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CMU students study offers ways to improve Aspinwall

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Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Alley A, connecting Aspinwall's business districts, was one of focus of a study by Carnegie Mellon University students.

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Three Carnegie Mellon University students will present a written report to Aspinwall officials on ideas for improving the borough's business district.

The students presented a summary of their findings last week. They focused on three areas — Alley A connecting Brilliant and Commercial avenues, a way-finding system and a business-directory sign.

Under the proposal presented, Alley A would be spruced up to better connect the two business districts on Commercial and Brilliant. Parking would remain, and space for pedestrians and bikers would be designated.

Councilman Joseph Warren said the alley still would be open to cars and trucks that use it on a regular basis.

“It'll still be accessible by traffic,” Warren said.

Signs would guide walkers to different parts of Aspinwall and neighboring communities.

A business directory, similar to a mall-directory sign, would highlight what types of businesses are in the borough, said Geoffrey Snow, one of the students who did the study.

The directory would “give an idea of what's there, what businesses exist and hopefully spark interest and raise traffic to the businesses,” Snow said.

The signs could direct visitors to Aspinwall's business district, the Aspinwall Riverfront Park that is under development, Squaw Valley Park and other landmarks.

Council President Mark Ellermeyer said the Fox Chapel District Association, an organization that works to beautify the region, could get involved to get that sign system going.

“I think that could have more of an impact than coming from Aspinwall,” Ellermeyer said.

Warren thanked the students for their work.

The study was part of the university's “Sustainable Communities Course.” Aspinwall was able to take part because of its participation in Allegheny Together, an economic-development program run through Allegheny County.

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513 or tmcgee@tribweb.com.

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