‘An Invasion Of Commuters,’ Transit Corridor Continues To Concern Residents In The Run

Dec 28, 2017

Stretching roughly from the edge of Panther Hollow to the base of Greenfield Avenue, the neighborhood of Four Mile Run is low-lying and has endured repeated flooding over the last several years.

Many of the neighborhood's residents say, though they like living in the neighborhood, they're concerned about flooding. 

The Greenfield Community Association conducted a 152-question community survey in The Run over the summer and fall and released results earlier this month; 72 out of 172 households participated.

Of those who responded, 70 percent own their homes and more than 90 percent said they intend to stay in The Run, calling their neighborhood a “Very Good” or “Excellent” place to live. Nearly all residents supported improvements such as signage and plantings at the entrance to the neighborhood.

However, 31 percent of participating residents said they feel unsafe with regards to flooding and noted they would participate in an early warning system if one existed. A majority of residents have experienced flooding in yards or basements, and reported an average of three sewage backups.

Some residents wonder if those issues could be related to levels of asthma and the occurrence of persistent mold in homes, also captured by the survey, said resident Michael Vincent, who was part of the community census project team.

“With so many people’s basements being flooded ... there’s possibility of mold and other contaminants,” he said.

A green infrastructure project scheduled to begin this year in Junction Hollow is expected to help improve stormwater management and to prevent flooding in The Run. The survey indicated that residents might not expect much from the city, though: more than half of respondents disagreed with the statement “Local government is engaged and responsive to community concerns.”

One of those concerns is the proposed development of a transit link between Oakland, The Run, and neighborhoods to the south, including the Hazelwood Green development, formerly known as Almono. While 41 percent of survey participants were aware of and in support of the Hazelwood Green development, 57 percent were aware of and opposed to the development of a transit link with Oakland.

The idea was first proposed in 2015, though it was done largely without resident input. The community learned the URA applied for a grant to build a road to carry shuttle buses between Oakland and Hazelwood Green.

That surprise left a bad taste in people’s mouths, said Vincent.

“A lot of it was done behind closed doors and in private meetings,” he said. “They’ve only been taking steps forward.”

Vincent lives across from a basketball court in The Run and said a commuter link would change the quiet nature of his street.

“It will be a whole different neighborhood for everybody, really, if that would happen,” he said, adding that if more people were aware of the proposal, there would be more opposition. “There’s no benefit for us down here, even if they are talking about putting a transit stop down here. We’ll have an invasion of commuters coming down here to park.”

Residents also expressed concerns about a potential loss of green space, noise pollution and a focus on motorized transport in open-ended survey questions.  

In November, at a community meeting held by the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, city officials said a connectivity link is needed in The Run. 

At its Dec. 14 board meeting, the Urban Redevelopment Authority approved hiring Michael Baker International to create conceptual designs for the so-called “Monongahela-to-Oakland” link.