With bikeshare launching in Philadelphia next year, Mayor Nutter is taking significant steps toward boosting cycling throughout the city. NewsWorks reported that the mayor recently signed an executive order to create the Philadelphia Bicycle Advocacy Board, which will advise him on implementing smart bike policy. This would include "[fostering] volunteer efforts that promote cycling and maintain cycling trails; encourage private sector support of cycling, especially among Philadelphia employers; and promote national and international races in Philadelphia to attract the most elite cyclists to compete in the city." Despite joining the bikeshare game pretty late, Philly routinely ranks as one of the country's most bike-friendly cities. AN recently reported that out of 70 large cities in America, Philadelphia has the 10th highest percentage of residents that commute by bike. Right behind Philadelphia is another Pennsylvania city, Pittsburgh, which is experiencing nothing short of a surge in bike commuting. Using Census Bureau data, the League of American Bicyclists found that bike commuting in the Steel City grew over 400 percent between 2000 and 2013. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto wants to build on this, and has made increasing bicycle infrastructure one of his major priorities. "We got into the game late," he recently told Streetsblog, "we did our first three [protected bike lanes] in six months, though. And we're looking to do the first five miles in two years." These new lanes, he added, will become part of a "highway system for bikes." With this new infrastructure, and the city's impending launch of a bikeshare program, Peduto said Pittsburgh will "leapfrog" other cities when it comes to bicycling and livability. "We're not going to be able to settle at just being able to play catchup, we want to catch up and then go ahead," he said. Game on.
Posts tagged with "Pittsburgh":
After five years and $10 million, Pittsburgh’s Mellon Square has been returned to its mid-century splendor. Dedicated in 1955, the Square served as a modern, green oasis in a city choked by pollution. But only a few decades after opening, the modern masterpiece had fallen into disrepair, its former glory hidden by cracked pavement, broken fountains, pigeons, and empty planters. As Pittsburgh has transformed itself in recent years, so to has Mellon Square. Now, the reborn space is yet another example of the Steel City's promising future. The park's original design is the work of Mitchell & Ritchey and Simonds & Simonds who created a conspicuously geometric space with prominent fountains, planters, benches, and triangle-patterned concrete. According to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Mellon Square is the first park in America to be built on top of a parking garage. According to the ASLA's Dirt blog, “the intensive, compact Mellon Square design was layered, with three-dimensionally nested planes unfolding to a serene interior of skydome, sunlight, shimmering water, and native forest plants.” In 2008, the American Planning Association named Mellon Square one of its “great spaces.” At the time, though, the park was a dingy version of its former self. “Mellon Square had started to feel a little seedy and maybe even a little unsafe,” said the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in a video about the space. The renovation, led by Patricia O’Donnell of Heritage Landscapes, changed that. The pavement and fountains were restored, granite walls were cleaned and repointed, thousands of plantings were added, new lighting was installed, and a new terrace was created to expand the square's usable space by 15 percent. To keep the park from falling back into disrepair, $4 million has been secured to cover maintenance and upkeep costs. Above, the Pittsburgh Park Conservancy's video on the history and restoration of Mellon Square.
