South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Bike sharing, code enforcement focus of Planning Forum session

 


Presentations on the 2014 launching of Pittsburgh’s Bike Share program, and on the residents-led Oakland Planning and Development Corp. (OPDC), were the focus of the Sept. 10 meeting of the South Side Planning Forum.

A scheduled presentation by the South Side Bar and Restaurant Association was postponed, at the organization’s request, until the forum’s Oct. 8 meeting or later.

In the first presentation by Stephen Patchan, bicycle/pedestrian coordinator for the city’s Department of City Planning, he said bike share is intended to enhance mobility; increase customer capacity (and are therefore good for businesses); promote tourism; and provide a fun way to visit the city’s neighborhoods.

The program also helps reduce vehicle emissions and improve individual and community health.

It is scheduled to begin in the city in Aug., 2014. The start will coincide with the 2014 Pro Walk/Pro Bike Conference to be held in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Bike Share is made possible through $1.8 million in federal funds. Its founding partners are the city, Bike Pittsburgh, and Bakery Square/Walnut Capital.

Under the program, a system of bicycles is available for short-term use (30 minutes) by annual or short-term (24-hour) members for nine months of the year (closed during the winter).

The 500 bikes, designed to be sturdy and vandal-proof, are used for “point-to-point” trips, and can lock into any of the 50 solar-powered stations planned throughout the city.

As federal funds are being utilized, the stations must be on public sites, like sidewalks, or URA or PAT properties.

In South Side, bike stations are proposed for: Carson/18th St .; E. Carson/22nd St .; E. Carson/25th St .; and, the SouthSide Works.

When the federal requirements end in 2015, the bike stations may be relocated to private sites.

The public comment period runs through the end of 2013.

Organizations may contact Mr. Patchan for group presentations at: stephen.patchan@pittsburghpa.gov.

For more information on the program, visit: http://www.pghbikeshare.org.

In her presentation, Wanda Wilson, executive director of the OPDC, said Oakwatch: The Oakland Code Enforcement Project, seeks to improve the quality of life by enforcing codes on negligent property owners, housing and parking violations, disruptive behavior, excessive noise, and underage drinking.

She said the group has had success with some landlords when reaching out and talking with them about problems and concerns.

Considering Oakland faces many of the same challenges as South Side, she would like to partner with the neighborhood, perhaps through the Responsible Hospitality Institute (RHI).

Ms. Wilson said there are representatives at every OPDC meeting from institutions such as the city’s police and fire departments, departments of public safety and public works, and the Bureau of Building Inspection; and from the University of Pittsburgh and Point Park University.

Tracy Myers said in Oakland, the universities are willing partners, which is not the case with Duquesne University in the South Side.

Ms. Wilson said the OPDC partnered with the Univ. of Pittsburgh this past summer distributing information to educate students about responsible living in Oakland.

The Good Neighbor campaign will include university-sponsored block parties this month. The parties are free and open to all neighbors.

City Councilman Bruce Kraus said some of the OPDC’s strategies can be applied to South Side.

He said while he has met with Duquesne University representatives, they are not at all local meetings, unlike University of Pittsburgh representatives who attend all Oakland meetings.

Next, Candice Gonzalez, Neighborhood Initiatives coordinator in the Mayor’s Office, provided updates on city activities.

The city will hold a Sept. 18 public hearing to seek comment from residents and organizations on the 2014 capital budget. The hearing will be held at the Beechview Senior Center, 1555 Broadway Ave., beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 20 is the deadline for applications by artists for the display of their artwork in Market Square. The artist selection process will be managed by the Office of Public Art, a program of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and established partner of the City of Pittsburgh public art division.

Applications are available at pittsburghpa.gov/dcp/public-art/opportunities.

A hard-to-recycle collection will be held at The Mall at Robinson from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 5. Materials accepted free of charge include two televisions (fee for additional TVs); computers and peripheral equipment; ink and toner cartridges; small appliances; and more.

Visit http://www.zerowastepgh.org for more information.

In other announcements provided by forum members, the 2013 StepTrek, a self-guided walking tour of the Slopes, will take place on Oct. 5 at 11 a.m. at South Side Park, Josephine and 21st streets.

The Clean Air Dash and Festival 5k race event will be held on Oct. 19 at the South Side Riverfront Park along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.

The Brashear Association will hold its annual awards luncheon on Oct. 24 at noon at the LeMont Restaurant. Visit http://www.brashearassociation.org for more information.

The next forum meeting will be on Oct. 8.

 

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