Update: off-street parking requirements for rowhouse neighborhoods

In March, Mayor Peduto introduced zoning text amendments with a goal of “improving pedestrian safety, enhancing neighborhood walkability, and promoting non-vehicular mobility.” Under this proposed legislation, minimum parking requirements would be reduced from 1 to 0 in R1A (residential, single-family attached AKA rowhouse) neighborhoods like Lawrenceville. Maximum parking requirements would remain the same (4). For more information, check out this City Paper article from Ryan Deto.

A Planning Commission hearing was held on 6/30/2020 on this proposed legislation. LU, along with Lawrenceville Corporation and members of Lawrenceville Stakeholders, all provided testimony in support of the goals of the legislation and encouraging the City of Pittsburgh to go further by providing additional tools to communities to restrict integral garages and curb cuts on primary streets. As LU has heard repeatedly through the Lawrenceville Community Process, the continued creation of curb cuts, driveways, and front-facing off-street parking has a number of detrimental impacts to the neighborhood: removing precious public on-street parking for a single user, reducing the walkability and accessibility of our sidewalks, driving up housing prices, permanently preventing the ability to plant street trees, and demoting neighborly interaction at the street level. For all these reasons, LU is encouraging the City of Pittsburgh to restrict off-street parking for single-family homes to be accommodated from rear alleyways and not primary streets — or else make front-facing off-street parking require a variance or special exception at the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Read LU’s submitted testimony HERE.

After the hearing, the Planning Commission passed two motions: one motion recommended the proposed zoning text amendments in 2020-0198, and the second motion recommended that City Planning conduct exploratory research on additional legislation to further reduce the preponderance of curb cuts across the City.

The legislation will now move forward to City Council, where another public hearing will be scheduled. LU will keep the community informed as this gets scheduled!

For any input or to get involved, please contact LU at 412-802-7220 or info@LUnited.org.

Picture shows integral garages at corner of 52nd and Keystone Streets in Upper Lawrenceville
Photo credit: Ryan Deto, City Paper

 

Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program voucher applications open!

2020 Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

 

The annual Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) is available to eligible residents of Allegheny County. Eligible individuals may receive one set of checks worth $24 to be spent at participating farmers markets.

 

The 2020 Senior Farmers Market Program will look different this year due to COVID-19. The distribution of checks will not occur at senior centers. Instead, checks will be distributed by mail to eligible Allegheny County residents that complete an application. Applications may be downloaded from the website: https://www.alleghenycounty.us/Human-Services/Programs-Services/Basic-Needs/Senior-Farmers-Market-Nutrition-Program.aspx. Applications may also be requested by emailing AAA-SFMNP@alleghenycounty.us or by calling (412) 350-4219. Only completed applications received by September 24, 2020 will be processed.

 

Completed applications may be emailed to:  AAA-SFMNP@alleghenycounty.us

 

Mail completed paper applications to:         Area Agency on Aging

Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

2100 Wharton Street, 2nd Floor

Pittsburgh, PA 15203

 

Check distribution begins on Tuesday, June 16th. Checks are distributed on a first come, first served basis, no exceptions.

 

The checks may be used through November 30th to purchase produce that is grown in Pennsylvania or purchased directly from a Pennsylvania farmer. Examples of Pennsylvania produce are apples, beans, berries, carrots, grapes, melons, spinach and tomatoes. Consumers must spend the entire $6.00 check; change will not be given. Lost or stolen checks will not be replaced.

