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Downtown Street Spaces to be Reimagined for Expanded Outdoor Dining

Monday, June 22, 2020

Look for new ways to (safely) enjoy your favorite Downtown restaurants and businesses. We recently announced plans to reimagine streets throughout the Golden Triangle, expanding outdoor dining and sidewalk space impacting 72 restaurants and nearby businesses.

Downtowners enjoy eating outside along 6th Street in the Cultural District

Initial priority locations are at 6th Street from Liberty Avenue to Fort Duquesne Boulevard, Strawberry Way between Smithfield St. and Grant Street, Penn Avenue between 9th St. and 10th St., and Market Square, which collectively will impact 72 restaurants and other nearby businesses. The outdoor spaces are expected to be fully activated by early July.

“These small businesses represent the life blood of our vibrant Downtown, so we are reinventing our street spaces to create outdoor dining experiences that allow restaurants further opportunities to reopen safely while delivering unique destinations in the heart of our City,” said Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of the PDP. “These inviting spaces will continue to evolve over the next few weeks as we introduce public art and live music.” 

The street modifications are a result of the collaborative efforts by the PDP, the Mayor’s Office, and the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI), Pittsburgh Public Safety, as well as local engineering firms Michael Baker, Traffic Planning and Design, the Port Authority, and Parking Authority. The redesign required extensive conversation and collaboration with stakeholders who live, work, visit, and study in Downtown to understand and accommodate their ongoing needs while also reconfiguring the roadway.

“In the evolving situation we find ourselves, these kinds of solutions provide opportunities for us to serve our customers while prioritizing their health and safety. We know customers feel much more comfortable and enjoy being in outdoor spaces right now, so we’re excited to have the room to make that happen.”

David Priselac, owner of Market Street Grocery and Emerson’s

The Richard King Mellon Foundation provided a grant to help fund the project, through its COVID-19 Economic Impact and Recovery initiative. The Foundation has been a longtime champion of Downtown economic development, awarding 181 grants to Downtown projects over the last 20 years, totaling $85 million. Said Sam Reiman, Director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation: “This project is a wonderful example of the meaningful work that can be done when the private and public sectors work quickly together to make a difference. We salute the Downtown Partnership team for leading the effort and we are pleased to provide quick funding to help. Downtown economic development is important to the entire region.”

Additional funding and consultation in support of the Downtown recovery process and initiatives such as the street reconfiguration project was generously provided by PNC Bank. Lou Cestello, PNC’s head of regional markets and regional president of Pittsburgh, reiterated the commitment to support reactivation efforts, stating that, “PNC is proud to call Downtown Pittsburgh home, and we know many of our neighboring small businesses and restaurants are hurting right now. We hope that our support of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s efforts will help to reinvigorate the vibrant Downtown dining and entertainment scene we’ve grown accustomed to, while at the same time, keeping patrons safe and healthy.”

The reconfigured street spaces are expected to remain a fixture until mid to late October and will require adjustments to pavement markings and signage while providing the appropriate barricades, ADA accomodations, and seating options to ensure a safe and well-maintained experience for both businesses and customers. The PDP also anticipates expanding this effort to other locations Downtown throughout the summer. 

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