From its streets to its rivers to its skyline, Pittsburgh is a city in transformation. The Steel City is diversifying its economy, improving its streetscape and becoming a new hub for the creative class. Business Insider has even declared Pittsburgh to be “The Next Hipster Haven." But the transformation has meant more than coffee shops, bike-share, and startups—even though that’s certainly playing a part. As the city changes, though, it’s too easy to ask if Pittsburgh is the “Next [Enter City Here].” Because the “Next Pittsburgh” will not be the “Next Austin,” or even the “Next Portland.” It's shaping up to be something entirely it’s own. Simply put, "The Next Pittsburgh" will be just that. 1. The Tower at PNC Plaza Pittsburgh’s skyline will change dramatically next year as the new 32-story Tower at PNC Plaza marks its place. The financial services company is calling their new Gensler-designed headquarters “the world’s greenest skyrise.” While that’s a bold claim, the glass tower will have a lot more than the typical green fixings. It is expected to surpass LEED Platinum status with its massive solar collector on the roof and a double-skin facade that opens and closes according to the temperature. Also, there will be green roofs, because, obviously. 2. Market Square Installation Following a major renovation in 2010, the city’s Market Square recently unveiled a temporary, public art installation called Congregation. The work is described as “an interactive kinetic video and sound installation designed and choreographed for pedestrian performers.” Essentially, the installation turned the public space into a dynamic public stage. And best of all, it was completely free and open to all ages. While Congregation recently closed, it is part of a new three-year initiative to bring art to the city during those cold, winter months. 3. Produce Terminal Significant changes could be in store for Pittsburgh’s old produce terminal in the city’s vibrant Strip District. What those changes will look like, though, isn’t clear just yet. A local developer had planned to renovate two-thirds of the 1,500-foot-long structure and demolish the rest to make way for residential and office space, but the city has put that plan on hold. Mayor Bill Peduto is intent on preserving and reusing the entire building with possible uses including shopping, retail, and arts space. 4. The Allegheny Riverfront Green Boulevard The Produce Terminal is adjacent to the much larger Riverfront Landing residential and office project, which is part of the much, much larger Allegheny Riverfront Green Boulevard plan. The latter aims to transform six miles of industrial land into new riverfront parks and mixed-use development. The ambitious proposal was conceived five years ago by the city, the Urban Redevelopment Authority and Riverlife—a public-private partnership that advocates for riverfront parks. While it is still in the planning process, it was envisioned by Sasaki Associates for a study last year. Their proposed master plan includes new development, green space, bike paths, and converting an old railway into a commuter train. 5. Point State Park After a multi-year, multi-million dollar overhaul, Point State Park is once again entirely worthy of its iconic location. Situated right where the Monongahela River meets the Allegheny to form the Ohio River, the refurbished 36-acre park boasts new lawns, landscaping, seating, a café, and improved access to the water. Capping off the renovation, which was led by Marion Pressley Associates, is the park’s revamped fountain—which has been described as its “crown jewel.” The fountain now has a “disappearing edge waterfall feature, new lighting including colors for special events, all new surfaces, pumping equipment, and controls.” Of course, Point State Park is an impressive public space in its own right, but it’s only a portion of the city’s 13-miles of riverfront parks and trails. 6. Eastside III The city recently broke ground on Eastside III, a transit-oriented, mixed-use development in the city’s East Liberty neighborhood. The phased project will consist of three buildings, the first of which is expected to open next spring. The mixed-use project—designed by Design Collective—is being built alongside a revamped multi-modal transit hub by CDM Smith. The hub will be able to accommodate 1,000 daily bus arrivals and departures, and is expected to increase connections between neighborhoods. The new transit plaza includes "a repurposed bus ramp and a new cap over the railroad and busway." 7. Bike Share Later this year, Pittsburgh will join the ranks of cities like New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. when it launches its own bike-share program. While details on the program are limited, the program is slated to roll-out this summer with about 500 bikes at 50 stations. The goal is to ultimately expand the program to 1,000 to 1,500 bikes at 100 to 150 stations. The big question, of course, is what will the system be called. The name is still under wraps, but it will have a corporate sponsor. So, place your bets now people. 8. TalkPGH While Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers are the biggest names in late-night these days, the most unique talk-show in the country was recently driving through the streets of Pittsburgh. Last Spring, Talk PGH—a talk-show that took place inside of a truck, yes inside of a truck—appeared in all of Pittsburgh’s 90 neighborhoods. As part of PLANPGH, the city’s 25-year agenda for growth, the show was a way for the city to interview residents and hear their hopes for Pittsburgh's urban design. 