Between 2009 and 2013, the URA, with the assistance of a $1.5M Federal TIGER II Planning grant, developed a plan that would have extended the Penn Ave bike lanes before the Penn Ave bike lanes even existed.
Launched to much fanfare, the Allegheny Riverfront Green Boulevard (ARGB) was an ambitious proposal that would have created a 6.5-mile long transportation-oriented trail from the Convention Center, to the City limits near the Pittsburgh Zoo, transforming the southern bank of the Allegheny. Additionally, this game-changing plan included a vision for commuter rail and stations, new riverfront open space, habitat and ecological enhancements, and riverbank stabilization along the corridor.
While there were a lot of moving pieces, the most feasible component of the plan was the trail. The trail was to use a series of public, private and railroad land to connect from Downtown Pittsburgh to Highland Park. However, five years later, none of these segments have moved forward.
In the meantime, the Strip District and Lawrenceville has experienced an explosion of development that has brought with it thousands of new residential and office units. Yet despite these neighborhoods seeing some of the City’s largest increases in people, and their autos, very little has been done to manage this additional traffic pressure and make sure that walking, biking and transit are a convenient and safe. Every day, many of these neighborhood’s streets are at a standstill, compounded with the addition of Autonomous Vehicle testing. It’s not surprising that residents embraced an idea that would allow them to get in and out of their neighborhood without needing to drive.
So what happened?
In 2016, there was a new proposal to create a linear park in the Strip District to support the new developments, but there was no mention of the ARGB.
Additionally, City Council is about to vote on the Riverfront Zoning Amendment, which would take the spirit of the ARGB and apply it to all riverfronts.
While both of these have value, it still doesn’t get to the core of the simplest part of the plan that everyone was so excited about – a trail connecting Downtown, the Strip District, Lawrenceville, and the Pittsburgh Zoo.
Bringing us back to our Extend Penn campaign
The Allegheny River Green Boulevard plan aligns nicely with our vision to extend the Penn Ave bike lanes into the surrounding neighborhoods. Since the bike lanes were installed in 2014, City officials claimed it will never reach its full potential until it’s connected to the places where more people live.
The Allegheny Riverfront Green Boulevard is just one option of many to extend the Penn Ave bike lanes and safely connect the eastern neighborhoods to the Penn Ave Bike Lane. Maybe it’s time to resurrect this $1.3M plan and #ExtendPenn.
We’re trying to reach 2,000 signatures on our #ExtendPenn Campaign by July 31! Add your name today!
We’re keeping track of your experiences sharing the road with Autonomous Vehicles. If you have biking or walking experience with an AV that you’d like to share, either positive or negative, please fill out our Submit Autonomous Vehicle Experience (SAVE) Form.