March 29, 2011 |

Overbrook bridge closed for repairs until this June

The closing of the Colerain Street Bridge for reconstruction, and an update on the city Department of Public Works' activities, were the focus of the March 22 meeting of the Overbook Community Council at the Fairhaven United Methodist Church.

The guest speakers were Jeanna Fisher, construction engineering manager, county Department of Public Works; and Rob Kaczorowski, director of the city Department of Public Works.

Ms. Fisher said the bridge on Colerain St. between Route 51 and Nobles Lane would close on March 23 and not reopen until June. Detours for Route 51 northbound and southbound left turns are posted. The bridge was last reconstructed in 1987.

Temporary signals have been installed at Nobles Lane and Route 51. There is also a pedestrian crosswalk at the new light.

District Justice Richard King questioned if there are plans to expand the bridge, Ms. Fisher said no.

Mr. King said it is inadequate in size causing traffic to often back up. The bridge needs widened, he said.

City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak said this was the first time she heard about detours and closings. She said she was "disappointed and frustrated" about the lack of communication. Ms. Fisher replied the city has been involved since the start of the project.

For information on the project as it progresses, visit the county website.

In his remarks, Mr. Kaczorowski said one of the reasons the city-wide snow removal process was improved this year was there were nine stockpiles instead of the previous four. Stockpiles were added to cut down on response times.

Overbook Community Council president Carol Anthony complained about a school bus stop at Greencrest Dr. and Brookline Boulevard, a dangerous intersection before the area is cleared following a snowstorm. She once saw a truck sliding down the icy road sideways.

Mr. Kaczorowski said he would talk to the school district about possibly relocating the bus stop.

Questioned whether salt boxes are gone, he said they are reviewing the boxes on a case-by-case basis.

During Act 47, salt boxes were the second highest cost in the Dept. of Public Works; litter cans were first.

Mr. Kaczorowski began his city career as a laborer at an hourly rate of six dollars. Today, he is public works director.

"I love my job and its challenges," he said.

He said he has saved the city a lot of money through in-house painting of street lines. He is also looking at a street light program that could save the city $1 million.

This is the department's busiest time of year, he said, with potholes, litter, and spring cleaning. Ballfields also have to be made ready for play.

The Pittsburgh Penguin Foundation is involved with the city in the installation of deck hockey rinks, including at Phillips Park. The plan there is to combine the tennis and basketball court into a deck hockey court, and relocate the tennis and basketball facilities elsewhere in the park.

In the committee reports leading off the meeting, Ms. Rudiak reminded attendees during the crime report to always lock their cars. She said in the five or six thefts from autos in Brookline last month, the vehicles were all unlocked.

John Rudiak said residents can sign up at the Pittsburgh Community Safety website, www.communitysafety.pittsburghpa.gov, for community messages and crime alerts. Crime tips can also be submitted via the website.

However, to remain anonymous, tipsters can complete a silent complaint form.

In his summary of a March 19 library meeting, Mr. King said Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is looking to merge its Carrick and Knoxville branches into a new facility. The proposed site is 1001 Brownsville Rd. in the center of the two neighborhoods.

The new building would be a two-floor, state-of-the-art facility with some parking. It would be double the size of the current two libraries. With its location, Mount Oliver would also benefit.

But nothing is finalized. "It is not a done deal yet," said Mr. King.

In his update of the recent South Pittsburgh Neighborhoods meeting, Mr. Rudiak said a new butcher shop and new coffee shop are coming to Beechview. An IGA store will be opening in the former Foodland on Broadway Ave.

For news of Brookline, visit: www.brooklineconnection.com.

Mr. Rudiak said while problem tenants are often thought of by residents as being "Section 8" subsidized tenants, less than four-tenths of one percent of Overbrook tenants are Section 8. In Carrick, five percent are Section 8.

An illegal dumping clean-up will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 9 in Carrick. Lunch will be provided.

A regional environmental survey revealed Carrick has one of the highest rates of illegal dumping in the city.

Regarding economic development, a developer is interested in putting in a retail grocer along Route 51. A site has not yet been located as the area is largely a flood plain.

In her update, Ms. Rudiak said her office set money aside to help demolish the Ba-Da-Bing adult entertainment building on Route 51 that burned down. The Bureau of Building Inspection (BBI) has condemned the structure.

She said the building owner is interested in renewing his application for adult entertainment there. The site, based on zoning, requires an exception for the usage.

The property is in legal limbo. The case is pending in Housing Court.

Ms. Rudiak said the city zoning code as it relates to adult entertainment needs to be improved. To that end, she is working with Councilwoman Theresa Smith, who is also dealing with the issue in her district with a strip club on West Carson St.

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