9. Carnegie Mellon's Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall Carnegie Mellon’s already impressive campus will become even more so when the Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall—or "Scott Hall" as it's known locally—opens next year. The 100,000-square-foot building, designed by Office 52 and Stantec, will contain laboratories, libraries, office space, and a café. It will also house a cleanroom facility, “which will become the new home for Nano Fabrication, the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.” 10. The Car-Free Road Pittsburgh just one-upped every city priding themselves on their modest, new bike infrastructure. When faced with a dangerous road that put cyclists at risk, the city didn’t just add new protected bike lanes, they shut down part of a roadway from cars entirely. Now, the section of Pocusset Street, which winds through a city park is reserved exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists. According to Bike Pittsburgh, the Department of Public Works “repainted it with bi-directional bike-lanes, designated pedestrian walkways, included LED street lighting, and installed reflective bollards to block traffic from entering at either end.” 11. Ace Hotel And rounding out the list is, of course, a new Ace Hotel. While the Steel City will likely not become “The Next Portland”—an idea raised by both Pacific Standard and The Washington Post—the city will certainly move in Stumptown's direction when the exhaustingly trendy hotel opens in Pittsburgh next year. The 36-room Ace will be housed in a former YMCA building in the city’s East Liberty neighborhood. There are currently no renderings of the project, but one can expect plenty of Edison bulbs, murals, and some inexplicable, giant, vintage letters.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is reportedly considering a plan to boost capacity at Soldier Field, the city’s football stadium, in a bid to host the Super Bowl. But as the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin laid out in a story Sunday, the play is a Hail Mary. Indianapolis’ new Lucas Oil Stadium, designed by HKS' Bryan Trubey [read AN’s Q+A with Trubey here], hosted the Super Bowl in 2012. Indy has also hosted the NCAA Final Four and the Big Ten football championship. The stadium, which holds 70,000 people under its retractable roof, has spurred nearby development and solidified Indianapolis’ position as a Midwest sports Mecca. The ability to seat 70,000 fans is considered a prerequisite for hosting the Super Bowl, so Soldier Field’s capacity of 61,500 falls short. Soldier Field is currently the smallest stadium in the NFL. But an additional 5,000 would still make the home of the Chicago Bears a tight squeeze for spectators of the country’s biggest sporting event. Emanuel told the Chicago Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman it’s also about other events:
“I know everybody looks at the Super Bowl. But, look at this hockey event [between the Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins], which we started last year with college hockey. You look at two years ago when we had the Mexican soccer team here. We have Liverpool coming. These things not only sell out. They sell out fast. And it’s clear that you could do more, given these super events and they would be self-financing and self-sustaining.”Dirk Lohan, who led the master plan for the stadium’s expansion, told Kamin he’s not optimistic about the preliminary expansion plans. He said the original renovations had to balance capacity and preservation, leading to a design whose structural system could not be updated today without considerable expenses. [Read AN’s Q+A with Dirk Lohan in the upcoming March issue of the Midwest edition.] Architects Benjamin Wood and Carlos Zapata modernized 1920s-era Soldier Field in 2003, but the Bears’ desire to add more seating lost out to the city’s imperative to preserve Soldier Field’s historic colonnades. The $690 million renovation lost its National Historic Landmark status anyway in 2006. It’s unclear who’s studying the possible expansion for the Mayor, but whoever reviews the plan may have to lock heads with public scrutiny as intense as the stadium’s design challenges.
A list of over 100 cities has been whittled down to six. PeopleForBikes has announced the latest cities that will be the focus of the 2014 iteration of the Green Lane Project, an initiative that promotes urban bike infrastructure. The decision means that beginning in April, Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, and Seattle will all be on the receiving end of expert assistance, training and support in efforts to become increasingly bike-friendly. The project's director Martha Roskowski said that all the selected cities demonstrated "ambitious goals and a vision for bicycling supported by their elected officials and communities." Pittsburgh and Seattle's inclusion comes as each takes steps towards establishing bike share programs within their borders. Boston is already in possession of such a system. A major focus of the Green Lane initiative is to increase the number of protected bike lanes, and Seattle, Indianapolis, and Atlanta are already in possession of lanes included in PeopleForBikes' Best Of List for 2013. Since the program was launched in 2012, the number of such lanes within the US has nearly doubled, rising from 80 to 142. Half of this growth can be found in the Green Lane Project's six original focus cities: Austin, Chicago, Memphis, Portland, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. [Via Streetsblog USA.]
