Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey will hold an online public listening session about the proposed Oakland Crossing development at 6 p.m. Feb. 2.
Earlier this month, Gainey requested a 30-day continuance on a proposed zoning ordinance change sought by project developer Walnut Capital. The change would create a new zoning subdistrict that would include all the areas in Walnut Capital’s 17-acre planned development, on McKee Place, Louise Street, Halket Street and the Boulevard of the Allies.
Walnut Capital is “fully supportive” of the public meeting the mayor is planning, President Todd Reidbord told the Post-Gazette.
“We’re glad he’s doing this independently,” he said. “Our opinion is that this is a project that is good for the city and good for Oakland residents.”
The project has met opposition from community groups over several issues, including the lack of provisions for affordable housing and the unusual route the zoning change proposal took through Mayor Bill Peduto’s office directly to City Council.
Gainey also listened to Oakland residents on Jan. 25 at a meeting of the Oakland Planning and Development Corp., where many of the same issues were raised. See a recording of that meeting here.
The zoning issue is now scheduled to come before the Planning Commission on Feb. 8. Commission meetings are streamed live on the Pittsburgh City Planning YouTube page.
Bates Street upgrades
According to the Post-Gazette, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has engaged consultants to look at two projects that would improve access along Bates Street from the Parkway East.
One proposal would widen Bates Street from two lanes to four between the Boulevard of the Allies in Oakland and Second Avenue in Hazelwood. The plans also would include a bike and pedestrian lane.
The second study would look at improving access to the Parkway East by adding an eastbound exit and a westbound entrance to the parkway from the Bates Street area.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has said that improving access to the Hazelwood Green development between Second Avenue and the Monongahela River is a top priority. The Mellon Foundation in November announced a $100 million grant to Pitt — to be disbursed over 10 years — to help build a highly specialized bioresearch and development facility on Hazelwood Green.
— Susan Jones
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