Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

N. Side Traffic Pattern to Change Long-Awaited Project to Affect Area around Old Allegheny Center

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

N. Side Traffic Pattern to Change Long-Awaited Project to Affect Area around Old Allegheny Center

Article excerpt

Pittsburgh officials are putting the final touches on plans to bring a little of East Liberty to the North Side: two-way traffic around the former Allegheny Center complex.

That is part of a three-phase project that includes plans to join East and West Ohio streets through the center of the complex, in front of the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and the New Hazlett Theater. The city is working with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to turn responsibility of the circle over to the city, which can treat the road as an urban street rather than as a highway.

The traffic pattern around the Allegheny Center complex is a slightly smaller version of the former Penn Circle in East Liberty, with up to four lanes traffic flowing one way counter-clockwise around the complex from Federal Street. Pat Hassett, deputy public works director, said Friday the city will change that to one lane of traffic in each direction, plus bike lanes and sidewalk improvements, beginning next spring. The same amount of parking will be maintained.

Mr. Hassett and project manager Emily Gaspich said changing Allegheny Center traffic has been under consideration for years, but a development spurt in East Liberty caused the city to change Penn Circle first, beginning in 2012. Now, with Faros Properties taking over the former 1.2-million-square-foot Allegheny Center Mall complex to develop a technology hub known as Nova Place, it's time for the North Side project to move ahead.

"We've seen what [the new traffic pattern] did in East Liberty," Mr. Hassett said. "It's really had a positive impact there. The [North Side] community has been after us for years to do this. The opportunity before us today is to move ahead with Nova moving in there."

The ultimate goal, Mr. Hassett said, is to make the area "more of an urban street pattern" that's easier for pedestrians to use rather than the "four-lane expressway" there now.

Councilwoman Darlene Harris, whose district includes the former mall, said two-way traffic around the center "is something the neighborhood has wanted" since she took office in 2006. Faros couldn't be reached for comment, but Ms. …

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