Pittsburgh’s new mayor took office this week, and with him comes a cabinet division dedicated to neighborhood development. The Steel City has largely scrubbed its image as an ailing post-industrial town in recent years, drawing in new artists and young professionals, but the revival has not touched all parts of the city equally. Some urbanists have pinned their hopes of remedying that on incoming Mayor Bill Peduto. During his victory speech on November 5, Peduto contrasted himself with his predecessor, Luke Ravenstahl, who saw “Pittsburgh’s Third Renaissance” in large developments like stadiums and convention centers. "Tonight, we end the era of renaissance. There is not going to be a Renaissance Four," he said that night. "It's about building within, rebuilding the neighborhoods." He tapped Valerie McDonald-Roberts to serve as the Chief of Urban Affairs, who will work with the city’s expanded planning department, non-profits and others to oversee the city’s housing initiatives, “with a particular focus on underserved neighborhoods,” according to her profile on the city's website. Kevin Acklin, the mayor’s chief of staff, will also oversee development and city infrastructure as Pittsburgh’s chief development officer. Peduto has also advocated improving bike infrastructure. Whether Peduto can realize his vision for a more equal Pittsburgh, with economic development beyond its resurgent downtown, remains to be seen. As the Post-Gazette reported, Peduto faces a capital budget largely depleted by his predecessor:
Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle believes working within the city's financial constraints will be the biggest obstacle to Mr. Peduto implementing his vision. "It's one thing to be visionary, [but] once you've sort of hit the ground you've got to govern," he said. "You've got to make the hard choices."
Fourth and fifth-year landscape architecture students at Penn State's College of Art and Architecture recently presented their proposals for reshaping a Pittsburgh neighborhood. The twelve participants in the school's Pittsburgh Studio spent most of the semester focusing on Hazelwood, a neighborhood set to host a new site for a historic branch of the city's Carnegie Library. At an exhibition in a local church, the Studio exhibited the projects to the community members they had designed them for. Such interaction between students and residents is characteristic of a program that fosters engagement between the two groups along every step of the creative process. Removing students from the vacuum of an classroom setting and placing them in the sites of their prospective designs brings additional weight to the work they generate. Says participant Aaron Ramos, “Once you meet these people, you connect and grow relationships with them and you feel responsible for what you design...I take more ownership with what I present to them and they take ownership, too.” The Studio is a collaboration between the College of Arts and Architecture and the Penn State Center, a branch of the school that enables broader engagement between the School and the city of Pittsburgh. The program, now in its 6th year, will culminate in a tangible impact on Hazelwood. City councilman Corey O' Conner says that $10,000 has been set aside to allow for the implementation of one of the yet-to-be chosen student designs.
With only one month remaining before Facades+ PERFORMANCE opens in Chicago, our exciting lineup of the industry’s leading innovators is gearing up for an electrifying array of symposia, panels, and workshops. Be there for this groundbreaking, two-day convergence of design and construction professionals, presented by AN and Enclos, coming to Chicago, October 24-25th. Join Chris O’Hara, founding Principal of Boulder-based Studio NYL, for his day-one symposium, “Ludicrous Speed: the Design and Delivery of Non-traditional Facades on a Fast Track,” and learn first-hand from the experts the technologies and fabrication techniques that are revolutionizing the next generation of high performance facades. Register today to redefine performance for 21st century architecture, only at Facades+ PERFORMANCE. After graduating with a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Notre Dame, Chris O’Hara began his career in New York with M.G. McLaren Consulting Engineers, where he was confronted with a host of unique structural engineering projects, from amusement park rides to New York’s Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History with Ennead Architects. Things really got going for O’Hara when he joined up with London-based Dewhurst Macfarlane Partners and began to work closely with visionary architect Rafael Viñoly. Leading high-profile projects like Viñoly’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburg and the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, O’Hara developed innovative structural solutions that allowed for the pioneering architect to exercise the breadth of his architectural expression. In 2004 O’Hara relocated to Boulder, Colorado to launch his structural engineering firm, Studio NYL, who have since become renowned for their diligent application of emerging technologies and inventive structural solutions. Their adventurous, detail-oriented work has drawn the attention progressive architects, both local and global, while O’Hara’s integration of multiple design software programs and use of complex geometries made him a literal poster-boy for Autodesk. In his daily practice, O’Hara oversees the use of BIM and other advanced analytic technologies and leads the design of innovative forms in