Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Uninterrupted Trail Access Is a Must, Strip District Residents Maintain

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Uninterrupted Trail Access Is a Must, Strip District Residents Maintain

Article excerpt

The sign on 25th Street read: "This way to the River!"

The next one said: "You're almost there!"

Then there it was, just over a steep and overgrown riverbank, an almost attraction that the organizers of Riverlife hope some day soon will require no prompts or encouragement.

The 20-year-old nonprofit hosted a "pop-up party" on Saturday to draw attention to and suggestions for that deteriorating stretch of the Allegheny River bank behind 25th and 26th streets. The comments, scribbled by dozens of Strip District residents and visitors, will be presented to developers in the coming weeks, said Stephan Bontrager, Riverlife's vice president of communications and outreach.

"Would love to be able to sit by the river right here!" one commenter wrote.

"Chairs! Comfortable to sit and read in," wrote another.

"A riverfront cafe/bar!"

The fevered pace of development in the Strip gives stakeholders good leverage to make their input count, Mr. Bontrager said.

"In every residential and office project," he said, "[developers] want to do their best" to attract tenants. Riverlife has capitalized on this momentum by getting the private developers to buy into the organization's vision.

The centerpiece of that vision is Three Rivers Park, a 13-mile stretch of public parks and trails along the waterfront from the Hot Metal Bridge on the Monongahela River to the Ohio River and up the Allegheny to the 31st Street Bridge.

The Strip District portion of the plan includes several gathering points linked by riverfront trails. It starts at a proposed plaza on 11th Street near the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. On 15th Street, the plan calls for a landing with a dining area and boat slips. An historic crane foundation jutting out from 21st Street would be an overlook. On 26th Street, the currently collapsing riverbank would be transformed into a multilevel area with access to the water. …

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