New Forbes crosswalk on track, but Bigelow work could be delayed, committee told

Crossing on Forbes Avenue


News of two crosswalk projects at the heart of Pitt’s main campus emerged at the Nov. 20 meeting of the University Senate’s community relations committee: one to be finished soon, and the other facing delays.

The new crossing between the Forbes Avenue exit of Schenley Quad and David L. Lawrence Hall is on track to be done in December, reported John Wilds, assistant vice chancellor for community relations in the Office of Community and Governmental Relations. Street changes are already underway, although he cautioned that the crosswalk won’t be available until fencing is installed to make sure people cross through, rather than beside, the crosswalk.

Paul A. Supowitz, vice chancellor for community and governmental relations, announced potential delays in moving the crosswalk on Bigelow Boulevard between the Cathedral of Learning and the William Pitt Union. Work might start in May, but “we don’t know,” he said, since both Pitt and Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority need to work on water lines beneath the street, which may not take place until summer 2019 — or later.

Moving the crosswalk away from Fifth Avenue, to the middle of the block, will be accompanied by a change in vehicle traffic patterns, creating one lane in each direction, with one turning lane each way as well. Supowitz said a crossing guard or police officer will be stationed at the new crosswalk location initially to encourage its use and keep traffic flowing, and planters or other devices will be used to block people from crossing elsewhere.

In other committee news:

  • Pitt is currently searching for host sites for Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service projects, said Shenay Jeffrey, assistant director of the student volunteer portal PittServes. The annual event, on Jan. 21 next year, is open to faculty, staff and students, with a minimum of 15 volunteers per project. Pitt provides lunch and transportation to the projects, which will run 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jeffrey also reported that this year’s Day of Caring, sponsored by Pitt and United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, had 150 faculty and staff participants — up from 90 last year — at 13 different sites in Oakland, Homestead, Wilkinsburg and Homewood. Pitt Make a Difference Day, the annual student-led volunteer event, had more than 3,800 volunteers working at more than 90 agencies locally.
  • Lina Dostilio, assistant vice chancellor for community engagement in CGR, said a monthly information session for faculty and staff to learn about Pitt’s community engagement centers will be from 1 to 2 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Homewood CEC, 622 N. Homewood Ave. She said her office also continues to work on Pitt’s Community Engagement Inventory, at, which maps community activities available locally. Information on the many highlighted projects is available by clicking on its map location.
  • Wilds noted that, as the University completes the campus master plan, it is simultaneously formulating an institutional master plan, required by the city of Pittsburgh every decade. “It gets more specific with infrastructure, housing … issues that have more of an impact on the neighborhood,” Wilds explained. Community meetings for public comment will be scheduled, he added.

The committee’s December meeting, originally set for Dec. 18, has been canceled.

Marty Levine is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-758-4859.