Essential Pittsburgh
3:20 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

How Walkable is the City of Pittsburgh?

Pedestrians cross Forbes Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh Wednesday.
Pedestrians cross Forbes Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh Wednesday.
Credit Chris Squier / 90.5 WESA

George Washington University recently published a study naming the nation’s most walkable cities. These cities attract talented young professionals, who are drawn to urban spaces in which the major business and retail areas can be traversed by foot.

Pittsburgh ranked 9th in the nation. Patrick Lynch, research and development manager for the George Washington University Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis, said Pittsburgh could see its ranking drop in the future.

“That [drop] is mainly due to the fact that premiums for office rents in walkable places in Pittsburgh were a bit less than we found in some other cities," he said.

"One other thing is that … virtually all of Pittsburgh’s walkable urban places are located in … the city of Pittsburgh itself. What we found in other places, particularly Washington D.C., is that when you can start to urbanize the suburbs, when you can start to create walkable urban spaces in the suburbs, that … would help a city increase in this ranking.”

But the results of that study hide a dangerous truth: More than 200 people are hit by vehicles in the city’s streets each year, according to a recent interactive report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Reporters Andrew McGill and Madeline Conway said there is no one answer or easy solution to this problem, but a confluence of factors has created several particularly dangerous intersections.