Group installs asphalt art in Pittsburgh neighborhood

PITTSBURGH — A five-way intersection in the Friendship neighborhood of Pittsburgh is closed for part of the weekend while a local group installs asphalt art.

The closure runs from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday through Sunday, and includes Roup Avenue from Friendship Avenue to Baum Boulevard, S. Fairmount Street from Friendship Avenue to Baum Boulevard, and Harriet Street from Graham Street to S. Fairmount Street and Roup Avenue.

Volunteers started painting the pavement early Saturday morning near the Baum Grove parklet. Lead artists Randi Stewart and Tim Englehardt were chosen to create the design.

“We came up with this design that was influenced by the neighborhood, the Victorian houses, the park here in the background, flowers and we presented it. It was overwhelmingly approved,” Englehardt said.

The Friendship Community Group has been working on the asphalt art project for the last year and a half, collaborating with the neighborhood on the intersection and mural design, as well as the artist selection. This project was made possible by a grant, given to 16 cities including Pittsburgh, from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Asphalt Art Initiative.

“The neighbors also really wanted more of a muted color scheme. So we kept that in mind. And worked on something that made everyone happy in that regard. And the flowers are native to the area,” Stewart said.

The group also partnered with the city’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, which already completed engineering changes to enhance the safety of the confusing five-way intersection. The city installed new crosswalks with accessible ramps, curb extensions, and two pedestrian plazas, which are being painted, to calm the traffic at this intersection.

People who live here say the changes were needed.