Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Group Seeks to Lure Newcomers to Live in City, Not Suburbs

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Group Seeks to Lure Newcomers to Live in City, Not Suburbs

Article excerpt

An estimated 100,000 people are expected to move to the Pittsburgh area in the next 25 years, and national patterns indicate 70 percent will settle in the suburbs.

An effort is under way to reverse that proportion and, as part of the city's first master-planning process, local planners, consultants and the public are hashing out a transportation framework to do that.

The population growth estimate by the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission presents the city with an opportunity to capture development by making strong connections for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit passengers and drivers -- with an emphasis away from the car, transportation consultant Paul Moore of the firm AECOM said last week at a public meeting in Allegheny Center on the North Side.

Transportation is the third of 12 components in the city's 25- year plan. The planning department is steering the process. The plan as it progresses can be studied on the website, planpgh.com, where schedules of public meetings are posted.

City planners have led five sessions to get public feedback on transportation issues on the North Side, North Shore and West End valley, combined with the Green Boulevard Study, an independent plan for the Strip District and Lawrenceville.

Three more series will address other parts of the city in May, July and August.

Planners and consultants from Alta Planning & Design planned to ride bicycles on streets and trails to note possibilities for hubs and links and to cite connective gaps.

Patrick Roberts, the city's transportation planner, said the plan will be about options and will require tradeoffs.

"Can we take a lane away from cars to weave in smaller, more efficient modes? Can a trail be a better conveyance than a road in some places? If everything is as safe as rail trails, the number of people riding bikes will grow," he said.

"All cities need an integrated network for bikes just as they have for cars," Phil Goff, who manages Alta's Boston office, said. …

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