Pittsburgh’s Grant Street has been recognized as one of the greatest streets in America.
The American Planning Association (APA) designated Grant Street as one of 10 great streets for 2012 under the organization’s Great Places in America program. The program looks for architecture and infrastructure that exemplifies exceptional character while also highlighting the role planning and planners play in communities.
Jeff Soule, Director of Outreach and International Programming Operations for the APA said for a street to be considered “great”, it has to serve a variety of functions.
“Access to businesses, treating pedestrians and bicyclists fairly, providing transit, for example, as well as automobiles,” Soule said.
According to the APA, the 11 blocks that run between Fort Pitt Boulevard and Liberty Avenue are among Pittsburgh’s most frequently trafficked and are a popular destination for residents, commuters, and visitors.
Soule said the architecture found along the street helped with the ranking.
“You have the Frick building and the Grant building from the early part of the 20th century,” said Soule. “You have the Allegheny County Courthouse, which is iconic, in fact some of the new buildings were purposefully shaped to maintain the view of the Allegheny County Courthouse, and then all the way up to the U.S. Steel Building.”
Soule said the “Great Street” program shows how planning is all about outcomes and conversations.
“We like to get people talking about, ‘well is Grant Street really a great street?,’ You know, ‘How did it come to be?’ We draw attention to the way people engage their community in the planning process,” Soule said.