Allegheny Riverfront Park
When the upper portion of Allegheny Riverfront Park was officially dedicated in 2001, the newly opened park did more than just connect Pittsburgh’s blossoming Cultural District across a barrier of roadways and bridges to the Allegheny River. Allegheny Riverfront Park also changed the way Pittsburghers viewed connectivity and design on the Downtown riverfronts, ushering in a new era of thinking about public open space in the city.
The park’s upper level along Fort Duquesne Boulevard provides green space access to the Cultural District’s estimated 2 million annual visitors, and the lower level along the Allegheny River serves as a gateway to nearby Point State Park and its estimated 4.35 million annual visitors. The park’s placement makes it one of the most highly visible Downtown green spaces.
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.
Planning for the city-owned park began in 1994 on land that was defined by multilevel highways and a desolate riverfront parking lot between the 6th, 7th, and 9th Street Bridges, now known as the Roberto Clemente, Andy Warhol, and Rachel Carson 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 and incorporate visual art into a new landscape of riverfront trees and boulders, transforming an underutilized riparian edge into a destination.
The park was officially completed and open to the public with the dedication of the upper level park in 2001.