Community Issues

Construction Set to Begin to Improve Pedestrian Safety

The South Side area of Pittsburgh is going to undergo a major face lift in the interest of improving pedestrian safety.

The South Side area of Pittsburgh is going to undergo a major face lift in the interest of improving pedestrian safety. After years of planning, two major projects designed to make the street safer for daytime businesses and night life will move ahead beginning this month.

The first project by the city's Department of Mobility and Infrastructure is scheduled to begin on March 18th at a cost of about $3 million. Lower and pedestrian lights will be installed in the main business corridor between South 10th and South 25th streets. New sidewalk trees and flowering baskets will be be added on 17th and 25th streets.

Another project by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will repave the road between the Smithfield Street Bridge and South 33rd Street. The estimated $17 million project will include 11 new traffic signals, a reduction of the street-crossing distance at intersections from South Seventh to South 26th streets, and wider marked crosswalks throughout the area.

While these projects are intended to improve one of the most popular sections of Pittsburgh, this type of work may come with some side effects until it's completed. "I think as long as people work with the city and the state, things will work out and we'll get this done right," South Side Chamber of Commerce President Mark Bucklaw told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in response to the potential inconvenience these projects may cause. "Just be patient. At the end, we all feel this is going to serve the greater good," Bucklaw continued.

Emily Gaspich, one of the project coordinators, also explained to the PG why the project is concentrating on the 15 blocks in the middle of the business district. "We want that area well-lit whether the businesses close at night or not," she said. "We want to improve the safety in that area. Even the signal work [that PennDOT will do] is more about the pedestrian experience than the vehicles." These projects are expected to be completed by October 2019.

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