 

Eligibility:

  • Allegheny County resident
  • 60 years of age or older (by December 31, 2020)
  • Meet the income guidelines (self-reported):
    • One-person household: At or below $23,606
    • Two-person household: At or below $31,894*

*Married couples may each receive one set of checks

  • Older adults living in a residential facility that provides meals are not eligible to receive checks

 

CLICK HERE FOR THE APPLICATION

2020 Board Elections + Spring Membership Meeting

 

Please join us for our annual Spring Membership Meeting & Board Elections on Thursday, June 11th at 6 p.m. The agenda will include:

  1. Board Elections: Each of the 14 candidates for the Board will share a few words about who they are and why they want to be on the Board.
  2. Open Q&A/comments: LU staff will respond to any questions, comments, and input from the community.
  3. Membership mixer: People participating by Zoom or by phone will break out into smaller groups to get to know each other and enjoy some neighborly company. BYOB, if you so choose!

 

More information about the meeting:

  • How to participate by Zoom: Due to COVID-19, we will continue to host our meetings virtually until further notice. We encourage you to participate by Zoom via computer or phone, as that will allow us the most amount of two-way dialogue. All LU active members will receive an invitation with instructions on how to participate by computer and how to call in by phone.
  • How to become a member, or renew your membership: If you need to renew your membership, or have never been a member of LU, you can renew/become a member online here, do it over the phone by calling 412-802-7220, or request to have a membership application mailed to you. Given COVID-19 and the economic uncertainty of so many, we are waiving membership fees this year for anyone who needs it. Any questions, please let us know.
  • How to participate by Facebook: We’ll also broadcast the meeting via Facebook Live, which you can access on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LawrencevilleUnited/). Please note that if you join by Facebook, you’ll only be able to use the comments box to participate, and we do plan on having some break-out groups later, so you won’t be able to participate in that portion.
  • How to view later if you’re unavailable: We’ll record the first two portions of the agenda and share them on our website and e-newsletter for folks who missed the meeting. UPDATE: View the Zoom recording here, or the Facebook Live video here.
  • How to vote in the Board elections: If your membership is current, you can vote for candidates for the Board of Directors by: (1) returning a ballot by mail to 118 52nd Street, Suite 2026, Pittsburgh, PA 15201; or (2) voting online via THIS FORM. The deadline to vote is Wednesday, June 17th. No votes received after June 17th will be accepted.

 

Slate of Candidates for LU Board of Directors Click on any candidate’s name to review their bio. Asterisks*** next to the name signify that this candidate is a current Board member running for re-election. Please note that two candidates on the paper ballot have asked to be removed from the ballot: Jen Bohland-Anhalt and Heather Mallak.

 

FAQs:

  • What is the Board? The Board of Directors is the governing body of LU. These volunteers set the strategic direction of the organization, evaluate the performance of the Executive Director, and make decisions about key positions.
  • How is the Board elected? LU’s Board of Directors are elected through a democratic process. Each year, all eligible candidates are put on a slate and elected by our membership.
  • Who is eligible to be an LU member? Anyone who resides in Lawrenceville, or has resided in Lawrenceville for more than 365 days in the last 15 years.
  • What Board positions are available: There are two kinds of Board positions: by-ward seats (which are based on each neighborhood to ensure geographic diversity of the Board) and at-large seats (which are open to any eligible member). Each Board member serves a 2-year term and elections are staggered, so roughly half of our Board seats are up for election each year. Nine (9) at-large seats are up for election in 2020. Additionally, there are currently two (2) vacancies in the by-ward seats: one for the 6th Ward (Lower Lawrenceville) and one for the 10th Ward (Upper Lawrenceville). There are 14 candidates (including 6 current Board members running for re-election) in the current slate.

 

Joint Statement from LU and LC

Lawrenceville United and Lawrenceville Corporation stand in solidarity with protests calling for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others, and demanding change to the continued realities of structural racism, oppression, and violence against Black Americans across  our nation and in our backyard. 

 

Right here in Lawrenceville, we see these disparities reflected in our neighborhood’s legacy as a redlined neighborhood and through ongoing displacement that disproportionately affects our Black neighbors. We see racial disparities in our public schools, where the large opportunity gap results in an achievement gap that persists at over 30 points, and where Black girls are referred to police more often than 99% of similar cities. We see it in our criminal justice system, where nearly 84% of youth who are arrested are Black, despite only accounting for 25% of the City’s population.  

