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Bridgeville getting pedestrian-friendly makeover

Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Construction on the sidewalk and road along Washington Pike in Bridgeville continues Wednesday, May 9, 2012. The work is part of a $300,000 Main Street improvement project that will also include the upgrading of lighting.

Thursday, May 10, 2012, 12:30 a.m.

Along Bridgeville's main business district, streets that used to funnel drivers as fast as possible toward Interstate 79 are getting a makeover, with new storefronts and smoother sidewalks more suited to strolling.The borough is several weeks into a $300,000 project to improve about four blocks of Washington Pike between Hickman Street and Bower Hill Road to make the main business district more pedestrian- and shopper-friendly."I hope to see it get completed pretty soon," said Bridgeville Mayor Don Dolde. "It's going to be a big improvement in terms of pedestrian safety and vehicular safety."Crews cut down trees last year whose roots had turned the sidewalk into an uneven mess, and started last month to tear out the old sidewalks on the east side of the street. The west side soon will follow, with the sidewalk work expected to take about 12 weeks altogether."I think the final product is going to be really good for the whole town; it will brighten it up," said Jason Saranick, owner of Saranick's Hardware in the business district. "Right now, traffic's a little more congested, but it's bearable."Insurance agent Matt Baculik said he hopes a more pedestrian-friendly "main street" feel to Washington Pike will entice drivers to slow down as they pass through."Something needs to be done (to calm traffic), because people fly through here right now," he said.The project includes matching grants for property owners to fix up their buildings' facades. Kim Losego is using a grant to improve a building his family owns at the corner of Washington and Hickman for a new yoga studio. He said that unlike surrounding suburbs such as Upper St. Clair or South Fayette, Bridgeville has a strong, walkable business district that could draw high-end clientele with the right mix of improvements and tenants."There's so much affluence around Bridgeville. ... It's got the potential to be nicer than Upper St. Clair, or Shadyside," he said. "It's got a walkability you can't get in other places."

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