South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Historic guidelines project explained in South Side


Last updated 10/9/2019 at 8:13pm

The East Carson Street historic guidelines project, and changes in recycling in the city, were the focus of the general meeting of the South Side Community Council (SSCC) on Sept. 30 at the Brashear Center.

SSCC President Barbara Rudiak began the meeting with news that Tim Lewis, director of commuter affairs for Duquesne University, who was scheduled to present, could not attend.

In a brief summary of the history between the SSCC and Duquesne, she said there was not a relationship five years ago. But after Hugh Brannon, chair of the South Side Planning Forum, contacted Duquesne, the university began sending a representative to forum meetings, and a relationship developed. Mr. Lewis was then contacted.

Mr. Lewis also attends the SSCC's South Watch meetings, she said, which has strengthened the relationship. The police know to call Duquesne if there are problems with their students. Mr. Lewis will contact students to inform them about good behavior practices on the South Side.

"We don't have a lot of repeat house problems with students. The relationship has really blossomed," Ms. Rudiak said.

Duquesne students also help with neighborhood cleanups and engage in community service with the South Side Chamber of Commerce.

Next, Gisele Betances, a Coro Fellow, spoke about the East Carson Street Historic Guidelines Project.

SSCC Board member Frank Vitali said historic guidelines are not being adhered to on Carson St.

For that reason, the SSCC engaged Ms. Betances for nine weeks to craft the guidelines into an easy, usable document for businesses and residents.

The historic district runs on East Carson St. from the 900 block to 2630 (even), 601 to 2700 block (odd), and includes all or part of various side streets, like Bingham, Muriel, Roland, Sarah, and others. All of Bedford Square is in the historic district.

The map can be viewed at:

Ms. Betances said at the conclusion of her nine-week tenure, she will have completed: a community survey, informative packet, introduction video, and a report on the next steps.

She has already surveyed the community. When the 50 respondents were asked if they obey the guidelines, most said they are not sure what those are. About half of the respondents knew you may call 311 to report a violation.

Ms. Bentances said the responses are largely due to not knowing what the guidelines are.

The introduction video will be about understanding the history of South Side: end of the steel era, creation of the South Side Local Development Co., and continuing the legacy and success of East Carson St.

As to what residents can do after Ms. Bentances leaves in nine weeks, she said to: distribute the informative packets, keep a record of 311 calls, create groups of volunteers to call 311 to report violations, and offer meetings for businesses with the local review committee (LRC).

In the questions which followed, Mr. Vitali said he was told by the city that calling 311 to report violations is the "way to go." He is now testing that, having called in a massage parlor sign cited by an inspector.

"Hopefully, in a few weeks it will be gone," he said.

Ms. Bentances said the information packet now focusses on signs.

Ms. Rudiak said they wanted "some deliverables" to the community in nine weeks, so chose signs.

She also said the issue is about the education of residents.

"If you see something happening, and don't see a building permit, call 311," she said.

The LRC was "very excited that we are looking into this," she said.

"You have a lot more eyes in the community, but need education."

The final speaker was Teresa Bradley, recycling supervisor, Environmental Services, Dept of Public Works, who talked about changes in recycling.

Recycling is mandatory in the City of Pittsburgh.

As the city moves to improve the recycling with a cart-based system, residents should use a blue bin not exceeding 35 gallons. Recyclables should be placed in a durable, watertight container with a close-fitting lid.

While blue bags are in the code, residents are not encouraged to use them as they clog equipment at the recycling facility.

Ms. Bradley said to lightly rinse plastic bottles, jugs, and jars that are three gallons or less. To a question about pizza boxes, she said they are not recyclable.

All cans must be blue and clearly marked for recycling.

Place clean plastic bottles and jugs (remove all caps and lids), aluminum and steel cans, mixed paper and glass into one bin. Flatten, bundle, and place cardboard into another box for collection.

To a question about garbage cans in front of one's house, Ms. Rudiak said the city changed the regulation in March, and trash cans must be out of public view by 10 p.m.

She also said South Watch attempts to address this by giving Environmental Services a few non-compliant addresses at a time to enforce.

Ms. Bradley said to recycle TVs, computers, paints, chemicals, and automotive fluids, contact

For yard debris and tires, there are six drop-off locations, including Construction Junction at 214 Lexington Ave., and the Strip District at 3001 Railroad St.

The latter is also a drop-off site for electronics and household hazardous waste recycling. A drop-off time must be scheduled in advance at, or calling 814-425-7773. Fees apply for most items.

In the announcements that concluded the meeting, the SSCC's annual holiday pie fundraiser has begun, with pre-paid orders due by Nov. 8. All Gardner Pies are $11. The pies are 10 inches, come frozen, and include baking instructions.

Pecan pies are the exception as they are fully cooked and only need warmed. Other pie flavors are apple, caramel apple walnut, dutch apple, cherry, peach, pumpkin, and strawberry-rhubarb.

Pickup is Nov. 22 and 23. For questions, call 412-554-1870.

In other SSCC news, to receive the newsletter contact with your email address.

The final announcements were from Zone 3 Public Safety Council president Liz Style.

On Oct. 16, 5:30-8:30 p.m., a City-Wide Public Safety Meeting will be held at St. Pius X Byzantine Catholic Church, 2336 Brownsville Rd. The event is hosted by the Zone 3 Public Safety Council. Light dinner buffet 5:30-6:30. The theme will be "Back to Basics," with various city departments sharing details of what they do.

The next Zone 3 meeting will be its end-of-the-year meeting at 6 p.m. on Nov. 18 at Knoxville Library.

The next general meeting of the SSCC will be held in March.


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