City of Pittsburgh

Keith Srakocic / AP Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins' development arm, Pittsburgh Arena Real Estate Development LP, is nearing its final deadline to start the first phase of development at the former Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill District.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Shortly after Connor Sites-Bowen moved to Pittsburgh in 2004, he got a little lost trying to get to Greenfield.

“I stopped and asked someone, I said, ‘I’m trying to get over here, which way do I go?’” Sites-Bowen said. “He said, ‘Oh, you go across the Greenfield Bridge right here and you go left where the Bruster’s used to be.’”

It was the “used to be” that stuck with Sites-Bowen. He said just like in any city, people rely on landmarks to get from one place to another, but in Pittsburgh, it doesn’t matter if the landmark exists anymore.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Ashley Morris often brings her 7- and 3-year-old daughters, Taniea and Ta’naea, along with her to run errands downtown. The 26-year-old can’t afford to fix her car, so they take the bus. Even though the line goes right by her place, she doesn’t like living in Hazelwood.

Pittsburgh Vehicle Fleet Gets Grant For Solar Power

Jun 26, 2017
Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh is using a quarter-million dollars in state grants to launch its effort to have a fossil-free vehicle fleet but 2030.

The funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Alternative Fuels Grant program must be matched dollar-for-dollar by the city.

The first grant is worth $80,000 and will be used to purchase as many as 10 electric vehicles.

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County kicked off its Lead Safe Homes Program last week, which helps residents identify and remove lead-based paint hazards in their homes.

The program consists of $4 million, partially funded by a grant through the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Office, which will be used to provide lead remediation in 175 homes.

Liz Reid / 90.5 FM WESA

This is the third in a three-part web series looking ahead to 2017 with members of Pittsburgh City Council. Find part one here and part two here.

Google Maps/ 90.5 WESA

The state Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in an appeal that could decide whether Pittsburgh police officers have to live in the city.

In 2012, the state legislature passed Act 195, which said a municipality may require officers to live in city limits. The previous statute said cities shall have a residency requirement.

A year later, Pittsburgh voters passed a referendum requiring residency.

The Fraternal Order of Police argued residency falls under the category of “working conditions” and is subject to collective bargaining.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Now that Mayor Bill Peduto’s 2017 budget has been approved by the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority Board, there are other hurdles to be cleared before it becomes law. They include coming up with at least $10 million in gaming revenue to balance the budget. In his monthly conversation with Mayor Peduto, 90.5 WESA’s Paul Guggenheimer dives into that topic and other aspects of his spending plan.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity

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Pittsburgh Maker Faire

It’s Burning Man meets craft fair meets science fair meets art, said Pittsburgh Maker Faire Director Kayce Dewey.

Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

For a city molded by its dramatic topography, Pittsburgh has admittedly been a bit neglectful of many of those simple structures that get people up and down the hills: steps.

But over the next year-and-a-half, city leaders are hoping to hear some innovative ideas from national experts on how they can repair and improve the city’s extensive system of staircases.

Though a design firm hasn't been chosen yet, $1.16 million worth of in-kind services furnished by the Citi Foundation means Pittsburgh won't have to pay anything.

Auntie P. / Flickr

The City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and area health and services organizations are collaborating on AIDS Free Pittsburgh, a three-pronged public health initiative.

“We’re going to normalize HIV testing," said Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department. "We’re going to make improvements in standardizing our linkages to care for those that are diagnosed, and we’re going to improve access to a variety of prevention tools.” 

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh and several organizations are teaming up to get a clearer picture of the region’s commuting habits.

The “Make My Trip Count” survey aims to get a comprehensive look at how people get to work or school or any destination – be it by bike, bus, rail, foot or car.

Pittsburgh's Zone 4 police are warning homeowners in Shadyside, Squirrel Hill and Point Breeze to be alert for thieves attempting to steal copper downspouts like those affixed to drainage gutters.

Commander Daniel Herrmann said he's collected more than 25  theft reports since June.

Following the release of recommendations from Gov. Tom Wolf’s Task Force on Municipal Pensions, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said that while the recommendations do not contain every pension change he’d like to see, it’s an important start.

“We wanted to see some movement on a hybrid model, defined benefit plan, and perhaps reform state Act 205 which gives funding to cities with distressed pension plans like Pittsburgh,” said Peduto’s spokesman Tim McNulty, “but, it was an important first step.”

Flickr user Ronald Woan

Mayor Bill Peduto said he receives weekly requests from American cities and abroad asking him to visit and tell the Steel City’s story of resilience.

He couldn’t possibly visit them all, so it’s convenient that 25 municipal, non-profit and business leaders from across the country are coming to Pittsburgh this week for the Innovative + Inclusive City workshop.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The American Civil Liberties Union and the City of Pittsburgh have reached an agreement on "cutting-edge" improvements to police hiring methods, including strengthening minority hiring procedures. The settlement agreement stems from a federal class action lawsuit filed by the ACLU in August 2012 on behalf of minority applicants who scored high in Pittsburgh Police testing but were passed over for job offers. We'll speak with Ellen Doyle, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs.