 

Our local economy is riddled with these same racial disparities. While Black men in Pittsburgh attain higher levels of education than those in 60% of comparable cities, the concentration of Black men in lower paying jobs is higher in Pittsburgh than 99% of other cities. Given the gap between White and Black employment rates, Pittsburgh’s low Black employment is not due to the local economy, but the failure and refusal of local employers to hire Black workers seeking jobs. The Pittsburgh Metro Area has one of the lowest rates of black homeownership in the country, evidence of Black applicants for all types of loans being rejected at more than double the rate of White applicants. And most recently, it was estimated that 90% of businesses of color stood no chance at all of receiving funds from the Small Business Administration to support business operations in the wake of COVID-19.  

 

We can’t call ourselves an inclusive or safe neighborhood while these realities persist for our Black and Brown neighbors. 

 

These inequities are systemic, and we all have responsibility in addressing them. At LU, we’ll continue to strive to live up to our mission of improving quality of life for all, while championing equity and inclusion as core values of our organization and our community. Some of the ways we’re continuing to address these issues include: advocating for housing and education justice, working to address disparities in public safety by co-facilitating implicit bias and bystander intervention trainings, providing full scholarships to vendors representing Black and other underrepresented identities at the Lawrenceville Farmers Market, budgeting funds in 2020 for anti-racism and anti-oppression trainings for our organization and the community, and recently changing our by-laws to allow former residents–including those who have been displaced–to be able to vote and run for our Board of Directors. At LC, we are also investing in training for our organization and working to build organizational leadership and committees that are more inclusive and diverse, while also developing new programs focused on protecting and supporting minority and women owned businesses and entrepreneurs.  We are committed to advancing fairness, justice, and equity through our work and will demand dignity, respect, and opportunity for all from all community planning and development projects.  

 

We recognize there is more work to do, and as ever, we invite your input on how we’re doing and how we can do better. 

 

In a spirit of unity and urgency, we’re encouraging residents and other stakeholders who are able to make a contribution to local Black-led organizations that are on the front lines of racial justice in Pittsburgh. This week, we’re encouraging our neighbors to give to 1Hood Media, “a collective of socially conscious artists and activists who utilize art to raise awareness about social justice matters,” providing platforms for youth to tell their own stories and inspiring the activists of tomorrow. You can donate to their organization here, or by stopping by the “Info Booth” at Opening Day at the Lawrenceville Farmers Market (Tuesday, June 2nd from 4-7 p.m. at Arsenal Park).

Recap from May Lawrenceville-Wide Community Meeting

The May Lawrenceville-Wide Virtual Community Meeting was held on 5/19/2020 from 6:30-8 p.m.

  • View the full video recording by Zoom here, or by Facebook Live here.
  • View the presentation from Age Friendly Pittsburgh here.
  • View the presentation about the Lawrenceville Farmers Market here.

A Message from the Lawrenceville Fireworks Committee

Dear Community Members:

The members of the Lawrenceville Fireworks Committee hope this message finds everyone safe and healthy. It is with a great deal of sadness that we must inform you that this year’s July 4th Celebration scheduled for June 27, 2020 at Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville is canceled.  This was a very difficult decision that the Committee struggled with for quite some time.  Some of the issues we have been dealing with included: will we be permitted to have an event and if so what limitations will be placed on the type of celebration we will be permitted to have; the loss of the ability to raise contributions from the business community; the need to consider early cancelation dates that would allow us to cancel event activities without a financial penalty; and most importantly the safety of event attendees and volunteers. The Committee is 100% committed to bringing the event back next year. As a matter of fact, we will be planning a bigger event to celebrate the comeback. The Committee would like to thank you the members of the community for your patience and understanding.  Please stay safe and stay healthy.

