East Liberty

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Planning Commission voted to approve a preliminary land development plan to build office and retail space at the former Penn Plaza site in East Liberty, which is owned by LG Realty Advisors.

Commissioners approved the plan on Tuesday, after nearly five hours of deliberation and public comment from close to 40 speakers, the majority of whom opposed the project. They used their allotted three minutes to call for affordable housing and to critique the community outreach process.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Randall Taylor and Jessica McPherson volunteer with Penn Plaza Support and Action, an advocacy group fighting to rebuild affordable housing at the site of the former Penn Plaza Apartments in East Liberty. 

Photo by Jon Rubin

Alisha Wormsley didn’t intend her work of billboard art to be about gentrification. But her message reading “There Are Black People in the Future,” posted in big letters atop a building in the center of East Liberty, has become just that.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

At a charged public meeting Monday night, residents decried a plan to build retail and office space at the former Penn Plaza site in East Liberty, once home to more than 200 low-income and elderly people. 

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

Lawmakers passed the Fair Housing Act just one week after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. as riots flared in Pittsburgh and other cities. It was intended to protect buyers and renters from discrimination based on race, color, disability, religion, sex, familial status or national origin, but advocates argue the nation is still failing renters and homebuyers with disabilities and children, as well as those of color.

Photo by Jon Rubin

That work of billboard art in East Liberty that was taken down last week can go back up, according to a statement issued this morning by the landlord of the building the billboard stands on.

Photo by Jon Rubin

The removal of a message from a billboard art project in East Liberty has sparked outrage – and inspired a community meeting to address issues surrounding free speech and public art.

*Updated at 6:02 p.m. Thursday, April 5

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The developer of the former Penn Plaza site in East Liberty has submitted a revised plan for its development.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Affordable housing advocates say they’re concerned the consent agreement reached by the city of Pittsburgh and four neighborhood groups about the former Penn Plaza development site won’t actually help those who need it.

Friends of Mik Pappas

For the first time in 24 years, Ron Costa, Sr., will face an opponent in the Nov. 7 election for magisterial district judge. Attorney Mik Pappas is running to unseat him in Pennsylvania’s 31st Magisterial District, which includes eight East End neighborhoods.

Running as an Independent, Pappas calls himself progressive.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are hoping to help pedestrians with disabilities cross intersections more safely.

Their research project makes up the latest phase in the 5-year-old smart traffic signals initiative centered in East Liberty, where wait times for vehicles have been reduced by 40 percent.

In the first year of the project, researchers will focus on building an app that pedestrians could have on their smart phones.

The app would send personalized data about that individual’s movement patterns to a smart traffic signal at an intersection.

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.

AP

Last weekend, during a protest near Pittsburgh’s Bakery Square, several people online questioned the legality of a man openly carrying a rifle on a public city corner. According to Pennsylvania firearms laws, however, it’s perfectly legal.

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.

Ron Larson / Ace Hotel

Amid Pittsburgh’s restaurant boom, a new conference this week aims to tackle tough issues within the food and service industry, including gentrification, sexism and cultural appropriation.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

A crowd of about 30 people gathered at the former Penn Plaza apartments in East Liberty on Thursday, where the development’s owners are tearing down the remaining building. 

Adam Kucenic

A local restaurateur who planned to open a ‘90s hip-hop-themed fried chicken restaurant in East Liberty is changing the concept after receiving some backlash from the community.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The remaining tenants of East Liberty’s Penn Plaza apartment complex are moving out Friday, one day after Whole Foods announced it will not build a store on the site.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Residents facing eviction from Penn Plaza and their supporters rallied on the steps of the City-County building Tuesday afternoon, calling on the city to step up efforts to increase access to affordable housing.

Rick Knief / Citi

Redevelopment in Pittburgh's East Liberty neighborhood has magnified issues of accessibility and affordability in housing.

Brett VA / Flickr

Hundreds of independent Pittsburgh businesses will participate in this year’s Small Business Saturday initiative. Created by American Express in 2010, the day seeks to draw attention to the importance of shopping at locally-owned stores during the holiday season and all year long.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Unease, anger and a desire to take action motivated more than 300 people to gather at the Ace Hotel in East Liberty late Wednesday, prompting small group meetings, impromptu speakers and a protest curtailed by smoke bombs through nearby Shadyside.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

An empty, three-acre parking lot lies at the corner of Station Street and Euclid Avenue.

You can’t actually park there. Weeds grow in the cracked cement between lines of faded paint.

How Allegheny County Is Trying To Move On From The Legacy Of Blight

Sep 13, 2016
Connor Mulvaney / PublicSource

 

When Lena Andrews moved from Friendship to East Liberty, she was enamored with her new neighborhood’s array of restaurants and shops, easy access to transit and its diversity. The lack of parks and gardens puzzled her, though.

At the time, trash covered the corner of East Liberty Boulevard and Mellon Street: empty cans, bottles, fast-food paper bags. When the city mowers would cut the grass, they would mow right over the garbage, crushing it into the earth.

The litter sent the wrong message.

1Hood Media / Facebook

Celeste Smith wants people to know hip-hop has always been alive in Pittsburgh, whether people have seen it or not.

Herry Lawford / Flickr

Whole Foods Market plans to open a new store two blocks from its Centre Avenue building.

Its chosen location is the site of East Liberty’s Penn Plaza apartments, a large affordable housing complex that's in the process of being demolished. The building’s owner drew vocal opposition from the community and local lawmakers last year after deciding to evict tenants in favor of redevelopment. 

Mike Richards / 90.5 WESA

  Presidential progeny Chelsea Clinton stopped by her mother’s Democratic campaign office in East Liberty early Wednesday.

The younger Clinton met supporters and volunteers at the office. She said Clinton’s work with early childhood education programs and women’s rights will be critical to the fate of future generations.

“It is important that we have a president that knows how to stand up for our values,” Clinton said. “And knows how to make government work on behalf of our values when in office and when not in office.”

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

East Liberty residents hoping to keep a public park out of the hands of a private developer have scored a victory.

The city released a statement Tuesday evening saying Enright Parklet would remain publicly owned, and would not become part of the redevelopment of Penn Plaza.

The announcement came shortly after a public hearing in City Council, in which neighbors spoke out against the rezoning of the park.

Very Smart Brothas

  Last week’s mass shooting in Wilkinsburg provoked strong reactions within the neighborhood, across the city and in national media.

Writer and former Wilkinsburg High School teacher Damon Young offered one of them on his blog, Very Smart Brothas.

He writes that crime, failing schools and declining property values are "not unintended coincidences or even unfortunate inevitabilities," but "intentional results of Pittsburgh’s decades-long disregard of its black population.”

90.5 WESA’s Josh Raulerson asked Young to elaborate.

Ideas Worth Stealing: When Evictions Happen, Laws To Soften The Blow

Mar 8, 2016
Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

In July, 2015 the landlord at Penn Plaza, a private multi-family housing development in Pittsburgh’s rapidly gentrifying East Liberty neighborhood, slipped 90-day eviction notices under the doors of all tenants in one of their buildings (tenants of the other building now have until 2017 to vacate).

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