Pittsburgh Falls Short in Smart City Challenge Bid (But Our Future is Still Bright)


As reported by Paul J. Gough at the Pittsburgh Business Times:

Columbus, Ohio, will be awarded the $50 million Smart City Challenge public-private partnership funding on the transportation needs of the future, beating out Pittsburgh and five other cities for the coveted win.

Pittsburgh had been one of the few finalists among more than 100 cities to initially apply for the funding, which was offered by the U.S. Department of Transportation and boosted by $10 million from Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen.The news was reported by Columbus Business First, a sibling publication of the Pittsburgh Business Times. The DOT has yet to announce the award but said it was to happen sometime before the end of June.

Pittsburgh’s effort was led by Mayor Bill Peduto and his administration and June 9 Peduto was in Washington, D.C., along with the mayors of the other finalist cities, to make a final pitch for the Smart City Challenge funding.

Pittsburgh’s team had received a pledge of $11 million by Gov. Tom Wolf if the city wins. Pittsburgh gathered together a high-powered local group, SmartPGH Consortium, for the application.

Columbus and Pittsburgh were also up against San Francisco; Austin, Texas, Kansas City, Missouri; Portland, Oregon; and Denver.

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But the future is still bright for transportation development in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh may not be receiving a big boost of Federal funding this time around, but we are still incredibly optimistic for the future of equitable transportation in our city. Hundreds of people from dozens of neighborhood groups and community organizations have been pushing plans, campaigns and initiatives to improve access at the regional and neighborhood-level. BikePGH has been working closely with many of them underscoring the need to ensure safe transportation for those who bike and walk. We’re excited about two events we’re hosting in the next week to look specifically at how transportation intersects with equity and the development of an affordable city:


Please join us this Thursday, June 23rd, for our Business Meetup to look at Transportation and Affordable Development. 6:15-8:00pm at 2124 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

6:15 Networking

6:45 Presentations:

  • Matt Barron (Heinz Endowments) and Daniel Barret (Mayor Bill Peduto’s Office) will discuss lessons learned from Pittsburgh’s Smart Cities application and what elements of the SmartPGH plan can be implemented in the absence of federal funds.
  • Corey Layman (Department of City Planning) will present on how zoning and the forthcoming Complete Streets Policy will shape our neighborhoods
  • Linda Metropulos (ActionHousing & The Affordable Housing Task Force) will share how developers are working with all of these forces to build more affordable, bikeable, walkable neighborhoods


Thursday, June 30th, 6:30 at the Kingsley Center, 3465 Frankstown Road. Join us for a forum to connect transportation justice and social justice advocates and discuss current struggles for mobility and access.

Together we can work together to ensure that Pittsburgh has safe, equitable, and affordable transportation systems.

This forum is co-hosted by Bike Pittsburgh, Pittsburghers for Public Transit, and Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group (PCRG).

Refreshments will be served. RSVP via this Facebook Page.

Not a member of BikePGH? Join today! Bike Pittsburgh works to make our city a safer and more enjoyable place to live and to ride. For more info, check out: bikepgh.org/membership

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