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The “RIV” is a common-sense way to plan new development on Pittsburgh’s riverfronts

By May 16, 2018Blog

You may have heard talk about the “RIV” bubbling up in Pittsburgh this year. If you guessed that “RIV” is short for “riverfront”, you’d be right. Our city’s riverfronts will be in the spotlight this June as Pittsburgh City Planning advances legislation to update riverfront zoning for all 35 miles of city riverfront.

The RIV is a set of city guidelines created to encourage smart development along Pittsburgh’s riverfronts. It was created after an almost year-and-a-half public process during which City Planning heard from hundreds of Pittsburgh residents and business owners weighing in about new development in riverfront neighborhoods. Earlier this spring, the RIV received Planning Commission approval; now it will be the subject of a City Council public hearing on Tuesday, June 5th, followed by a Council vote several weeks later to make it into law.

Here at Riverlife, we’re asking City Council to vote YES for the RIV. It’s a common-sense update of Pittsburgh’s current riverfront zoning, and a better representation of how Pittsburghers use their riverfronts today for recreation, housing, business, industry, health and wellness, and transportation.

Pittsburgh’s riverfronts are great public destinations. The RIV carries on this tradition by incorporating incentives for developers to include community benefits in their new riverfront projects: benefits like public parks and trails, affordable housing, habitat restoration, stormwater management and on-site energy creation.

We also believe the RIV goes a long way toward preserving the unique character of riverfront neighborhoods like the Strip District and the South Side while also encouraging new growth. This is the riverfront zoning that Pittsburgh deserves, and will guide the future of smart and sustainable development on our riverfronts.

Join us in supporting the RIV by letting City Council know you support this common-sense approach to planning new development on our riverfronts. Visit to find out more about the RIV, sign a petition of support, and find some easy-to-use talking points about the RIV’s benefits.