BIM, REVIT, and direct-to-fabrication CAD/CAM softwares. Collaborating with fellow Facades+ presenters Rojkind Arquitectos, O’Hara has pushed the boundaries of structure and design on pioneering projects like the aluminum and glass enclosure of the Cineteca National and the digitally fabricated metal skin of Liverpool Flagship store in Mexico City. Designed and built in little over a year, the Liverpool Flagship store is a stunning product of international collaboration, technological instigation, and fast-paced delivery. Studio NYL lead the design for the structural elements of the atrium, rooftop park and pavilions, skylight, and stainless-steel facade for the 30,000 square meter shopping center. Using BIM software to coordinate the work of multiple trades on complex geometries, Studio NYL and Rojkind Arquitectos constructed the fluid folds and fine reliefs of the shopping center’s sound-blocking double-layer facade. Learn more about the secrets to delivering innovative, high-performance building envelopes on a tight schedule as O’Hara presents a series of dynamic new projects in his afternoon symposia, and don’t miss out as frequent-collaborator Gerardo Salinas, principal of Rojkind Arquitectos, presents his exciting keynote address earlier that day! Register now to cash in on our Early Bird Special, and check out the rest of the groundbreaking schedule of events at the full Facades+ PERFORMANCE site. See you in Chicago!
[ Editor's Note: Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture Center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect’s Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles. As the P2P team gears up for its triumphant arrival in Manhattan on Sunday (June 30th) having completed the U.S. leg of the trip, Peter Murray looks back at some of the highlights of the last week’s riding. ] One of the delights of cycling across the States has been to experience cities whose names were familiar to me but whose contemporary characteristics and qualities were a void. I am ashamed to admit that when first researching our route through Pittsburgh my main ideas of the city were influenced by scenes of Pennsylvania’s shrinking steel industry from Michael Cimino’s 1978 film The Deerhunter. Instead, I found that Pittsburgh is "the regeneration capital of the U.S.," eds and meds have replaced steel and it has a fast-improving bicycle infrastructure. Much of the credit for this last piece of progress must go to the energy of Scott Bricker and Lou Fineberg who founded Bike Pittsburgh just over a decade ago. The city still has a long way to go but it has bike lanes and riverside trails and it is highly probable that the next Mayor will be the Democrat Bill Peduto, who is a strong supporter of better biking. Of buildings in the city, we much enjoyed H. H. Richardson’s powerful Allegheny Courthouse and Jail with its rough stone masonry and Romanesque detailing. Columbus, Ohio was another city I knew little about and often confused for Columbus, Indiana. We managed to find Peter Eisenman’s seminal decon Wexner Centre with its crashing grids, iconic plan, and instantly recognizable "chess piece" turrets. Passing Eisenman’s new convention center in the city, one gets the impression that he is more comfortable working at the smaller scale of the art gallery rather than the multiblock behemoth of the convention center. I left the ride for a few days to fulfill a speaking engagement in London and planned to rejoin the cyclists in Cincinnati and flew to Indianapolis confident that I could take the train to Cincinnati. However it turned out that they only run three times a week! The consequences of—to a European eye—the States' appalling underinvestment in rail transport can be seen in the striking Cincinnati Union Terminal. A giant juke box of a building designed by Alfred Fellheimer and completed in 1933. It has largely been taken over, perhaps appropriately, by an exhibition about dinosaurs, with one small side platform allocated to the trains. Zaha Hadid’s Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati is (for her) a restrained building which sits happily in the city block, although internally rather too much has been squeezed into too small a space. Michael Graves’s Engineering Center over at the University of Cincinnati was very grand, and I was surprised to hear later that Bernard Tschumi had designed one of the sports building which I had passed by without realising it had such a pedigree. We cycled round the Over-the-Rhine district, scene of the 2001 riots and now an area of major regeneration which reminded us of similar areas in London like Shoreditch and Spitalfields. Indianapolis has also gone through major regeneration in recent years, it has a vibrant downtown area, new convention center and the massive Lucas Oil Stadium designed by HKS with a brick facade that dominates the city. The architects used bricks to relate to the historic core but there was little they could do about the size of the building. The piece of design that most attracted us as cyclists was the the landscaping and bicycle paths. These have been designed to reflect their relationship with the city rather than selected from the stabdard traffic engineer’s catalogue. I struggle in each of these cities with the number of car parking sites which leave huge gaps in the urban fabric and destroy any feeling of place. In Cincinnati this has been ameliorated by a program of murals on blank walls, but maybe as more people take to bicycles and demand for car parking space reductions they will be developed to form a coherent part of the city.
