New legislation (Council Bill 2021-1085) at the City of Pittsburgh is being considered for design standards for off-street parking for single-family attached homes. This comes after advocacy from Lawrenceville United and 11 other organizations called for this additional measure, among other measures, to limit the propagation of driveway curb cuts on walkable streets, due to the damage they do to public off-street parking, safety and accessibility, housing affordability, the creation of street trees, non-vehicular mobility, and neighborly interaction.
A Planning Commission hearing on the legislation is scheduled for Tuesday 2/23 at 2 p.m. Planning Commission will then provide a recommendation to City Council, who will also have a public hearing and then take final action on the zoning text amendment.
LU and partners will be providing testimony to support the proposed legislation, and once again advocating for further steps to limit the spread of driveway curb cuts on our walkable blocks. Read our full testimony HERE and contact Dave@LUnited.org or 412-802-7220 to get involved in this campaign.
On Tuesday, Feb. 16th at 6:30 p.m., LU hosted our February “Happenings” meeting, with a focus on recent crime trends. Dr. Heath Johnson from the Bureau of Police led a presentation on crime statistics for Lawrenceville in 2020 compared to 5-year averages. Lieutenant Lackner, Acting Commander of Zone 2 Police, provided an update on recent issues of concern, including a murder on the 4400 block of Davison Street, the arrests related to the bomb explosion in Lower Lawrenceville, and more. LU also provided some community updates.
Some key takeaways from the conversation with the Police:
Following City trends, total crime in Lawrenceville went down significantly in 2020 from the previous year (15%) and from the 5-year average (28%).
Violent crimes in Lawrenceville, however, went up by 14% in 2020, driven by an increase in robberies. There was also a murder on Kent Way. Zone 2 Police provided context that the robberies were largely people known to each other. Even this increase in violent crime in 2020 represents a 39% decrease over the 5 year average. No arrests have been made in the murder on Kent Way and the investigation is ongoing.
Property crimes were down 31% in 2020 from the previous year and 43% from the 5 year average, driven by reduction in Burglary & Theft.
Part II (less serious) crimes were also down 6% from the previous year. In particular, the year saw big decreases in simple assault, DUIs, and public drunkenness. However, 2020 saw an increase in vandalism and disorderly conducts.
Heroin overdoses dropped significantly since highs in 2017, however have been increasing year by year since.
Regarding the murder on Davison Street, police believe this was not a random shooting. While they have made no arrest yet, they have a suspect, who they believe was in the car at the time of the case, and they are building a case.
Regarding the bomb incident in Lower Lawrenceville, an arrest was made with federal charges, and they believe the threat has been removed from the neighborhood.
To access all the materials from the meeting:
Watch the full recording of the meeting by Zoom HERE or by Facebook Live HERE.
Workshop for Homeowners in Lawrenceville (and beyond!).
On Monday, 11/16 at 6pm, Lawrenceville United is hosting a workshop for homeowners with fantastic and knowledgeable speakers from Action Housing, Urban Redevelopment Authority, City of Bridges CLT and the Duquesne University Law Clinic.
Join us to learn about local resources available to help you with:
A Planning Commission hearing was held on 6/30/2020 on this proposed legislation. Read LU’s submitted testimony HERE. The Planning Commission recommended that Council pass the zoning text amendments and also pursue fact finding around stronger measures to limit curb cuts across the City.
The legislation then proceeded to City Council, where another public hearing was held on 9/30/2020 at 2 p.m. LU joined with 11 other community organizations in issuing a joint letter calling for City Council to immediately amend the legislation to include the curb cut design standards for the RIV (riverfront zoning) in R1A (single-family attached residential zoning, i.e. row house neighborhoods).
For any input or to get involved, please contact LU at 412-802-7220 or info@LUnited.org.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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).
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:
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.