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Release Date: Friday, March 20th 2015

Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership Annual Meeting Focuses on Placemaking and Planning Initiatives to Invigorate Downtown

  • Mayor Peduto announces Envision Downtown, a new comprehensive transportation and placemaking initiative
  • Keynote Speaker Janette Sadik-Khan challenges Downtown to undertake innovative placemaking tactics, highlighting projects from around the world
  • PDP Announces new small business outreach efforts and expanded Downtown activations
  • Election of New PDP Board Members
  • Golden Triangle Awards Presented
  • Release of the 2014 Annual Report

Downtown Pittsburgh, PA – The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP), along with special guests City of Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto and Bloomberg Associate’s Janette Sadik-Khan, presented several new initiatives aimed at increasing vitality and promoting the efficient development of a Downtown for all at the PDP’s Annual Meeting today.

Envision Downtown

Mayor Peduto announced the creation of Envision Downtown, an independent public-private partnership that will develop and implement a comprehensive planning, transportation and placemaking strategy for Downtown. Envision Downtown will have a primary focus on the deployment of a “complete streets” transportation, land-use, and placemaking initiative that will serve as a national model for innovative, comprehensive, aesthetically-pleasing, and technologically-advanced planning, design, and construction in an urban setting. Its secondary role will be to serve as an information sharing clearinghouse and prioritization mechanism on all Downtown placemaking projects and initiatives.

“Envision Downtown will craft a 21st-century vision for the sustainable and efficient development of a Downtown for all," Mayor Peduto said. "It will look at smart and cutting edge ways to support the growth of existing businesses and residents, while positioning Downtown thoughtfully for its ongoing transformation."

Envision Downtown will be housed within the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, complementing their work on transportation and placemaking and led by Sean Luther. Luther most recently served as the Green Building Alliance’s 2030 Districts Senior Director. Prior to that he was the CEO and President of Downtown Roanoke and earlier in his career served as an Economic Development Specialist at the PDP.

Further details about Envision Downtown may be found at EnvisionDowntown.com.

Janette Sadik-Khan Keynote Address

Janette Sadik-Khan, former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation and Principal at Bloomberg Associates addressed the meeting with a keynote on the steps cities around the world are taking to build safer, more efficient and economically vibrant streets. Sadik-Khan highlighted major street transformations in New York, including the redesign of Times Square that created 2.5 acres of pedestrian space; the launch of the nation’s largest bike share system; the unprecedented construction of 400 miles of on-street bikes lanes; and the implementation of 60 new pedestrian plazas in just seven years. She discussed Bloomberg Associates’ efforts to improve pedestrian safety, transit accessibility and create new vibrant new public spaces in cities worldwide, along with other exciting examples of interventions from around the globe. She congratulated Mayor Peduto on his many recent successes and suggested a road map that he and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership could follow to transform the heart of the city into a vibrant, successful destination.

“From industrial powerhouse to glory on the gridiron, Pittsburgh has always been a city that meets a challenge and gets things done. Today, Mayor Peduto and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership double down on that legacy with new protected bike lanes, vibrant public spaces and new transit options, all hallmarks of world class cities,” said Sadik-Khan.  “Their commitment today to a safer, more livable and more sustainable Downtown will ensure that the heart of Steel City will stand strong for decades to come.”

2014 Accomplishments and New PDP Initiatives

At today’s meeting, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership President and CEO, Jeremy Waldrup provided an overview of the successes the organization experienced in 2014. Highlights included:

  • PDP Clean Team removed 1.01 million pounds of trash from the Central Business District.
  • PDP Street Team logged 1,187 panhandling interventions and provided outreach to homeless individuals 685 times.
  • The PDP Volunteer program welcomed 2,106 participants who provided a combined 6,812 hours of service.
  • PDP marketing initiatives continued to evolve with excellent social media results, including a 28% increase in Facebook followers and a 43% increase in Twitter followers. PDP website traffic saw nearly 2.4 million visitors, an increase of more than 59% of 2013.
  • PDP Programming increased and expanded including enhancements to both Light Up Night and the Peoples Gas Holiday Market, the creation of the Market Square Public Art Program, Rooftop Shindig Events, Yoga in the Square, Open Streets and multiple pop up activations.
  • The Paris to Pittsburgh Sidewalk Activation and Façade Restoration program approved 11 grants in 2014, totally 432,560, which supported $1,109,371 in total project costs.

Additionally, Waldrup provided insight into tactics and initiatives that will be employed throughout 2015. Chief among this work will be:

  • The PDP Small Business Spotlight which will provide resources and programs to inform and engage existing and potential Downtown small businesses about important resources and opportunities to generate business and outreach, as well as strengthen the Downtown marketplace.
  • A continued increase in the amount of programming by the organization, including more Rooftop Shindigs, additional pop-up activations, the second year of the Market Square Public Art installation, and the promise of several new events to be announced soon.

Accord to Waldrup, “In 2015, we are going to focus more efforts on placemaking initiatives that support our strategies to increase vibrancy and excitement to Downtown Pittsburgh, paying particular focus to nights and weekends, as well as new venues for activation. We look forward to working with the Peduto administration and key Downtown stakeholders to begin to implement strategies that truly improve and transform the Downtown environs.”

Election of New PDP Board Members and Officers

As part of the order of business for the day, the organization elected two new Board Members to serve three-year terms. New members are Ken Rice, news anchor at KDKA –TV and Tishekia Williams, senior counsel at Duquesne Light.

Golden Triangle Awards & Holiday Market Check Presentation

The Golden Triangle Awards, established in 2012 acknowledge exceptional efforts of individuals and organizations that benefit Downtown Pittsburgh and the mission of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. Two Golden Triangle Awards were presented today.

  • The Chairman’s Award is presented to a Board member whose dedication to the PDP goes above and beyond the duties of serving the organization.  The awardee dedicates significant time to ensure that Downtown Pittsburgh continues to be a great place to live, work and play through furthering the efforts and impact of the PDP. This year’s recipient was Merrill Stabile, President of Alco Parking, for his assistance in staging and hosting a number of PDP events throughout the year.
  • Downtown Champion Award is presented to an individual or company that truly embraces the vision of the PDP. The 2015 recipient is Peoples Natural Gas for their commitment and dedication in supporting the growing Downtown Holiday initiatives and title and founding sponsor of the annual Holiday Market in Market Square.

Throughout the 2014 Peoples Gas Holiday Market, volunteers collected financial donations in return for the opportunity to receive a complimentary photo with Santa in his Downtown Pittsburgh home. During this time Northwest Savings Bank Branches also collected funds which were ultimately augmented with a donation from the Northwest Savings Bank Foundation.  At today’s meeting representatives from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank were pleased to receive a check for $69,948.61, noting that these funds can provide nearly 350,000 meals for hungry children in our region.

2014 Annual Report

Additional information regarding the PDP’s 2014 accomplishments and the approaches the PDP will we employ in 2015 may be found in the Annual Report, released today. A PDF of the report is available on the PDP’s website.

About the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) is a dynamic, nonprofit organization comprised of business and community leaders, property owners, civic organizations, foundations and residents who provide energy, vision and advocacy for Downtown Pittsburgh. Working collaboratively with its partners, the PDP strives to create a positive Downtown experience for residents, workers and visitors alike. The PDP’s strategic initiatives include clean and safe services, transportation, economic development, and advocacy. For more information, visit www.DowntownPittsburgh.com, follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/downtownpitt and “like” us on Facebook.

 

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