Is Anthony Weiner two-timing New York City? If you looked at the mayoral candidate’s website in late May, you might wonder whether he wants to lead parades in the Big Apple or the City of Steel. Perspicacious political reporter Michael Barbaro of the New York Post discovered that a backdrop image on Weiner’s website was not a view from Brooklyn across the East River, as it may seem on first glance, but rather a shot from the Robert Clemente Bridge leading into downtown Pittsburgh. Oops.
The Rockefeller Foundation has announced that four cities will receive a combined $1.2 million in grants to foster research, communications, and community outreach efforts in an endeavor to educate local stakeholders about the advantages of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems. The Foundation’s solution to “Transform Cities” and promote fiscal growth and quality of life proposes better mass transit investments. Boston, Chicago, Nashville, and Pittsburgh will participate in the project. The high performance mass transit system, referred to as BRT, offers much of the permanence and speed of a rail system in addition to the flexibility of bus systems for a smaller investment in initial infrastructure costs. BRT systems operate high-capacity vehicles that rely on dedicated lanes and elevated platforms to deliver efficient service. For years, the Rockefeller Foundation has supported Chicago’s attempts to build a city-wide BRT. With the grant, the city could potentially assemble and operate the first gold-standard BRT in the country. Currently, Cleveland operates the nation's highest-ranked BRT system at the ITDP's Silver designation. Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County Port Authority’s Transit Development plan recommends a BRT system to link downtown to its Oakland areas. At least forty stakeholder companies are working together to consider BRT system options for Pittsburgh. A projected BRT system in Nashville would run directly through the city’s downtown hub, although the project remains in the planning stage. In Boston, transportation supporters and state officials are currently considering a BRT system amid alternative transit modernization enterprises. The Rockefeller Foundation selected public affairs firm Global Strategy Group to handle the grant by teaming up with local partner organizations in each city. For the past three years, the Foundation has made over $6 million available to encourage the expansion of BRT.
As part of the city’s first ever 25-year development plan, PLANPGH, Pittsburgh is taking a cue from Boston and rolling out a mobile talk show truck to hear what residents of each of the city’s 90 neighborhoods have to say about public art and urban design. TALKPGH will be cruising throughout the city on the glass-walled back of a box truck through April 20th as a public outreach effort from ARTPGH and DESIGNPGH, the public art and urban design branches of PLANPGH. The concerns and opinions voiced on the talk show will be taken into consideration during the creation of Pittsburgh’s first design manual, which will guide the city’s growth over the next 25 years. Public art and urban design will be key components of the plan, and as Morton Brown, the city’s manager of public art told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, officials are dedicated to making sure there will be room in the budget for high-quality art and design "in all city projects, from bridges to senior centers to pools… We want to raise the bar on public and private property. We’ve gathered every community design plan that has ever been done in neighborhoods, to pick the ‘greatest hits’ of each and to educate people on best practice models." With opportunities for growth throughout the city, TALKPGH gives residents an opportunity to raise awareness of their own neighborhoods, and bring their own local concerns to the forefront of planning discussions. If you live in Pittsburgh and want to have your voice heard or know someone who does, check here to see when TALKPGH is coming to your neighborhood and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-408-800-3176 to become an interviewee or a neighborhood liaison.