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September 28, 2017

Staff Council to Meet With City Officials Next Month to Talk Pedestrian Safety, Other Updates

Intersection of Fifth and Bellefield avenues

Improvements that can increase pedestrian and vehicular safety at the heavily trafficked intersection of Fifth and Bellefield avenues will be the subject of an Oct. 3 meeting between representatives from Staff Council and city officials.

Staff Council members and representatives of Pitt Police and the University’s Community and Governmental Relations office will be meeting with City Councilman Dan Gilman and other city officials on Oct. 3 as part of Staff Council’s continuing efforts to make the intersection of Fifth and Bellefield avenues safer for pedestrians and vehicles alike.

Alex Toner, Staff Council vice president for public relations, said the Pitt delegation hopes to find out what steps are required to add a pedestrian-only crossing signal to the west side of the intersection, from the University monument sign to the Music Building. The group also hopes to make sidewalk signage and street painting more visible for foot and vehicle traffic.

The proposed idea would create an intersection similar to Forbes and Bellefield avenues, where all traffic stops at once to allow pedestrians to cross in each direction.

“We see [Fifth and Bellefield] as a particularly dangerous intersection that needs a remedy,” said Toner. He anticipates that the city may ask for a small traffic study to support any proposed changes to Fifth and Bellefield traffic signals, and that a representative of the Port Authority, whose bus lane also crosses Bellefield at Fifth, may need to be involved.

Members of Staff Council have been meeting with Oakland civic groups over the past year to secure letters of support for the effort. Their appointment with Gilman, announced at Staff Council’s Sept. 20 meeting, will involve Toner, Staff Council President Andy Stephany and Ric Fera, head of its health, safety and information technology committee.

“We really think that we can come to a solution that will benefit all, and it won’t make that big of an impact on the traffic flow of that intersection,” Toner added. “In fact, it could actually make it better, because pedestrians and vehicle traffic won’t be fighting against each other to cross that intersection.”

He urged anyone with information or opinions about Fifth/Bellefield improvements to contact Staff Council by email at


Awarding Outstanding Mentors with Additional Training

In other Staff Council actions, the group has created a new award, at the urging of the Office of the Chancellor, to recognize a University staff member who has been an outstanding mentor to colleagues on campus.

“We hope it will encourage staff members to mentor each other, encouraging these positive relationships that are already happening at the University,” said Kathy Prigg, chair of Staff Council’s staff relations committee, which has overseen the Staff Mentor Award’s creation.

The award will cover the costs for the recipient to attend six workshops in the Certificate in Organizational Leadership and Ethics (COLE) program, offered by Pitt’s Faculty and Staff Development Program to individuals or departments. The workshops examine such topics as “Mentoring and Leading Others,” “Leadership and Effective Talent Development” and “The Changing American Workplace: Rights, Responsibilities, and Challenges” and are designed to build the next generation of ethical leadership at the University.

“It’s going to encourage the development of leadership skills, so it makes the University overall stronger,” said Prigg.

Applications will be available beginning Oct. 1 on Staff Council’s website and will close Oct. 31. An ad hoc committee of Staff Council members will pick the award winner by the end of November.


Executive Position to be Filled at Next Meeting

Staff Council members will also be choosing a new executive vice president in time for their next meeting, on Oct. 18, according to Stephany. Matthew Richardson was elected to the office this spring and began his term on July 1, but soon after took a job outside the University, leaving the executive committee position vacant.


Marty Levine,, 412-758-4859


Filed under: Feature,Volume 50 Issue 3

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