Abandoned road behind Bakery Square to become one of Pittsburgh’s only public ‘living’ streets

PITTSBURGH — County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Mayor William Peduto announced plans to transform an abandoned road behind Bakery Square into one of the city’s only public ‘living’ streets.

Called Dahlem Place, the 1.5 mile road that once served the historic Pennsylvania Railroad will soon provide a two-way multimodal access point for Larimer and Homewood residents to safely walk, bike or drive to Mellon Park, Bakery Square, and other East End community amenities.

PHOTOS: Abandoned road behind Bakery Square to become one of Pittsburgh’s only public ‘living’ streets

“Cyclists and pedestrians that live in underserved neighborhoods deserve safer, more equitable access to the East Ends’ commercial corridors,” said Peduto. “This public-private partnership transforms a listless, unused driveway into a beautified community amenity. Residents gain a safe, inviting and eco-friendly pathway to one of the City’s top economic destinations.”

The $4 million project, known as the Larimer-Homewood Multimodal Greenway Extension, will be lined with rain gardens and a meadow landscaped with native plants, absorbing all stormwater. The street was developed with input from the city’s Bike (+) Plan, the Larimer Vision Plan, the Larimer/East Liberty Choice Neighborhood Plan and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. It includes an eight-foot-wide wide protected two-way bicycle lane and a six-foot-wide pedestrian sidewalk.

The project is funded in part by Bakery Square’s participation in the East Liberty TRID Phase II and a state multi-modal transportation grant supported by State Senators Jay Costa and Lindsey Williams and State Representatives Jake Wheatley, Mayor-Elect Ed Gainey, and Austin Davis.

“This isn’t just any road. This road will be a bridge that connects communities with assets that improve residents’ quality of life. This project represents the kind of positive movement that can take place when the public and private sectors work together alongside community goals to help transform neighborhoods,” said Fitzgerald.

It’s anticipated that the road will reduce traffic volumes in the congested Penn Avenue corridor.  Other connectivity efforts are underway, including a pedestrian and bike land bridge that unifies the community of Larimer by bridging the busway and railroad tracks.  This 30-foot wide bridge will connect Hamilton Avenue to Bakery Square and Penn Avenue.

“Right now, there’s no safe way for children and families to walk to Bakery Square or Mellon Park and that needs to change. This project represents the first major infrastructure investment to help revitalize Larimer north of the railroad tracks and is a top community priority,” said Gregg Perelman, Walnut Capital’s co-founding CEO. The neighborhood developer recently “refreshed” Bakery Square’s public square outfitted with neighborhood public art and announced their ‘Grow With Walnut’ charitable initiative that promotes wealth generation for underprivileged families.

Phase I of the project is expected to break ground this spring. The other city’s ‘living’ road is at Bakery Square, called Living Place.