September Community Happenings meeting

Join us for the monthly Happenings meeting, our Lawrenceville-wide virtual community meeting, next Tuesday, September 15th, at 6:30 p.m.

The Pittsburgh Task Force on Public Algorithms will be presenting on their work and collecting feedback.  As has become part of our new normal, we will share information on lots of practical resources to keep coping with the challenges of COVID-world. We will also share some initial questions and invite your own to prepare for our upcoming membership meeting in October, where we will begin planning together to address the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll also consider how we want to participate in Pittsburgh’s city-wide planning process, now being carried out through online processes and platforms such as EngagePGH.

For more information and for the Zoom link and/or call in information, please contact us at 412-802-7220 or info@lunited.org.

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

 

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.

Update on 27 51st Street (Sears Outlet)

Spear Street Capital (the owner/developer of the site) will be having a Zoning Board hearing on Thursday 2/6 at 9 a.m. at 200 Ross Street in the first floor conference room. This project is under the relatively new Riverfront (RIV) zone, and they are seeking relief from the zoning code for the following:

 

  • Exceeding the maximum number of surface parking spaces (75 permitted and 520 requested)
  • Exceeding the maximum number of parking between a building and the river (15 permitted and 96 requested)

Note: they are not seeking a variance to exceed the maximum number of parking spots allowed under the RIV zoning. The variances are for the way these parking spots are oriented (i.e. in a surface lot, as opposed to a structured parking facility, and the number between the building and the river).

 

LU, together with LC and Riverlife, has been negotiating with Spear Street since the community meeting in October to address concerns that were brought up and create community benefits. The plans and commitments have changed since the community meeting, so please see attached for the following from the developer:

 

  1. Revised site plan
  2. Tree plan for the site
  3. Renderings of the riverfront amenity space (which will be open to the public)
  4. Full zoning package
  5. Summary of improvements
  6. Traffic impact study
To quickly summarize some of the commitments that Spear Street has made:

 

  • Constructing a 1.7 acre green space along the river open to public with a 10′ wide riverfront trail for biking/walking, and 32 public bike parking spaces (and a public bike repair station).
  • Addition of a Healthy Ride station on 51st Street.
  • Planting 349 trees on site, including 60 trees of specific species requested by us that are shown to most reduce particulate matter air pollution, 1,550 shrubs and 3,000 perennials/grasses.
  • Contributing a minimum of $75,000 towards community benefits, including a new bus shelter & pedestrian safety improvements at 51st & Butler.
  • Commitment to hire Minority & Women Business Enterprises.
  • Commitment to join the Pittsburgh 2030 District, which supports building owners to strive toward 50% reductions in energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions by 2030.
  • As part of effort to reduce vehicle trips to the site: providing 150 bike parking spaces with showers and lockers, requiring future tenants to be JobPerks employers, providing carpool parking spaces in priority areas of the lot, and designating a Transportation Demand Management coordinator that will report on progress.
LU plans to attend the Zoning hearing on Thursday. If you have any questions or input, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 412-802-7220 or email me at Dave@LUnited.org.

Recap: Lawrenceville Wide Public Safety Meeting – July 2019

Thank you to Bike Pittsburgh, Better Streets Lawrenceville, City of Pittsburgh Zone 2, Councilwoman Deb Gross’ Office and the City of Pittsburgh Department of Mobility and Infrastructure for presenting to our residents at the most recent Lawrenceville Wide Public Safety Meeting.  The Lawrenceville Wide Public Safety Meeting is a great opportunity to discuss larger issues affecting the neighborhood.

The Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) led an activity that allowed residents to mark and provide feedback about “hot spots’ in the neighborhood on large maps.  Ideally these suggestions will help to provide suggestions to where DOMI can install traffic calming solutions that make the neighborhood safer for all.  Our friends at Bike Pgh and Better Streets Lawrenceville also shared information about the Pittsburgh Bike Plan.  The City of Pittsburgh Bike Plan is taking suggestions and submissions from City of Pittsburgh residents to help inform best ways for pedestrians and cyclist to navigate the neighborhood.

 

Click the links below to see the the presentations from each feature presenter.

 

DOMI Traffic Calming Toolbox

 

Better Streets Lawrenceville

 

BikePGH Presentation – Lawrenceville Public Safety Meeting

Inclusionary Zoning Public Hearing on 7/16, 1:30 p.m.

A public hearing has been scheduled at City Council on the Inclusionary Housing Interim Planning Overlay District for Lawrenceville on July 16th at 1:30 p.m. at Council Chambers in the City-County Building (414 Grant Street, 5th Floor). To register for 3 minutes to speak, fill out the form here by 10:30 a.m. on 7/16, or call the City Clerk office at 412-255-2138. Residents who don’t register in advance may still come to the public hearing and speak for 1 minute.

This is expected to be the last public hearing before City Council votes on the legislation, which was introduced in February by Councilwoman Gross and unanimously recommended by the Planning Commission in April. The legislation requires residential development projects in Lawrenceville over 20 units to include 10% of units for low and moderate income families.

Lawrenceville United fully supports mandatory inclusionary zoning as a tool to create housing opportunities for all as the neighborhood grows. We encourage residents to come to the public hearing on 7/16 to voice their support.

Need help preparing your testimony? Join us on Monday, July 15th from 6-8 p.m. at Goodwill’s Workforce Development Center (118 52nd Street) for support.

Need a ride to the hearing? Call us at 412-802-7220 or email info@LUnited.org.