311 Response (finally) about the walkway under the Convention Center

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ajbooth
Participant
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As per Public Works:

“The walkway along the water garden is closed for the winter season. This is private property.”


Pseudacris
Participant
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Hmm, it kind of came to light during Occupy Wall Street, and Occupy Pittsburgh that a lot of parklets that seem like public space actually aren’t, even if private property holders receive deep tax credits for making public-seeming green spaces. The problem is, they can be simply switched/closed off when the property owner sees fit. This is something it would behoove cycling advocates to be vigilant about when developers (buncher, walnut capital, etc) get tax deals and tenants based on promised trail connections and river/park access.


ajbooth
Participant
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That’s a great point. I was surprised to learn that it is private property. Even more so because it took the 311 response so long. I reported it on Nov 16, and got an almost immediate reply that said “We have notified the appropriate personnel about this issue.”


Pseudacris
Participant
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Well, it’s probably one of those in between spaces.

(partially privatized).


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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OK, so now what do we do? Short term, it would seem we want it reopened, but I haven’t any idea how to go about it.

Long term, what would need to happen to make this open permanently (or until there’s a Really Good Reason™ to close it, and then just temporarily)?


Pseudacris
Participant
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Perhaps a polite appeal (letter or petition with signatories) to the site owner?


Vannevar
Participant
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First, pragmatically, I wonder if this is about snow/ice removal. There’s barriers and signs up now at the SouthSideWorksRiverFrontPlaza explaining that the terraced walkway is closed for the winter. And this walkway is closed for the winter. Could it be that closing these descending concrete walkways in close proximity to the river improves Somebody’s situation in terms of injury liability and/or snow-ice removal expense?

Second, philosophically: Who owns the Convention Center? Because I’m pretty sure the taxpayers paid for it. I think it’s owned by a Government Authority, and I think the “This is private property.” is a misinformed, overworked clerk’s explanation. It’s probably what their boss told them to say.

From the website,

About Us

The Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County (SEA) owns the David L. Lawrence Convention Center as well as Heinz Field, PNC Park, the Mellon Arena, the North Shore Riverfront Park and the North Shore Parking Garage. The SEA partners with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, and VisitPittsburgh to make Pittsburgh a premier destination.

The SEA is not a private owner of private property, is it? From Wikipedia:

The Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County (also known as the Sports & Exhibition Authority or SEA) is a municipal authority that owns and operates public sports and entertainment venues in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and the City of Pittsburgh. (emphasis added)


ajbooth
Participant
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Earlier today I sent an e-mail to Mayor Luke’s office through the city web site, telling them I was not happy with the 311 answer. I’ll see what happens next.


ajbooth
Participant
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Update–it is open! I’m not sure if Mayor Luke stepped in, or why, but the path under the Convention Center is open again!


Marko82
Participant
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Wow! I hope this is a sign of enlightenment within the local government, or maybe they just needed barricades somewhere else and took these. Either way it’s good news.


cburch
Participant
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Yesterday the barricades were down but the lift gate was still parked in the path and there were no lights on. Be careful when you use this!


ajbooth
Participant
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Thanks for the clarification cburch; I should have mentioned that. It was in the same state this morning regarding the lift gate, but there were lights on. Still better than dodging the MegaBus crew and the cars above ground.


cburch
Participant
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Oh good hopefully they leav them on. I almost hit the lift gate swinging around to go up to penn too fast.


ajbooth
Participant
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Probably less of an issue for me this morning because I was coming down from Penn, and could see it well before I got there…plus I was screaming w-h-e-e-e-e-e-e-e! the whole way down.


ajbooth
Participant
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Even better…the lift gate was gone this morning, and all of the lights were on.


rachel_ding
Participant
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Awesome work Team Message Board! This was something that was bugging me as well, but I hadn’t done anything about it yet.

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