– The Lawrenceville Fireworks Committee

 

Recap from Virtual Community Meeting on 4/28

The Virtual Lawrenceville-Wide Public Safety Meeting on COVID-19 was held on Tuesday, April 28th at 6 p.m through Zoom, by phone, and through Facebook Live. Huge thanks to our partners at Lawrenceville Corporation, State Rep. Ravenstahl’s office, State Rep. Innamorato’s office, Department of Public Safety, Regional Housing Legal Services, and Just Harvest for attending. For those who missed the meeting, you can watch the video HERE through Zoom or HERE through Facebook Live

For the presentations from the meeting, please see below:

Senior Food Boxes

Thanks to Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh and the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank, LU is excited to offer low-income seniors with a monthly box of food delivered to your house. The boxes will include canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, beans, cereal, pasta, bottled juice, shelf-stable milk, canned meat and 2 pounds of cheese. The next delivery will be on 5/13/20.

 

Application

Please complete this form to apply. Currently, the food bank is waiving proof of income and ID requirement. Forms must be turned in by Monday 5/4 to Buddies@LUnited.org to receive a box on 5/13. Applicants can also call 412.802.7220 to complete it by phone. Every two years, participants have to re-certify by providing updated income information. If you have someone that you’d like to authorize to re-certify you, please list that person as the “caretaker.”

 

Eligibility

To qualify, individuals must be 60 years or older with incomes less than 130% of the federal poverty guidelines (see chart below or click here).

 

Additional resources

Check out this handy resource from Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh for additional resources:

 

2020 Board Elections

Want to make a difference in your neighborhood? Consider running for an open at-large position on Lawrenceville United’s Board of Directors!

 

What does the Board do?

The Board governs the organization and is ultimately responsible for LU’s conduct. The Board is responsible for setting LU’s goals in pursuit of its mission to improve and protect quality of life for all Lawrenceville residents, overseeing the Executive Director, monitoring the financial health of the organization, and making key decisions on matters affecting the community. For more information, please see this job description.

 

What’s the commitment like?

Board members are expected to serve at least one full term (2 years), attend monthly Board meetings, participate in at least one Board Committee (which usually meet every other month), participate in the annual Board training, and make a personally meaningful donation to the organization.

 

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Must be Lawrenceville resident or, if no longer resident, have lived at least 1 year in Lawrenceville within the past 15 years.
  • Only individuals 18 years or older who are LU members by 3/1/2020 are eligible (to check your membership status, please email info@LUnited.org).

 

Timeline

  • 5/7 – Deadline to submit a Board application
  • 6/3– Spring membership meeting
  • 6/24 – First Board meeting

Lawrenceville United is committed to building a more diverse and inclusive Board of Directors and organization, and we especially encourage residents from underrepresented populations to apply: Black, Indigenous & People Of Color, renters, parents of young children, immigrants, women, older adults, people with disabilities, and people with low income.

The COVID-19 Corner: Information and local resources to protect and care for each other

Updated 4/17/2020

Now more than ever, it’s important that we work together as a community to take care of all our neighbors. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, LU is communicating with partners in Lawrenceville and beyond to anticipate needs in the weeks ahead. Please know that we’re here for you and don’t hesitate to reach out with your needs during this uncertain time: 412-802-7220 or info@LUnited.org. For general guidance and information, follow the most recent updates from the CDC, the Allegheny County Health Department, and PA’s Department of Health. Residents can create an account at www.alleghenycounty.us/alerts to subscribe for COVID-19 alerts from ACHD under the categories of Health Department/Health & Environment. See below for a number of local resources. For additional ones, dial 2-1-1, check out Rep. Innamorato’s COVID-19 Resource Guide, and this Pittsburgh Mutual Aid Spreadsheet.

