Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Haberman Link Seems like the Right Path for Hilltop

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Haberman Link Seems like the Right Path for Hilltop

Article excerpt

When people unfamiliar with Pittsburgh ask me why I love it so much, I struggle with words because it is such a visceral feeling.

Words that apply to any number of places apply to Pittsburgh: fun, quirky, beautiful at times and in places, authentic, culturally rich, and historically and geographically interesting.

In service to the latter, I have chosen for today's topic an example of our city's quintessential quirkiness: Haberman Avenue.

Fragments of street and sketchy footpaths take turns being Haberman, steeply up and steeply down, from Bailey Avenue in Mount Washington to McKinley Park in Beltzhoover. It doglegs, narrows, disappears into weeds and woods and becomes what looks like a sidewalk here, a country lane there.

Monday, I met Aaron Sukenik, one of my go-to people in the city's Hilltop neighborhoods, to walk the southernmost segment with me. He is executive director of the Hilltop Alliance, an Allentown-based nonprofit that advocates for a cluster of neighborhoods.

We started up a sloping Haberman off Michigan Street at McKinley Park. At Chalfont, we waded through a thicket of grass and trees.

On Sylvania Street, we met a man named Eddie who remembered when you could keep walking up Haberman; the Haberman Street sign there points to a hillside that is so weedy, we instead scampered up the lawn behind the old Beltzhoover Elementary property and rejoined Haberman at Palmetto Way. We had to walk through weeds to emerge on Cedarhurst Street via a set of brick steps.

Along the way, we dodged hanging tree branches and waist-high weeds and noted bricks that suggested this was once a legitimate walkway.

When we emerged onto Warrington Avenue, it was as if we had climbed out of a parallel universe.

The Hilltop Alliance is working on a multi-level strategy to pull the Hilltop into the path of Pittsburgh's upward trajectory. Reducing blight is one of its heaviest challenges. It plans to unroll a housing stabilization strategy this fall. …

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