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November 10, 1994

Senate committee gives OK to amended version of master space plan

Senate Council's plant utilization and planning committee (PUP) yesterday, Nov. 9, gave its formal approval to an amended version of Pitt's master space plan and voted to forward it to Chancellor J. Dennis O'Connor.

The master space plan outlines plans for the physical development of the Pittsburgh campus over the next five, 10 and 20 years.

Following the amended plan's presentation to O'Connor, it will be submitted to the City Planning Commission. No date was given by PUP for that submission, but mid-November was the target mentioned at the Oct. 21 Board of Trustees meeting.

Most of the amendments to the plan involved language changes recommended by PUP members or members of the Community Interface in the Master Plan Committee, a community group that has been providing input on the plan.

However, PUP also approved an amendment involving student housing and voted to withhold the part of the plan dealing with transportation.

Changes in the student housing section of the master space plan started with a recent paper released by the Oakland Neighborhood Alliance (ONA), another community group, that pointed out a critical need to improve student housing.

"Such improvements will benefit Oakland residents, students, and institutional reputation," the paper noted.

According to the paper, the issues of quality and quantity of student housing, location and student conduct all need to be addressed by the University. PUP agreed and added other housing-related issues to the amended plan. Among those other items, the revised plan promises to:

* Maintain and renew existing student housing and establish a timetable for development of hilltop residence halls.

* Divest of or develop Bellefield Avenue lots as residential property; upgrade or redevelop Oakland Avenue properties; assist in the redevelopment and marketing of single-family homes; identify, in consultation with community organizations, desirable locations and financial mechanisms for the development or revitalization of housing for graduate students, married students, visiting faculty and scholars; inform faculty and staff of existing housing assistance programs, and develop and implement a program of financial incentives to encourage faculty and staff members to purchase homes in Oakland.

* Restrict listings of the Commuter Resources Center's Off-campus Student Services based on building codes; develop a code of conduct for students living off campus and legal assistance programs for student tenants; encourage building code enforcement and student participation in Oakland neighborhood organizations, and explore methods used at other universities to encourage better maintained rental units.

* Discourage fraternities from occupying houses in residential areas; plan the initial phase of hillside housing, and enforce student and Greek codes of conduct.

Amendment of the transportation section of the master space plan was delayed until PUP could study the City Planning Commission's concerns about issues involving short-term and long-term parking, and alternative means of transportation to and from campus.

About long-term parking, the Planning Commission recommended the development of more remote parking lots, and new long-term parking and the retention of a portion of the existing parking spaces near the future site of the Convocation Center near Pitt Stadium.

Concerning short-term parking, the commission recommended relocating long-term parking spaces to remote lots and adding short-term spaces in increments of no more than 200 spaces in any single location. The City Planning Commission also recommended that Pitt expand programs that encourage members of the University community to walk more, use public transportation, University shuttles, van pools, car pools and bicycles.

–Mike Sajna

Filed under: Feature,Volume 27 Issue 6

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