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Riverlife’s 2017 Year in Review: Map and Photo Gallery of Pittsburgh Riverfront improvements

By December 19, 2017Blog

Here's what Riverlife did in 2017 to make Pittsburgh's riverfronts cleaner, safer and more fun for everyone.

Click the numbers on the map to see where Riverlife worked on riverfront improvements.

Riverlife advocated with the Urban Redevelopment Authority for new phone charging outlets as part of their new park improvements at South Shore Riverfront Park.
Riverlife worked with Continental Real Estate Companies to include a new public restroom, bike storage facility, and phone charging station in their North Shore development next to the “Water Steps” fountain.
Trammell Crow Company worked with Riverlife to include enhancements to their Glasshouse mixed-use project at Station Square. These include riverfront trail improvements, waterfront dining, new perpendicular connections to the riverfront, and exploring the possibility of a public restroom for trail users.
At 15th and Smallman streets in the Strip District, developer RDC made a commitment for new public seating, bike racks, a drinking fountain, and phone charging outlets at their planned District 15 office building.
RDC committed to support new activities and events on the riverfront adjacent to their planned District 15 building, including complimentary parking in their surface lot on weekends at 15th and Smallman streets.
Riverlife worked with the Sports & Exhibition Authority to secure a new public restroom at the new North Shore parking garage.
Andrea Polli and Ron Gdovic’s “Energy Flow” wind-powered art installation lit up the Rachel Carson Bridge throughout 2017. The temporary project was shepherded by Riverlife and proved to be so popular that it was extended for the entire year.
Riverlife’s Mon Wharf Switchback ramp broke ground in 2017, with an anticipated 2018 opening. The switchback will create an important bike/ped link between the Smithfield Street Bridge and the Mon Wharf, and will welcome thousands of users of the Great Allegheny Passage to the downtown riverfronts.
Riverlife’s Grant Street Crossing crosswalk improvement/riverfront connection was completed December 2017 at the intersection of Grant Street and Ft. Pitt Boulevard.
In May, trail users joined County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Mayor Bill Peduto, Riverlife and other partners to cut the ribbon on a restoration of Allegheny Landing’s lower trail and the addition of a new rain garden landscape.
Ahoy! Riverlife’s Strip District boat tour series gave the public a prime view of ongoing riverfront development in the neighborhood, and an overview of the vision for Strip District Riverfront Park.
Our #LunchLoop partnership with Bike Pittsburgh and Healthy Ride took downtown Pittsbughers on fun, easy 30-minute rides from Market Square to the riverfront trails. The series was a great way to get familiar with the city’s riverfronts and get a bit of exercise over the lunch hour.
Riverlife’s Take a Seat! initiative debuted this summer in Point State Park as part of the Three Rivers Arts Festival. We tracked the movements of 30 lightweight movable chairs equipped with GPS units to determine where people most enjoyed sitting along the river. (We got almost all of the chairs back, but one is still in Colombus, Ohio thanks to a very committed prankster.)
Riverlife applauded The Buncher Company’s improvements to the riverfront trail in the Strip District between 11th and 15th Streets, which reopened to the public in April. The improvements were aligned with the vision laid out in the Strip District Riverfront Park plan.
From June through October, the riverfront trail under the Ft. Duquesne Bridge was enlivened with a temporary gallery by photographer Maranie Staab. The exhibit was part of Riverlife’s ‘to be determined’ series to enhance this underutilized section of downtown riverfront. The series returns in 2018 with a new installation currently being planned.
Working with South Side Marina, Riverlife successfully promoted new trees and bank stabilization project next to the marina at South Shore Riverfront Park.
Oxford Development Company advances more segments of their riverfront 3 Crossings development, including a new office headquarters for law firm Burns White, breaking ground for a new office building for Argo AI, and extending the riverfront trail at The Yards residential complex. Riverlife worked with Oxford on riverfront planning as envisioned in the Strip District Riverfront Park plan.
Riverlife worked with Pittsburgh City Planning to host the “Waterfronts That Work Summit” as well as a series of public meetings to get feedback from Pittsburghers about the City’s efforts to update permanent riverfront zoning.

Please note: map image is best viewed on a desktop computer or on a mobile device held horizontally.

Or, if you prefer, here’s a photo gallery guide.

Like what you see? Donate to Riverlife now!

Here are just a few things we hope to see more of in 2018:

  • More riverfront dining. Riverlife’s Vivien Li spoke with The Incline about one of the topics we hear most about from Pittsburghers and visitors: the lack of dining establishments on the riverfronts.
  • Connections that bring residents of non-waterfront neighborhoods to the riverfronts. All Pittsburghers should benefit from improvements to their rivers. Riverlife will continue to develop strategies to connect interior communities across roadways and barriers to reach the riverfronts.
  • The next big attraction to pop up on Downtown’s riverbanks. Over the past few years we’ve seen giant ducks, record-breaking kayak flotillas, bridges with wind-powered lights, a flugtag and more. All have drawn thousands of residents and visitors to the water’s edge. What will be the next can’t-miss event or attraction?
  • Stormwater management, riverbank stabilization and natural habitat. These environmental factors are musts for new projects built on the riverbanks, as we collectively work towards long-term environmental sustainability and a healthy riverfront.
  • Partnerships and resources for riverfront maintenance. Public spaces on Pittsburgh’s riverfronts are a shared responsibility. We look forward to working with businesses, property owners, city crews and volunteers to come up with plans to protect and maintain these assets.

As you can see from the  projects completed or advanced this year, we have much to celebrate as the city’s riverfronts continue to get better and better. Next year will bring even more excitement and improvements.

You’re a stakeholder in the future of Pittsburgh’s waterfronts. Your support makes these projects possible. Thank you for making a year-end gift to Riverlife to help us make these improvements flourish on Pittsburgh’s riverbanks. We can’t wait to celebrate with you in 2018.

Thank you!

Photo by Maranie Rae