South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Parks, 18th Street project outlined

 

October 15, 2019



The October 8 meeting of the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association (SSSNA) began with a vote to change the by-laws to comply with criteria for becoming a Registered Community Organization (RCO) with the City of Pittsburgh.

The designation gives formal status to community organizations that register with the city, and provides benefits to those organizations.

The benefits include notification of public hearings, guaranteed meetings with developers/applicants, placement on official brochures, and more.

The by-law changes are: instituting 10-year term limits for members; moving the annual meeting from October to March; and adopting a non-discrimination policy.

The vote was unanimous to accept the changes.

Next, Brian Oswald gave a brief review of the prior weekend’s 19th Annual StepTrek, the non-competitive, self-guided walking tour of the Slopes.

With the perfect weather, there were 120 walk-up purchases for a total of 450 participants.

The event grossed $20,000, but cost the SSSNA $10,000 to put on. The end result was a $10,000 profit for the SSSNA.

To celebrate the event’s 20th event next year there will be additional features.

Rev. Donald Ware said the renovated church at St. Paul of the Cross Monastery will be open for the 20th StepTrek.

Next, Heather Sage, director of community projects at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (PPC), said that through early 2019 the City of Pittsburgh and the PPC embarked on Phase I of the Parks Listenin g Tour.

At community meetings and events throughout the city, feedback was gathered on what residents love about their parks, and what they would like improved.

Phase II began in July, 2019, and is still active. During this phase, the PPC and the city are revisiting various locations to share a parks investment strategy driven by data and community input collected during the first phase.

There are 165 parks and recreational facilities in the city, with half in “poor or fair condition,” she said. We should be spending twice as much as allocated on maintenance, she also said.

There is a minimum $400 million shortfall for needed capital improvements with the parks. There is also at least a $13 million funding shortage for maintenance in the parks every year, Ms. Sage said.

Regional Asset District (RAD) funds cannot be spent on neighborhood parks, but only on five regional ones.

She said 3,400 people completed surveys on priorities, with 95 percent saying they would support more resources for the park system.

The top priorities were, in order: maintenance; rehabilitation, like new roofs; capital investment; and programming.

Ms. Sage said a question was added to the Nov. 2019 ballot related to park funding. It will ask voters if they support the creation of a dedicated Pittsburgh Parks Fund to improve city parks.

Voting “yes” will provide additional resources for all city parks.

The funding would come from an additional 0.5 mill levy ($50 on each $100,000 of assessed real estate value).

If passed, the parks would receive about $10 million more dollars per year.

The next 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 “wreak havoc” at the recycling facility, she said.

Ms. Bradley said to lightly rinse plastic bottles, jugs, and jars that are three gallons or less.

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.

Ms. Bradley said to recycle TVs, computers, paints, chemicals, and automotive fluids, contact ecsr.net/Pittsburgh-recycling .

She said in January the city approved a Strip District drop-off site for hard-to-recycle items like electronics and household hazardous waste. The latter includes light bulbs, batteries, oil-based paint, propane tanks, and more.

The address is 3001 Railroad St. A drop-off time must be scheduled in advance at ecsr.net/Pittsburgh-recycling, or calling 814-425-7773. Fees apply for most items.

For yard debris and tires, there are six drop-off locations, including Construction Junction at 214 Lexington Ave., and McKinley Park on Bausman St. in Beltzhoover.

For details, contact 311 by phone; Twitter @PGH311; or pittsburghpa.gov/311 .

The final speaker was Amanda Purcell, municipal traffic engineer for the city, who presented the preliminary design for the South Side signals project.

The upcoming largely federally-funded 18th St. pedestrian safety project involves 18th St. and: Brownsville Rd., Bausman St., Amanda St., Hays Ave., Arlington Ave., Pius St., Mission St., Josephine St., Jane St., and Sarah St.

For Brownsville, Bausman, Amanda and Hays, the traffic signal upgrades include: gloss black signal poles; audible countdown pedestrian signals; and advanced left turn phase for Brownsville northbound.

There will be separate phases for Bausman and Hays.

There will also be six ADA ramps; and new pavement, signing and pavement markings, and lighting. The work will occur in the nighttime.

For S. 18th at Brownsville and Arlington, the traffic signal upgrades include: gloss black signal poles, and audible countdown pedestrian signals. There will be new pavement, signing and pavement markings, and lighting.

The work will occur in the nighttime.

The same upgrades will occur at S. 18th at Pius and Mission except there will also be five ADA ramps. The work will occur in the daytime.

At S. 18th and Josephine, S. 18th and Jane, and S. 18th and Sarah, there will be new traffic signals. There will also be gloss black signal poles and audible countdown pedestrian signals, and new pavement, signing and pavement markings, and lighting.

The work will occur in the daytime.

Each of those three sites will receive six to eight ADA ramps.

S. 18th and Jane and S. 18th and Sarah will also have curb extensions.

To attendees’ concerns about crossing walk signals, a Dept. of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) official will walk the crossing walks during rush hour to determine the best course of action before final plans are adopted.

The anticipated project schedule is to begin final design in winter, 2019; advertise and award contract, fall, 2020; begin construction, spring, 2021.

 

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