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Consultant suggests West Otterman and West Pittsburgh switch from 1-way roadways

| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Map of the Greensburg neighborhoods included in first draft of the health care district plan.

A plan to change sections of West Pittsburgh and West Otterman streets from one-way to two-way travel to promote development in Greensburg's 5th and 6th wards received another plug from a consultant during a meeting this week.

Paul Ostergaard, managing partner of Urban Design Associates of Pittsburgh, explained that changing the streets to two-way travel will not only enhance traffic flow but also increase property values in the area.

His firm's review also shows the change — something Ostergaard first mentioned during a meeting this summer — could make pedestrian travel safer and easier, especially near Excela Health's Greensburg hospital.

He presented his group's first draft for a proposed health care district in Greensburg to about 85 residents and community leaders at Greensburg Salem Middle School on Monday evening.

“We're just encouraging you to think about this (the roadway changes),” Ostergaard told the audience. “We don't want to force anything on you.”

City Council hired Ostergaard's firm to listen to residents and business leaders, analyze their concerns and make suggestions.

City officials said they hope to spark development and enhance the two wards via the health care district.

The city Planning Commission will vote on the draft next month, followed by City Council in December.

“It's a menu of opportunities,” Ostergaard said. “Not all of this is going to be selected.”If both boards accept the plan, then city leaders will meet with partners, such as Westmoreland County and PennDOT, to come up with financing and possible traffic-pattern options, city planner Barb Ciampini said.

As an alternative to two-way travel, the consultant proposes that both East Pittsburgh and East Otterman streets stay one-way, but use only one lane for vehicles. The travel lanes for the two roads would go in opposite directions, with the remaining vehicle lane of each possibly used for a bicycle path and other improvements.

Urban Design promotes extensive commercial and residential development off Depot Street and endorses a pedestrian/bike bridge over railroad tracks to connect Seton Hill University with the Depot Street area.

Ostergaard recommended a new connecting road to Daniels & Miller scrap yard, an examination by Excela officials to consolidate their parking and the addition of more green space.

City leaders do not want to remove residents from their homes, unless they want to sell, Ciampini said, addressing concerns voiced by some audience members.

“We want you to stay,” she said. “The goal is to keep you as our residents.”

Most of the development will depend on private financing, Ostergaard said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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