Background of this project
The Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, or RAISE is a Discretionary Grant program administered by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT). The RAISE grant program focuses on promoting investment in neighborhoods that have historically suffered from racist federal policies, such as redlining that prevented residents from attaining wealth. Grants are awarded on a highly competitive basis. On August 11, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration announced 166 awardees, including the City of Pittsburgh.
The project entitled “New Pathways to Equity” will fund the construction of multiple improvements to the public right-of-way of the Hill District, as outlined in the grant application. Improvements will include the reconstruction of intersections, street corridors, and city steps and will include the installation of traffic calming measures, sidewalks, and green infrastructure.
Click here to view the USDOT RAISE Grant Fact Sheet for this grant project: New pathways to Equity
Total grant amount and breakdown
The city has been awarded a total of $11,320,000 in grant funding and will utilize another $2,830,000 from the American Rescue Plan as a local match. The total project cost is estimated to be $14,150,000.
The Department of Transportation (USDOT) requires all design activities (planning, community engagement, and final design for construction) to be completed by September 30th, 2026 and construction completed by September 30, 2031.
Current Grant Execution and Community Engagement Status
Federal grant awards require state oversight. Currently the city is working in collaboration with Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) & PennDOT to develop the necessary agreements to authorize spending under the grant. . The agreement process can take 10-14 months.
The City has not started but will soon begin planning and design work on the projects identified in this grant. DOMI will partner with the Department of City Planning (DCP), Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Mayor’s neighborhood initiative team, registered community organizations, and other neighborhood partners to shape the community engagement process. This process has not started yet but will begin soon.
The City will update this webpage to ensure the community is kept up-to-date on the progress of this project.
Location and Proposed Improvements
Funding through ‘New Pathways to Equity’ will implement several safety and place-making improvements articulated in numerous community-led plans for the Hill District. Improvements include pedestrian accessibility and crossing improvements, restoration of city steps, smart signal infrastructure for enhanced and reliable transit service and connectivity, intersection redesign, and streetscape improvements on the Centre Avenue corridor.
Centre Avenue- Lower and Middle Hill
Centre Avenue is the main transportation artery and business center of the Hill District. Proposed improvements would focus on using the street to enhance the commercial district and support infill development. Priority would be given to managing the curb for street parking and loading through commercial areas, traffic speed reduction, pedestrian safety and accessibility improvements, and would transform Centre Avenue from an auto-dominated roadway to a multimodal boulevard. Improvements will also include street beautification, pedestrian-scale LED lighting, green infrastructure (an approach to water management that protects, restores, or mimics the natural water cycles such as tree boxes, planters, permeable pavement, rain gardens, etc.), high-visibility crosswalks, transit access and amenities, ADA-compliant curb ramps, necessary street & paving rehabilitation (ie., curb and gutter removal and replacement, mill and overlays, pavement surface treatments, full depth pavement replacement, and pavement related storm drainage facilities), and sidewalk reconstruction. Three key intersections of Centre Avenue at Dinwiddie Street, Kirkpatrick Street, and Reed Street will also be redesigned to accommodate better pedestrian safety and traffic mobility. Street furniture and public art will also be accommodated all along the corridor. Traffic signal upgrades will enable the system to detect approaching traffic and give priority to those who can benefit the most from modified signal timing (buses, pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.).
East-West Pedestrian & Streetscape Improvements
Three east-west neighborhood streets of Wylie Avenue, Bedford Avenue, and Webster Avenue, which connect the Lower, Middle, and Upper Hill District areas, will also receive enhancements to improve pedestrian safety, reduce the speed of traffic, and provide better transit amenities and accessibility. Improvements would include new or rehabilitated sidewalks, ADA-compliant curb ramps, high visibility crosswalks, transit stop enhancements, lighting, streetscape, green infrastructure, street furniture, and public art.
Chauncey Street Sidewalks and Steps
Chauncey Street, including a set of city steps, is one of the primary pedestrian connections from Bedford Dwellings to Centre Avenue, where frequent transit service is provided. However, the connection today is neither comfortable nor safe for many users. Under this grant, the steps and sidewalks will be reconstructed including lighting and a bike runnel.
Sidewalks and ADA Ramps
After decades of significant population loss and subsequently a declining tax base, the pedestrian environment in Pittsburgh has struggled to be adequately maintained. Under this grant, the city will collect sidewalk condition data for the entire project area, prioritize them by their condition and utilization and based on community input identify potential segments for sidewalk upgrade and building of the missing critical links. This grant will also replace ramps to be ADA compliant. In some locations, green infrastructure may be installed to address flooding and storm water issues. Street trees and improved lighting will also be incorporated, where appropriate.
Why the Hill District has been selected for this grant?
Once the vibrant center of Black cultural, civic, and economic life in Pittsburgh, the Hill District was deliberately cleaved from the city center by highway infrastructure and systematically decimated by redlining and urban renewal. Situated between downtown Pittsburgh and the Oakland area (the second and third largest economic centers in Pennsylvania), the Hill District remains isolated from opportunities for economic and social mobility due in large part to limited transportation mobility and neglected infrastructure.
The project will revitalize the Hill District, a community that has suffered deterioration and disconnection from the business district of Pittsburgh through historical disinvestment.
How the projects has been identified?
The projects have been identified from the following planning efforts in the Hill community.
- Greater Hill District Master Plan (2011)
- Centre Avenue Corridor Redevelopment and Design Plan (2015)
- Bedford Connects Transformation Plan (2018)
- Avenues of Hope
- Update to the Greater Hill District Master Plan
Please use the sidebar tool to submit any questions .The city will regularly update the FAQ section with answers.