Better Streets Lawrenceville working to make streets safer for all

PITTSBURGH — People in Lawrenceville took over part of Butler Street on Friday afternoon to talk about street safety.

It was part of International Park(ing) Day, where people transform parking spaces into mini parks nationwide to advocate for change.

The intersection of Butler and 40th streets is a concern for many residents who told Channel 11 that, in recent years, pedestrians have almost been hit trying to cross, especially seniors, who may take longer to get across.

“I would love to see a walk signal all four ways on 40th and Butler Street. It is (a) very dangerous crosswalk to try to go over, especially if you’re in a stroller or a wheelchair,” said Erika Gidley, a mother of two girls who worries about their safety.

Mary Moses has lived in Lawrenceville for more than 60 years, most recently at Senior Plaza. Like many of her neighbors, she walks everywhere but has grown concerned about the condition of Lawrenceville’s sidewalks and streets.

“There’s all kinds of shops down here, with many places that people can go, but a lot of the seniors won’t come down here for that fact,” Moses said.

Walkability was one of several topics addressed on International Park(ing) Day as Lawrenceville community members gathered in that parking spot to share ideas. It’s part of a movement designed to reimagine streetscapes in downtowns everywhere.

The organization Better Streets Lawrenceville showed Channel 11 its Butler Streetscape Plan, focusing on a few different intersections throughout the neighborhood, including Butler and Main streets, making it safer for pedestrians to cross.

“We’re advocating for a couple little bump outs on each side to make this crossing a little bit shorter and easier to cross,” said Armin Samii, chair of Better Streets Lawrenceville. “Whether you’re driving, biking, taking a wheelchair or walking, you deserve the same dignity getting around.”

“I saw someone today, not on Butler Street, but on a side street on the street in a motorized wheelchair because the sidewalks weren’t accessible,” Gidley said.

Better Streets Lawrenceville said it is working closely with the city of Pittsburgh to make some of those ideas come to fruition.

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