Allegheny Riverfront Park
Allegheny Riverfront Park is owned by the City of Pittsburgh. In 1994, planning began on land that was defined by multilevel high-speed roadways and a desolate riverfront parking lot between the 6th, 7th, and 9th Street Bridges – now named for Roberto Clemente, Andy Warhol, and Rachel Carson, respectively, and known as the Sister Bridges.
Led by Carol Brown, then-president of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the planning effort selected Brooklyn-based Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and artists Ann Hamilton and Michael Mercil to work collaboratively on a design that would create pedestrian access to the river’s edge. It would incorporate visual art into a new landscape of riverfront trees and boulders, transforming an underutilized riverfront into a destination. The lower level of the park was completed in 1998, and the upper level was completed and open to the public with the dedication in 2000.
After two decades of being “loved to death,” the upper level of Allegheny Riverfront Park is being re-envisioned as part of Riverlife’s Completing the Loop vision plan. The park is in dire need of restoration to improve accessibility and provide a world-class experience for park users while honoring the history of the prominent riverfront landscape. In 2021, Riverlife, the City of Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust entered into a partnership to complete a $6.3 million restoration of Allegheny Riverfront Park. Riverlife, the Trust, and the City of Pittsburgh are working with original park designers Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. and local landscape architecture firm LaQuatra Bonci Associates to restore the upper level.
Measures will include replacement of existing pavement, new site grading for improved accessibility and visibility, installation of new amenities, refurbishment of existing light posts and railings, tree pruning, planting soil amendments, and perennial planting. Riverlife anticipates construction to begin later in 2023.
Allegheny Riverfront Park is owned and managed by the City of Pittsburgh. Riverlife is currently leading restoration planning efforts with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust in partnership with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates with support from Pittsburgh-based landscape architecture firm LaQuatra Bonci Associates. Additional partners in this work include Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and the Office of Public Art together with the City of Pittsburgh.
Funding for planning has been provided by Riverlife and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and initial capital funding support is provided by the Allegheny Regional Asset District.