LU notices

LU no longer has access to its office and our staff is working from home. We continue to be available by phone at 412-802-7220 and email at info@LUnited.org. All LU block watches and community meetings in March are cancelled. All LU committee meetings in March will be conducted via phone/video conference, or else postponed. Goodwill generously provided adjacent space for us to continue 412 Food Rescue donations. We’ll update the community with ongoing changes at www.LUnited.org/coronavirus, social media, the LU e-newsletter, and targeted robo-dials to older adults. Please assist us with sharing information/resources with hard-to-reach neighbors.

FOR UPDATES ON NEIGHBORHOOD COVID-19 TEST RESULTS
For up to date information and neighborhood-level data on COVID-19 testing results, visit this Allegheny County Health Department website. It’s very important to remember that testing has been limited and many people who have contracted COVID-19 don’t show symptoms even as they unknowingly carry the bug far and wide. Please stay safe, stay home, and keep AT LEAST six feet of distance from others. 

CLOTH MASKS TO SLOW THE SPREAD: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC), Governor Wolf, and the Department of Health are stressing that “it is important that as many people as possible wear a nonmedical or homemade mask when leaving their homes.” Please check out the CDC’s updated guidance on making and wearing masks to help protect each other since many of us don’t show symptoms for days, even weeks, and can unwittingly spread the bug even when we’re feeling perfectly healthy.

 

 

 

Here’s a link to a CDC video of the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams himself demonstrating how to make an easy, no-sew mask using a t-shirt and rubber bands. And here’s another graphic tutorial for how to make a mask out of a t-shirt (cotton is recommended by the CDC.)

 

For older adults & others at higher risk and need.

According to the CDC, older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, and are recommended to stay home and away from other people (at least 6 feet).

The CDC further encourages residents “to seek out a ‘buddy’ who will check on and help care for them if they get sick.” For residents who don’t know how to seek out a “buddy,” 250+ Lawrenceville residents have stepped up to support those who are at higher risk from COVID-19 by offering to do check-in phone calls, pick up and deliver groceries/prescriptions, prepare home-cooked meals, share relevant health information, provide pet care, take out the garbage, collect mail, and more.

Working with our organizational partners Lawrenceville United, Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, Bloomfield Development Corporation, Polish Hill Neighbors Group, and Operation Better Block, we now have such an abundance of ready helpers that we have now expanded the program and are signing up not only seniors, but folks of all ages with medical conditions, families with children, and folks of all ages that find it difficult or more risky to travel outside the home due to disabilities or other physical challenges. People who need assistance can sign up HERE up or by calling 412-802-7220. If you want to volunteers please fill out THIS FORM. And please pass on the word to your neighbors!

 

Locally, all known pharmacies in the neighborhood currently offer delivery services:

  • Wilson’s Pharmacy (412.621.6471) offers free delivery typically between 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Simply call ahead with your order. They can also include other items like drinks/candy, etc.
  • Shop N Save Pharmacy (412.784.8600) offers free delivery during their regular hours (9 a.m. – 7 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. weekends). Just call ahead. They’re a separate entity than the grocery store and can’t include groceries, but can order over-the-counter medications that are out of stock and include that for delivery with a day’s notice.
  • The Rite Aids in Lawrenceville (412.682.6970) and Bloomfield (412.621.9987) offer delivery  of prescriptions on weekdays in the later afternoon if you call the day before. Depending on Rite Aid Wellness status, there may be a $3 delivery fee. Possible to add over-the-counter medicines for delivery with prescription.