Doyle says that previously, the city of Pittsburgh was being forced to diversify its ranks by hiring an African American and a woman for every four hires, as outlined in a Supreme Court order. She explains that this is no longer the case:

"The city was reporting for a number of years that [the police force] was disproportionately white in terms of the population of the city. But the difference between what happened with the prior federal lawsuit and what happened now is that the Supreme Court has seriously reduced the use of any race-conscious remedy." -Ellen Doyle 

Also on the program, after rioting and chaos in Ferguson and Baltimore, how should police departments adapt? How can departments encourage minorities to join the police force?

In an effort to bring down energy usage and cost, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) is planning to upgrade the lighting at five of its parking garages: one at the Pittsburgh Technology Center and four at Southside Works.

The URA and Green Building alliance will allocate $1 million for an upgrade to LED lights. That's after an engineering study showed it would be beneficial.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The city of Pittsburgh along with the Heinz Endowments has announced P4: People, Planet, Place and Performance — a framework for a model of redevelopment of city spaces.

It will consider the four “Ps” when looking at future development and will connect resources and initiatives already working in the city.

The city of Pittsburgh is looking for interns, and unlike in years past, all prospective interns must apply through the Department of Personnel and Civil Service Commission.

“It was not a centralized process or program at all," said Todd Siegel, director of the city's Department of Personnel and Civil Service Commission. "Each individual department should they have had a need for interns whether they be paid or unpaid went about securing their interns on their own.”

If they were paid, the personnel department was involved to process the paperwork.

Ken / Flickr

The City of Pittsburgh has been granted a stay in the National Rifle Association’s lawsuit against a firearm ordinance. That means, the city’s “lost or stolen” ordinance is allowed to stand as the lawsuit proceeds, though the NRA had requested it be halted during the case.

With the help of Code for America fellows and a consultant from the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, or NIGP, the city is set to review the policies that govern how the city purchases everything from software to road salt to architectural services.

According to Pittsburgh Budget Director Sam Ashbaugh, the current protocol is murky.

Michael Lynch / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh is taking big steps toward financial transparency.

Officials Wednesday unveiled Fiscal Focus Pittsburgh, a web project that tracks the city’s revenues and expenditures over the last three years, including the 2015 estimated budget.

For now, the 15-foot buffer zone outside of Pittsburgh’s downtown Planned Parenthood location will remain in place.

A federal judge in Pittsburgh has delayed ruling on a lawsuit challenging the city ordinance that requires protesters and other abortion opponents to stay outside a painted yellow line marking the zone. The lawsuit contends this violates the Constitution.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto said that for too long the city has had a "Kennywood approach" to pensions — with ups and downs and warnings and signals about their viability and effect on city budget.

In an effort to ensure the pension plans for police, firefighters and municipal employees do not become a financial liability, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has launched an audit of those plans. Peduto joined the auditor general for the announcement, saying it’s time to dig deep into Pittsburgh’s numbers.

The second of two public hearings on Pittsburgh’s 2015 capital budget is scheduled for Wednesday evening at the Morningside Senior Center.

“It’s a good way for the mayor and his administration to get out in the community and hear what’s on people’s minds about what they want to see in the capital budget,” said Sam Ashbaugh, Budget Director for Mayor Bill Peduto.

Peduto will submit his 2015 capital budget to City Council on Nov. 10. Ashbaugh said city departments submitted $70 million in funding requests for $30 million in funding, which is why public feedback is important.

Even in 2014, fulfilling a request for service made to the city of Pittsburgh’s 311 Response Center involves data entry and paper printouts. But all that is about to change.

The city’s 311 Response Center system, which allows citizens to request that potholes be filled, buildings be inspected, or streetlight bulbs be changed, is slated to get a major upgrade.

Pittsburgh Chosen as 'Code for America' City

Sep 24, 2014

Pittsburgh has been chosen as one of seven cities nationwide to house Code for America fellows, who will spend a year delving into a city issue and developing applications to tackle it. The issue the city has chosen to take on is procurement.

“Procurement refers to all the money the city spends on everything,” said Laura Meixell, analytics and strategy manager for the city, “from services and dealing with properties that we own to thinking about the contracts that we have, to the technology and the goods that we purchase as a city.”

The aura of tension around Pennsylvania’s largest employer is slowly dissipating, as the city of Pittsburgh announced Friday that it is dropping its lawsuit against UPMC.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and other city officials announced the construction of three protected bike lanes in the city. The lanes will be built from Schenley Plaza to Anderson Playground in Schenley Park, along Saline Street between Greenfield Avenue and Swinburne Street (Panther Hollow Trail) in Greenfield, and on Penn Avenue from 11th Street to Stanwix Avenue Downtown.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

There’s good news and bad news.

That was the message from city of Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb Wednesday, as his office released its 2013 Popular Annual Financial Report. Lamb called the report the “layman’s version” of the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which was released early this year.

The good news, said Lamb, is that the difference between the city’s liabilities and its assets shrunk by $4.1 million in 2013, to $423.8 million. In 2007, the gap was close to $600 million.

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