Monday, June 13, 2011

Sustainabiwity from a State Alphabet-Soup Money Commission

This is what's up with the funders of Allegheny County's and all of SW PA's transportation master planning:

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission added sustainability practices to its update of the region's long-range transportation and economic development plan for the first time five years ago.

Friday, at one of the many public input sessions the commission has held in recent weeks, transportation planners emphasized the need for municipalities to plan accordingly for the 2040 plan, an update of its 2035 plan. (P-G, Diana Nelson Jones)

They say best laid plans of mice and men gang aft' agley or else never get implemented, but all the same:

What I want to share here is the passion for this stuff that SPC transportation planner Tom Klavon shared with us when he talked about their session yesterday in Wilkinsburg.

There they did a walking tour and applied their TOD formulas to determine where Wilkinsburg is vis a vis successful transit-centered development.

He said something that made my ears go pointy: That a presentation by Mark Minnerly of the Mosites Co. — the guys who brought us Eastside in East Liberty — made him feel that Wilkinsburg today is where East Liberty was 15 years ago. (City Walkabout, Diana Nelson Jones)

Get it, girl! Great blog post.


  1. I was never in East Liberty 15 years ago. I can barely remember the abandonded taxi lot that used to be there. But, Eastside sure has a very big parking garage for something that is transit oriented and Wilkinsburg has a property tax rate that is twice as high as East Liberty. I think there may be problems.

  2. MH:

    It's commonly referred to as the Wilkinsburg School District.

    Yet and still, its geographic location as the end of the Penn Avenue Corridor, its prominent position as the East Busway feeder to the Eastern suburbs, its' proximity to Pittsburgh and the rise of Transit Revitilization Investment Districts along the old Pennsylvania Railroad Corridor make it ripe for investment.

    My concern for Wilkinsburg is the same as it is for Homewood and Larimer: Can we do creative reinvestment in a way that doesn't push its' current residents to the tail end of the East Busway: Rankin/Braddock.

    As for the very big parking garage @ Eastside, I so rarely can find parking when I go to eat a healthy meal at Whole Foods.

  3. Wilkinsburg has instituted a 10-year graduated tax abatement program for commercial properties, and a similar program for residential developments. I think the tax gap may also close a bit following the upcoming reassessment and application of PA's anti-windfall laws. Incidentally, Wilkinsburg is also updating its comprehensive plan, and it is full of stuff about TOD and TRIDs.

    So I am kinda curious to know more details about what Minnerly actually said/presented.

  4. That incentive could help a great deal. Right now, I only go to Wilkinsburg for kiddie gym stuff, but it is undeniably convenient if there were anything there.