First protected bike lanes due by Labor Day
In March, Boulder-based nonprofit PeopleForBikes selected Pittsburgh to participate in its Green Lane Project, netting the city $250,000 for two years of bicycle-centric improvement assistance.

Thursday, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announced that the first dividends of the Green Lane Project will be arriving sooner rather than later. The city will build the first three in a series of protected bike lanes by Labor Day.

The two-way, protected lanes will run along Saline Street between Greenfield Avenue and Swineburne Street, from Schenley Plaza in Oakland to the Anderson Playground in Schenley Park and on a segment of Penn Avenue Downtown, which will make the street available to cars on an inbound-only direction.

The city is working with Portland-based Alta Planning and Design, the nation’s leading bike/pedestrian planning firm, to design the first of these upgrades. This phase of the Green Lane Project will cost the city $188,000 in capital funding and about 40 parking spaces. Preliminary plans for the three lanes have been posted to the city’s website.

“This is the type of infrastructure people are calling for,” Scott Bricker, executive director of Bike Pittsburgh, said at the mayor’s press conference.

Further improvements are also on the way, including a bicycle-sharing program which Bike Pittsburgh and the city hope to launch by next April.

On a related note…
Bike Pittsburgh will host the city’s first-ever Open Streets event on Sunday, July 20 in Downtown, between Market Square and the Roberto Clemente Bridge from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Open Streets events, which are already taking place across the country, close streets to automobile traffic for several hours and allow people to bike, walk and socialize.

Visit Bike Pittsburgh’s Open Streets event page for more details.

State budget won’t kill NAP
Good news: House Bill 2188, which threatened to eliminate the Neighborhood Assistance Program after passing in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives last week, died in the State Senate just prior to the holiday weekend and isn’t a part of the state budget awaiting Governor Tom Corbett’s approval.

Larimer selected for Choice Neighborhoods program
Almost exactly a year after District 9 City Councilman Ricky Burgess introduced a measure calling for Pittsburgh to apply for a $30 million federal grant to overhaul housing in the city’s Larimer neighborhood, a bit of good news arrived.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development selected Pittsburgh’s application as one of four from a pool of 43 applicants. Columbus, Ohio, Norwalk, Conn. And Philadelphia were also selected.

Though some in city and county government were skeptical of Pittsburgh’s chances at winning the Choice Neighborhoods grant, HUD awarded Pittsburgh the entirety of the amount it requested.

In accordance with the proposal, the city will spend $12 million over the next five years on the effort and the Pittsburgh Housing Authority will kick in an additional $16.5 million. The money will go toward building 350 new mixed-income housing units and a slew of other mixed-income developments.

Peduto says the grant will be leveraged into more than $400 million in local investment and calls it “the beginning of the greenest housing development to be built in the United States,”

According to Malik Bankston, executive director of the Kingsley Association, the program is about building a future for everyone.

“Choice represents one aspect of the work that needs to be done,” he says. “Equally important are investments in the people.”

“The closer it aligns with the Larimer Vision Plan, the more successful I think that money will be spent,” says Craig Marcus, owner of long-time Larimer-based business Marcus Studio.

Matthew Wein

Matthew Wein is a local writer, editor, blogger, storyteller and proud native Pittsburgher. Once described as "a man of things," he covers city design, spirits and craft beer for NEXT, where he keeps all of the editorial meetings light-hearted and interesting. His interests include sorting books, looking at old things and candles which smell like old-growth pine forests.