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What the PDP is Looking Forward to in 2022

Monday, January 3, 2022

2021 has been a year like no other for Downtown Pittsburgh. Over the past 12 months, our teams have worked to reenergize Downtown and welcome the region back as we push towards a full recovery.  

Throughout 2021, we continued efforts to host safe, inclusive, and innovative events to activate Downtown. We published a Downtown Mobility Plan to guide the future of the neighborhood, created a Downtown Recovery dashboard to inform stakeholders of how many people are back in the Golden Triangle, and turned a highway into a pop-up park full of art, music, and life.

We also celebrated the 60th Anniversary return of Highmark Light Up Night and the 10th Anniversary of the Peoples Gas Holiday Market while ensuring Downtown is a great, clean, and welcoming place to live, work, and visit. 

As we envision the year ahead, a list of priorities has been developed that will keep the momentum moving in the right direction. Look for favorite traditions to return alongside imaginative efforts to continue to revitalize and reforge Downtown Pittsburgh.

In 2022, to make for a more vibrant and engaged Downtown, we’ll be focusing on:

  • Ensuring the Downtown economy thrives
  • Enhancing public safety and social service accessibility
  • Improving the public realm and transportation infrastructure
  • Supporting, growing, and diversifying the small business ecosystem

Ensuring the Downtown economy thrives

Downtown is everyone’s neighborhood, with a significant cultural and civic significance for those who live, work, and play in Southwestern Pennsylvania. As more people return to the office, as hybrid working plans evolve and more residents move into the urban core, it’s vitally important that we ensure that Downtown evolves and meets the needs of workers and residents and we use the limited space available in Downtown as effectively and efficiently as possible.

In 2022, we’ll be working to support the continued investment, particularly in Downtown’s historic office stock, to encourage redevelopment through a new incentive program (stay tuned for details), activating traditional public spaces like Market Square and untraditional spaces with events and activations, and continuing our world-class programming efforts like Picklesburgh, Light Up Night, and World Square.

Enhancing public safety and social service accessibility

For a strong and vibrant Downtown, the neighborhood needs to be welcoming, compassionate, and inclusive for all. While the new Second Avenue Commons shelter will be opening, and our ongoing efforts with our partners at AHN, the City, and County will continue, addressing social and safety challenges (both real and perceived) has never been more important to ensuring that Downtown evolves in a way that does not overlook those most in need.

In 2022, we’ll be increasing the skills and capacity of our Outreach Team, a critical first point of contact for individuals in the neighborhood who may need mental health services, job assistance, or help finding housing. In addition, we’re planning to launch a new ambassador program to serve as a friendly (and familiar) face Downtown, augmenting our existing Clean & Outreach efforts.

Improving the public realm and transportation infrastructure

Downtown is made vibrant by our streets – active and bustling corridors that support commerce and creativity. Improving the public realm and transportation infrastructure ensures that visitors, employees, and residents will all have enjoyable experiences when walking from place to place while continuing to establish the Golden Triangle as a destination that’s attractive to live, work, and play. 

In 2022, we’ll be working collaboratively with our neighborhood stakeholders and the City to upgrade the highly successful outdoor dining districts while preparing for the implementation of the Pittsburgh Pedestrian Wayfinding Project and Bus Rapid Transit. We’ll also be delivering more public art as well as piloting streetscape improvements in priority corridors while continuing our advocacy for improved public asset management and design.

Supporting and growing the small business ecosystem

With an incredibly diverse mix of visitors and employees and an already established coalition of exceptional small businesses, Downtown is the optimal location for new businesses to become established and thrive. Through careful work with stakeholders, business leaders, and neighborhood business owners, we’ve identified key corridors that will see new public and private investment, creating new retail corridors that bring both vibrancy and opportunity for businesses of all types.

In 2022, we’ll be working on targeted Downtown district branding and promotion campaigns that highlight the tremendous assets we already have and attract new businesses, work to create a more efficient pipeline for the recruitment of minority-owned and creative businesses, and enhance our façade renovation program to improve the streetscape experience for our street-level businesses and their clients. 

We’ve got big plans for the year ahead and know that a bright future awaits Downtown Pittsburgh. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to stay connected to what’s happening (and get an inside look at what’s to come) by subscribing to our weekly email newsletter and following us on social media @DowntownPitt on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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