South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Mia Rupani
Point Park News Service 

Josephine at 18th intersection will be redesigned

New intersection should be completed within two years


Cars continued to make the illegal left turn from Josephine Street onto S. 18th Street in the South Side Slopes. Plans are underway to redesign the intersection to make it safer.

A traffic light will finally be installed at the intersection of S. 18th and Josephine streets in the South Side Slopes following complaints from nearby residents for years, according to Councilman Bruce Kraus.

While the timeline for the project is currently in the works, Mr. Kraus said the redesign of the intersection should be completed within the next two years.

"We accepted Federal dollars specifically to redesign that intersection after our traffic engineer studied the intersection and ultimately decided to install a traffic signal there," Mr. Kraus said. "The intersection has been problematic for years and there have been a number of accidents there, including a fatality very close to the intersection where a young man on a bicycle was killed."

The South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association (SSSNA), a coalition of neighbors working together to make the Slopes a more "livable, beautiful and safer community," has been vying for changes to be made to the intersection of S. 18th and Josephine streets for years, calling it "a hazard for both vehicles and pedestrians."

The association completed an 18th St. corridor study in 2008 and found that the intersection is dangerous due to the width of the street and the need to cross over a wider lane of traffic, making it difficult for vehicles to turn onto 18th St. from Josephine St. This traffic difficulty also poses a problem for the safety of pedestrians crossing Josephine St.

"For years we've known it was a tricky intersection and people did not respect the traffic markings," SSSNA board member Brad Palmisiano said. "So in our corridor study, we tried redesigning that intersection. We did some preliminary designs to try and make that intersection safer."

Working alongside a local architect, SSSNA created two different redesigns for the intersection, both requiring a narrowing of 18th St. The first design would cost the city roughly $113, 663, while the second design would cost around $166, 145.

The City of Pittsburgh Public Works department completed an examination of accident data for the intersection in late 2013, resulting in a "No Left Turn" sign being installed at the intersection the following year in an attempt to reduce accidents, the South Pittsburgh Reporter reported last year.

"Although we [the association] understand the importance of the "No Left Turn" sign, we think it's a valuable intersection and that left turn was very important," Mr. Palmisiano said. "Basically, it just pushed traffic through some of the smaller streets that can't handle the traffic and it is an inadequate solution to the problem."

Mr. Palmisiano and SSSNA are happy with the city's decision to finally install a traffic light at the intersection, calling it "an important intersection in the community."

"We maintain the triangle garden at the intersection, so our organization is very invested in keeping that gateway to our neighborhood looking nice," Mr. Palmisiano said. "We want this intersection to serve the residents well and right now, it's not doing that."


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