VOTE YES FOR THE RIV THIS SPRING!
We all enjoy Pittsburgh’s riverfronts in many different ways. And our city’s riverfront neighborhoods are unique places worth protecting. That’s why we need a common sense way to plan for new buildings, parks and trails on our riverfronts. The “RIV” is the solution that protects our riverfronts while encouraging new growth that makes a city thrive.
For years, Pittsburgh’s rivers were used for industry and commercial purposes. As the city began to clean up its riverfronts in the 1990s, people began to use the rivers for recreation, housing, entertainment, and other diverse uses.
You can help advance the RIV, an important movement to make Pittsburgh’s riverfronts even more awesome for everyone. Ask your City Council member to vote YES on the RIV this spring.
I’M SHOWING MY LOVE FOR PITTSBURGH’S RIVERFRONTS IN THREE EASY STEPS.
1. SIGN UP TO SUPPORT THE RIV
We’ll let your City Council member know that you’re showing some love for the RIV and for Pittsburgh’s incredible riverfront parks, trails and public green spaces. [Related: Find out which City Council district you live in.]
2. CONTACT COUNCIL MEMBERS!
If you’re a City of Pittsburgh resident, send a quick email or make a phone call to your council representative. All you have to say is, “I support Pittsburgh’s riverfronts. Please vote YES on the RIV!” Here are the nine council members and their contact information:
Darlene Harris, Councilwoman District 1: 412-255-2135 / email@example.com
Theresa Kail-Smith, Councilwoman District 2: 412-255-8963 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Bruce Kraus, Councilman District 3: 412-255-2130 / email@example.com
Anthony Coghill, Councilman District 4: 412-255-2131 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Corey O’Connor, Councilman District 5: 412-255-8965 / email@example.com
Daniel Lavelle, Councilman District 6: 412-255-2134 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Deb Gross, Councilwoman District 7: 412-255-2140 / email@example.com
Erika Strassburger, Councilwoman District 8: 412-255-2133 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Ricky Burgess, Councilman District 9: 412-255-2137 / email@example.com
Unsure of your district? Enter your address here to find out.
3. TELL YOUR FRIENDS.
Post a link to this site on Facebook and Twitter. Use one of the images below or share your own favorite Pittsburgh riverfront photo. Spread the word about the RIV as an important movement to protect and enhance Pittsburgh’s riverfronts. And don’t forget to use #RIVPGH!
Sample Facebook message: Do you love Pittsburgh’s incredible riverfront parks, trails, and public green spaces? Help ensure that our riverfronts remain enjoyable public spaces by supporting the “RIV,” a common sense way to plan for new development on Pittsburgh’s riverfronts. Sign this petition to join me in calling on Pittsburgh City Council to support #RIVPGH: rivpgh.com
TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE RIV.
The way we use the rivers now.
For years, Pittsburgh’s riverfronts were used for industrial and commercial purposes. As the city began to clean up its riverfronts in the 1990s, people began to use the rivers for recreation, housing, entertainment, and other diverse uses. The City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Planning is updating the city’s riverfront zoning code, known as the RIV. If approved by City Council this year, City Planning’s updated RIV zoning code will provide easy-to-understand guidelines for new projects built on the riverfronts, and will better reflect the diverse ways we use the riverfronts today.
A Community Process
The new zoning was created with direct input from the community, including hundreds of business owners, developers, environmental groups, residents and recreational users. For more information on the RIV and the community process that shaped it, visit the City of Pittsburgh Planning Department’s Riverfront Zoning website.
HERE ARE JUST A FEW BENEFITS OF THE RIV:
The RIV rewards new projects that include community benefits like parks, trails, affordable housing and energy efficiency.
Under the new zoning, these benefits are still optional, not mandatory. What’s different is that developers can now offer these benefits in exchange for increased density such as building higher or closer to the riverfront. It’s a win-win: the public gets to enjoy these riverfront amenities, and the developer doesn’t have to go to the zoning board for special exceptions for their project.
The RIV is sensitive to the unique character of Pittsburgh neighborhoods.
In some neighborhoods like the downtown Golden Triangle, tall buildings of 14-15 stories or more are appropriate and even encouraged. Those same tall buildings, however, might not fit the scale or vibe of a neighborhood like the Strip District. The RIV was created through feedback from neighbors and communities members in diverse riverfront neighborhoods, and puts in place standards for characteristics like building height and length to meet the needs of those neighborhoods.
The RIV will make the redevelopment process more predictable and efficient.
Those who want to build new projects on the riverfront will know up front the process, design standards and incentive system for new riverfront development. Developers can save money and time knowing there’s a set process and standards, rather than going through costly revisions to their plans that can put their projects behind schedule.
The RIV doesn’t “push out” existing businesses.
Existing industrial, commercial and maritime businesses will continue to operate without change right next to new projects. The purpose of the new riverfront zoning is to serve the many different ways people use Pittsburgh’s riverfronts. That means the RIV update allows for areas that have served industrial, commercial and maritime businesses to continue to serve those uses.
The RIV promotes a sensible approach to parking.
Across the country, cities are addressing parking in new ways as those cities grow; the RIV considers a variety of measures to accommodate some parking while also encouraging alternate forms of transportation aside from single occupancy vehicles. Fewer single occupancy vehicles on the road also means improvements to our air quality and less traffic gridlock.
New development on the riverfronts is good for the city and the economy. The RIV supports that.
Pittsburgh’s riverfronts have become attractive features for people and businesses moving here. The new zoning acknowledges the value of Pittsburgh’s riverfronts as drivers for city growth, and puts in place common sense measures for new development and public access.
The riverfront planning process remains flexible even under the RIV.
Under current zoning laws, any developer can request a variance (aka, relief from zoning standards) for their project. Whenever a variance is requested, the impetus is on the developer to prove to the City that they need that variance because the City’s development standards create a particular hardship for their project. This right/process doesn’t change under the RIV.