 

For folks facing food, housing, & financial insecurity

Food:

Please share this constantly updated Free Resource Distribution Sites map for food and other needed resources. Here’s a few of our Lawrenceville neighborhood food distribution sites:

  • Call LU before Fridays if you want to pick up food through our 412 Food Rescue donation program: 412-802-7220.
  • Registered members of the Lawrenceville Healthy Active Living (Senior) Center can get pre-packaged meals given out 11 AM to 1 PM on M/W/F. Need a delivery? Call us at 412-802-7220. Members can also request a monthly food box through the Food Bank with the Senior Center at 412-622-6918.
  • The Lawrenceville Food Pantry is open Mondays & Tuesdays from 11 AM to 12:30 PM at St. Mary’s Lyceum. No eligibility documents are required for the first pick-up. Can do delivery, but call ahead to 412.682.3877.
  • Apply for SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps) with the help of Just Harvest. Call (412) 431-8960 x602, leave your name and contact info and the best time to reach you Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at or by filling out the form on this page.
  • Pittsburgh Public Schools added a “Grab & Go” location in Lawrenceville at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church at 237 37th Street (church building shown below.) Meals will be distributed between 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM Monday, Tuesday and Friday.
  • Other nearby Grab & Go locations are:

 

 

 

 

 

Housing/Utilities:

  • There’s a moratorium on evictions in Allegheny County through April 14. You cannot be evicted during this time. “Self-help” evictions (changing locks, turning off utilities) are illegal and should be reported to the PA Office of Attorney General.
  • COVID-19 Housing Stabilization Fund: 412.227.4163, ura.org/pages/covid-19 
  • LU also has some small funds for folks experiencing housing instability right now: 412.802.7220.

Utilities:

Financial:

Mental/Emotional Support

  • Re:Solve: crisis hotline, 24-hour service – 888-796-8226
  • PSAN “Warmline”: mental health support by phone, 10am-midnight – 866-661-9276.
  • Disaster Distress Hotline (SAMHSA): 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
  • PA Dept. of Health: text “PA” to 741-741

 

For families

  • FAMILY STRENGTHS SURVEY DURING COVID-19

    COVID-19 (the new coronavirus) has challenged all of us. Parents and adult caregivers are vital for ensuring children continue to thrive during these tough times. Sharing your experience can help ensure resources are accessible, especially where they will do the most good. Please take the Family Strengths Survey and help improve COVID-19 response efforts. We want to learn about what has been helpful.

    • How are you and your family doing this week?
    • Are there resources we should share with others?
    • What resources do families need the most right now?

    Let us know by completing this anonymous survey – your name is not connected to your responses. The survey is available here: https://www.pediatrics.pitt.edu/family-strengths-survey

  • Multiple volunteers have offered to provide childcare and even education services for local families. Contact LU at 412-802-7220 for more information.
  • Pittsburgh Public Schools added a “Grab & Go” location in Lawrenceville at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church at 237 37th Street (church building shown above in the food resources section of this page.) Meals will be distributed between 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Other nearby Grab & Go locations are Pittsburgh Obama (515 N Highland Ave), Pittsburgh Weil (2250 Centre Ave), and Pittsburgh Spring Hill (1351 Damas St.) PPS is also using these sites to distribute grade-level activity packets for students out of school. 

For the helpers

  • The Lawrenceville Food Pantry needs volunteers to pack bags anytime between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays. Call 412-704-5640 if you can help.
  • Join over 100 Lawrenceville neighbors and sign up to become a “Buddy” to a higher risk neighbor by checking in with them by phone, sharing updates, delivering groceries/prescriptions/needed items, or sharing a meal. To sign up, please complete THIS FORM or call 412-802-7220.

Stop the stigma

Per the CDC, “Some groups of people who may be experiencing stigma because of COVID-19 include: persons of Asian descent, people who have traveled, and emergency responders or healthcare providers. Stigma hurts everyone by creating fear or anger towards other people. Stigmatized groups may be subjected to social avoidance or rejection; denials of healthcare, education, housing or employment; and physical violence.

Stigma affects the emotional or mental health of stigmatized groups and our entire community. Stopping stigma is important to making Lawrenceville resilient. Everyone can help stop stigma related to COVID-19 by knowing the facts and sharing them with neighbors.”

Support our small business community

See Lawrenceville Corporation’s constantly updating list of what local businesses are currently open, with suggestions for how to support them right now.