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May 1, 1997

City still has no timetable for Bigelow block construction

It has been almost two months since the compromise between the city and Pitt over Bigelow Boulevard was struck, but a timetable for construction still has not been set.

Instead of closing Bigelow between Forbes and Fifth avenues, as the University had wanted, the compromise calls for the street to be narrowed from 60 to 30 feet, the elimination of parking along the street, the planting of trees and grass, and improvements in crosswalks and traffic signals in the area.

Bob Harkins, Pitt's director of Parking and Transportation, told Senate Council's plant utilization and planning committee (PUP) at its April 21 meeting that he has discussed the construction timetable with the city's Department of Planning, but that no decision has been reached.

"We have not been on the same sheet in terms of planning," Harkins said. "The city is planning to maybe start construction in September or maybe next spring." Pitt would like to see construction take place over the summer, Harkins said, when there are few students on campus and traffic is relatively light. PUP members generally blamed the inertia of the city's bureaucracy for the delay.

Harkins said he hopes to receive some answers from the city within the next few weeks, but put the chances of completing construction this summer at "slim to none." He added that the University would be happy if just the major elements of the work could be completed during the summer.

In other business, PUP also: * Nominated Van Beck Hall of history and Mike Spring of information science to serve as co-chairs of PUP. The election will be later this month after the Senate Council elections.

Hall and Spring will replace Jim DeAngelis, a faculty member in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, who has served as PUP chair over the past year. Prior to that, DeAngelis served as co-chair of PUP for three years with Tom Anderson of geology and planetary science.

–Mike Sajna

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