Share This Page

Proposed pedestrian link between Hill District, Downtown gains momentum

| Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, 2:06 p.m.
This map shows planned improvements to the former Civic Arena site including a proposed pedestrian bridge over I-579 between Centre Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard, which would add a link between Downtown and the Lower Hill. It also shows plans for new roads where the arena stood.
URBAN DESIGN ASSOCIATES
A proposed 'cap' linking the Lower Hill District and downtown Pittsburgh would include a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 579 with trees and sidewalks.

The Sports & Exhibition Authority will spend as much as $1.1 million to determine the cost and feasibility of building a pedestrian bridge that would link Downtown and the Lower Hill District near the spot where the Civic Arena once stood.

Federal money will reimburse the SEA for 80 percent of the cost, said Mary Conturo, the city-county authority's executive director, leaving the public agency with a tab of up to $225,000.

Authority board members voted on Wednesday to give HDR Inc., an engineering firm with offices Downtown, a contract to complete preliminary designs for a so-called “cap” that would span a portion of I-579 between Centre Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard.

The plans are expected to take about nine months to complete.

“This gets us to the point where we can speak with some authority on how feasible this project is and how much it will cost,” Conturo said.

Conceptual drawings show the bridge, including sidewalks and grassy areas connecting Crosstown Park to the undeveloped 28-acre site where the Pittsburgh Penguins have proposed a more than $500 million development that would include retail shops, residences and entertainment venues. No vehicle access is planned for the bridge.

A large portion of the 28-acre site is an 800-space parking lot, which Penguins officials have said is temporary while they complete development plans. Commuters and those attending events at Consol Energy Center, which replaced the Civic Arena on the opposite side of Centre Avenue, use the lot, which generates revenue for the Penguins.

Demolition of the Civic Arena was completed in 2012. Consol Energy Center, its replacement, opened in 2010.

In a separate vote, board members authorized an agreement with Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority that would give the sports authority control of land that will be used for road construction on the Melody Tent site, which was an auxiliary parking lot behind the arena before it was demolished. The URA is set to consider selling the land for $1 at its meeting on Thursday.

Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or aaupperlee@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.