Development & Transportation

We cover how people move about the region, as well as trends in housing and commercial development.

Margaret Krauss / 90.5 WESA

On a recent afternoon, Steve Kubrick climbed to the brand new roof of one of his buildings to look at the last seven years of his life, poured into rebuilding the former Alcoa Research Laboratory in New Kensington. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

An estimated 18,000 homes in Pittsburgh's northern neighborhoods, Millvale and Reserve Township will continue to be under a flush and boil water advisory until at least Thursday, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority officials said Tuesday.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Before presenting initial findings on the state of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority Monday, Steve Steckler of the consulting firm Infrastructure Management Group, Inc. said, “none of them are very good.”

John Miller / 90.5 WESA

After moving its headquarters to New York 11 years ago, iconic aluminum manufacturer Alcoa is returning to Pittsburgh, where it was founded, at the beginning of next month.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Affordable housing activists are calling out Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, saying he hasn't done enough to help low-income residents evicted from East Liberty's Penn Plaza Apartments.

Cristina Sanvito / Flickr

In a new venture, nonprofits Grow Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Land Trust are teaming up to preserve the city's urban farms. The Three Rivers Agricultural Land Initiative will give long-term support to select a handful of garden projects in the community.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

It may not look like anything’s happening at the Produce Terminal in Pittsburgh’s Strip District neighborhood, but the building's developer expects to ink a final contract with the Urban Redevelopment Authority and begin renovation by the end of the year.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is ramping up efforts to teach boaters about safety at the region’s many locks and dams months after two women died while kayaking on the Ohio River.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Uber has scrapped plans to lease space in one of three remaining buildings on the 28-acre Almono site where the company’s test track for self-driving cars is located.

Uber signed a lease last spring for a portion of the roundhouse building, which once housed trains for repairs and maintenance.

Cost estimates to renovate the roundhouse came back significantly higher than expected and the building has been reabsorbed into the larger Almono development plans.

Uber declined to comment on the record about the decision.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Susan Hicks, a University of Pittsburgh professor, was killed in October of 2015 when her bike was pinned between two cars on Forbes Avenue. Her death was a shock to Pittsburgh's biking community, which had advocated for changes to Oakland's busy roads for years.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded a $12.3 million grant to renovate part of Pittsburgh International Airport.

The grant will go toward a deicing pad that has been in operation since 1993. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the renovation will include new pavement and piping.

Deicing is done during winter months to remove ice and snow from planes before takeoff.

Natasha Dean / Rescue Street Farms

A long abandoned social club in Spring Hill, roughly 2 miles north of downtown Pittsburgh, is getting a new lease on life. Nearly 20 years after the Workingmen’s Beneficial Union, or WBU, closed its doors, it will reopen as an event space and brewery this fall.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Four applications to revitalize neighborhoods and foster social and economic diversity passed initial scrutiny by the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority on Thursday.

The URA is asking for a combined $1.5 million in state Keystone Communities Program funding to fill gaps in local resources. State decision makers will choose which, if any, projects they want to fund.

If approved, the money would be split four ways.

Kathleen J. Davis

Construction began Friday morning on Braddock Civic Plaza, a community space to be located on the former site of UPMC Braddock Hospital, which closed in 2010.

Pressley Gedman, Bike Parking Intern / Bike Pittsburgh

Bicyclists in the East End who want to transfer to a bus now have a new place to safely store their bikes.

Cyclists can park their rides at the East Liberty Transportation Center on Penn Avenue.

Dan Yablonsky, development manager for Bike Pittsburgh, said residents can use it like a Park and Ride for bikes, rather than cars.

"If you're from Highland Park, Morningside or Larimer, you can store your bike for the day, head downtown and then return at the end of the day, grab your bike and head home," he said.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

A Pittsburgh housing startup called Module is working on its first residential property, to be located in the North Side. 

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Johnstown City Council was supposed to vote Wednesday to adopt an amended recovery plan in order to stay in Act 47, Pennsylvania’s assistance program for financially distressed communities. The vote was tabled.

This month marks Johnstown’s 25th year in the program; the city wouldn’t be able to cover its expenses without the tools the program provides, such as being able to restructure debt and collect a higher local services tax. So why the hold-up?

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

After years of negotiations, road and utility work, and site preparation, redevelopment could begin on the 178-acre Almono site as early as next week.

On Monday, Gov. Tom Wolf toured the Almono site, which sits along the Monongahela River and is Pittsburgh's largest remaining brownfield. The tour's highlight was the old Mill 19 building, which extends for nearly one-third of a mile—a vast building on a vast piece of land. Just outside the building is the newly finished Signature Boulevard, a complete street with room for cars, cyclists, and pedestrians. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s tunnels are considered the gateway to the city. More than 229,000 people drive through the Liberty, Fort Pitt, Squirrel Hill and Stowe tunnels each day.

Matt Slocum / AP

Time is running out for motorists who have outstanding toll violations with the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

A partial toll amnesty program ends at 7 p.m. Friday.

Toll bills and violations newer than 60 days can be settled by paying the outstanding toll amount in full and other fees will be forgiven. Violations older than 60 days may be paid in full with a portion of the outstanding fees forgiven.

Bill Gardner / 90.5 WESA

City officials are taking extra precautions during inspections of the Frick Building this week after a 1,300-pound chunk of granite crashed onto Grant Street early Sunday morning.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Development and rehabilitation projects throughout Pittsburgh continue to change the city’s fabric. City Council voted Monday to ensure historic structures are protected in the process.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft began operating in Pennsylvania cities in 2014, but have had divergent effects on public transit agencies in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh-area residents concerned over the possible impact of a bus rapid transit (BRT) system addressed the Port Authority Board Friday morning with complaints include feeling left out of the planning process and fears over access.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Every day in Pittsburgh money comes in and money goes out, paying for police, firefighters and street lights. Anything that’s visible, and some things that aren’t, all have a place in the city’s budget. At its core, a budget is simply an itemized rundown of likely income and expenses, the contents of which a committee will begin to hash out in August, and by December, City Council will take a final vote.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The historic Hunt Armory in Shadyside has been through a lot. It housed weapons and a unit of the Army National Guard, hosted home shows and polo matches, survived a fire in 2010 and a failed redevelopment attempt in 2016.

Those plans, for an Olympic-size ice rink and cafe, were sunk by lack of funding. In May, the Urban Redevelopment Authority requested new proposals that preserve the building and provide community recreation space.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council unanimously passed two measures Tuesday to clear the pipeline for removing and replacing the city’s lead water service lines.

The first measure allows the city to work with property owners to replace lead service lines on private property. The second requires property sellers to test for lead pipes and disclose those findings to the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

Proponents of self-driving cars say they'll make the world safer, but autonomous vehicles need to predict what bicyclists are going to do. Now researchers say part of the answer is to have bikes feed information to cars.

A few years ago on Google's campus, Nathaniel Fairfield arranged an unusual lunch break.

He asked a bunch of staff to hop on bikes and ride around and around a self-driving car to collect data. "It was kind of gorgeous," he says.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

At a renewable energy roundtable discussion held Friday, Mayor Bill Peduto and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) agreed that climate change is the biggest threat facing civilization, and that in the absence of federal leadership, states and cities will have to step up.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Honking car horns, screeching tires and the thunderous rumble of truck engines surround passersby on East Ohio Street. The street, while not Pittsburgh’s busiest, is among the noisiest.