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Pittsburgh could add $1.8M to street paving plan

| Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 1:03 p.m.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto wants to carve $1.8 million from projects in the city's capital budget to ramp up paving of streets decimated by the road-chewing winter.

City Council is considering legislation that would move cash from 14 areas of the capital budget — including dog parks, spray parks and equipment for firefighters — to pave 40 miles of streets, or 11 more than planned.

“I would like to keep money in some of these programs, but we need to fix our streets,” said Councilman Dan Gilman of Shadyside, adding that streets in East End neighborhoods he represents are horrendous.

Nearly 64 percent of Pittsburgh's 866 miles of asphalt streets have the lowest road surface rating — zero. The city budgeted $7.2 million to pave about 29 miles this year. The extra cash would permit paving 40 miles and bring total spending to about $9 million, Operations Chief Guy Costa said.

“We ask residents to be patient with us,” Costa said. “A lot of our streets disintegrated over the winter.”

If council approves, officials will transfer money from projects left from the 2012 capital budget to pay for paving. Costa said those projects were completed; some cash was budgeted for projects that won't start this year.

Several council members said they wanted to find out what projects would be cut and what streets would be paved before they vote to transfer money.

“I have to see how this would affect neighborhoods citywide,” said Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith of Westwood.

Costa said the city will release a list of streets to be paved soon. He said they include sections of Fifth Avenue in eastern neighborhoods, Shady Avenue in Shadyside, and North Avenue and Federal Street in the North Side.

Peduto's street is not on the list, his spokesman Tim McNulty said.

The city paved Negley Run Boulevard and is concentrating on streets that are on the route for this weekend's Pittsburgh Marathon, Costa said.

“Our roads are something that are shared by all of our residents, as well as people who come into the city for work,” said Councilman Ricky Burgess of North Point Breeze. “I applaud the decision to put more money into street paving.”

Bob Bauder is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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