City unveils plans for pedestrian-friendly Market Square

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Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership this morning announced a $5 million plan to remake Market Square into a more pedestrian-friendly area with less traffic and wider sidewalks to encourage more outdoor dining.

The design, which was unveiled at the partnership's annual meeting, will stop all through traffic on Forbes Avenue, eliminate all bus traffic and send cars around the perimeter of the square. Instead of raised planters that are the centerpieces of the four quadrants of the square, the site will become a level area with trees, tables and a decorative stone surface.

The width of sidewalks around the square will be doubled and parking will be limited to one side of the street adjacent to the sidewalks. Decorative lighting will be installed to highlight the upper facades of buildings.

No final decision has been reached on whether the site will have a permanent or portable stage for performances.

Mr. Ravenstahl and Michael Edwards, president and chief executive officer of the Downtown Partnership, said the goal is to make the square more friendly to pedestrians.

The final design comes after 18 months of public discussion and design work by Klavon Design Associates of the South Side. It is a combination of three possible designs outlined at public meetings last spring.

Mr. Ravenstahl said the city has raised $4.5 million of the money for the project and expects to seek bids in May, begin construction by August and finish work in May 2010. Funding includes $2 million from the state, $1 million each from the Richard K. Mellon Foundation and Heinz Endowments, and $500,000 from Colcom Foundation.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

First Published February 17, 2009 3:45 PM


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