new federal tax shelter could kickstart a wave of investment in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania. At a forum hosted by the Hill Community Development Corporation last Friday, opportunity zones were hailed as catalytic, transformative and lucrative.

Keith Srakocic / AP

A funicular that gives sightseers and commuters a panoramic view of Pittsburgh has reopened.

The Monongahela Incline was closed for more than three months because of flood damage.

The reopening had a slight hiccup when power went out in the neighborhood just an hour after service restarted Friday morning.

The Port Authority says power to the incline was restored later in the morning. Duquesne Light says the rest of the neighborhood should be back online soon.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Mobility researcher Brandon Daveler has spent years learning how to design and build better powered wheelchairs. But starting a company to sell the first model that can be fully submerged in water required a whole new education. “Business owners are the only people that will work an 80-hour week to avoid working 40 hours a week for somebody else,” he laughs.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

After more than three months of negotiation, city of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority officials say they hope to present a new cooperation agreement to council and PWSA’s board of directors within the month. The deadline for the agreement was extended 60 days, from May 4 to July 5.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

In a whirlwind tour of regional infrastructure on Monday, the chair of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said Republicans and Democrats must find a way to rebuild the nation’s bridges, roads, mass transit and water and sewer systems.

Whole Foods Commits To Former Penn Plaza Site

Apr 29, 2019
90.5 WESA

Developer LG Realty has a new anchor tenant for the former site of Penn Plaza in East Liberty. It’s the same retailer first proposed several years ago – Whole Foods Market.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

In theory, Pennsylvania could be spending billions more dollars to update aging roads and bridges.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Fair housing advocates presented the City of Pittsburgh with an extensive list of policy recommendations this week. It’s the latest step for the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Task Force.

This is the first document of its kind produced by the task force, which represents dozens of organizations across all sectors. Members spent several years examining the policies of other cities, historical practices in Pittsburgh, and gathering feedback from the community.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

For a long time, Pittsburgh’s approach to development was to open the lid of the subsidy jar and throw out tax abatements like hard candies at a Halloween parade; new buildings eventually meant more tax revenue. Now, as interest in building in Pittsburgh continues to grow, the city wants to find a way to capitalize on it. That’s where inclusionary zoning comes in.

State Rep. Innamorato Takes To The Bus For 'Mobile Townhall'

Apr 24, 2019
Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Some riders on the Port Authority’s route 91 bus were met by their state representative on Wednesday morning. 

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESAa

After three hours of almost entirely supportive public comment, the Pittsburgh Planning Commission approved a trial run for a new affordable housing policy on Tuesday. 

'Moving Is Essential To Life'

Apr 24, 2019
Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Helping someone move is often a favor done for a friend in a jam. By seemingly universal custom, the reward for this assistance is pizza and beer. But for some western Pennsylvanians moving is no favor; it’s part of the job. Personal trainer Nkem Chikwendu keeps other people fit. Mover Tony Turner makes sure clients’ possessions make it from point A to point B safely. Shoemaker Mario Ulizzi rebuilds and maintains quality footwear. And mobility researcher Brandon Daveler develops new wheelchair technologies.

Eastern Pennsylvania's Population Growth Bypasses Western PA

Apr 23, 2019
Carolyn Kaster / AP

The latest population estimates for the Keystone State, unveiled by the Census Bureau this week, show that Pennsylvania is growing — but not much, and not everywhere.

While the commonwealth added about 16,200 residents, it’s a slim increase for a state that now holds some 12.8 million residents and the growth was highly uneven.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

A proposal to create a self-driving shuttle system between Oakland and Hazelwood continues to draw opposition from residents and activists. 

Matt Slocum / AP

The transition to an all-electronic tolling system has been nearly a decade in the making; the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission first commissioned a feasibility study in 2010.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

People walking along Forbes and Fifth avenues, and Ross and Grant streets will start to have a clearer path with less scaffolding as restoration of the Allegheny County Courthouse roof passes the halfway point. 

City of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh’s Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections opened a digital service counter Tuesday with the launch of online licensing on its site, OneStopPGH. Department director Maura Kennedy described it as a “sea change,” and another step to “completely modernize” development in the city.

Several Affordable Housing Projects Advancing Throughout The City

Apr 12, 2019
Google Earth

The ribbon has been cut on a mixed-use development in Squirrel Hill. Krause Commons was developed on the former site of Poli’s Restaurant, which closed in 2005.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh delivers on sweeping views: hill views, river views, bridge views. Traveling toward Bloomfield across its eponymous bridge, for instance, reveals houses perched carefully on the lip of Skunk Hollow, standing shoulder-to-shoulder in neat rows and a convergence of the bridge, Main Street and Liberty Avenue: the Bloomfield Gateway.

Now, a view that hasn’t changed much over the last few decades could look dramatically different.

URA

Executive Director Robert Rubinstein announced Tuesday he would leave his current post at the Urban Redevelopment Authority. A spokesperson said he is doing so for personal reasons.

New Focus On Ride-Hailing Safety, Fake Drivers After Student's Death

Apr 8, 2019
Richard Vogel, / AP

Whenever Rachel Orden calls for an Uber, the 20-year-old Michigan State University sophomore immediately walks to the back of the vehicle to check the license plate number, then opens the door and waits for the driver to say her name before getting in.

CAROLYN KASTER / AP

The Pennsylvania Turnpike got some rare good news on Thursday.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pittsburgh has been lauded as a "most livable city," but a 2018 survey from the University of Pittsburgh found perceptions of quality of life vary based on race. How do we bring diverse communities together to create a city that is better for all? 

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The addition of a food-grade chemical called orthophosphate to Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s distribution system is expected to lower lead levels for its 300,000 consumers within months. The change on Monday comes nearly three years after PWSA first exceeded the federal action level for lead in drinking water.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Nothing builds camaraderie like joining forces in a sticky situation. 

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Hazelwood Green has some of the most buttery pavement in Pittsburgh, and for the first time today that smooth ride is open to the public.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

After months of beta testing, Port Authority of Allegheny County launched its new website today

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Being spit on, slapped, sucker-punched, and threatened with guns were just a few of the violations endured by Port Authority of Allegheny County drivers between January 2015 and January 2019. 

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