Beauty on Bates: An ambitious plan awaits a busy Oakland corridor

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Leave it to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, protector of lands and beautifier of traffic intersections. Leave it to them to dig in (literally) and clean up one of the city's all-too-prominent eyesores, Bates Street below the Boulevard of the Allies in Oakland.

That short, hilly stretch of Bates between the boulevard and the Parkway East and Second Avenue is seen by 90,000 motorists a day. Many of them are going to hospitals, universities or the South Side.

Regardless, what they've seen are trash-strewn hillsides and overgrown thickets of invasive plants. But all that is about to change.

With a plan, volunteers and contributions from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh, the conservancy has some of the resources needed for a $150,000 project to beautify the corridor. Forty-five trees will be planted there May 8-9, and Oakland Planning and Development Corp. is still seeking people who'd like to help (email kico@opdc.org or call 412-621-7863, ext. 24).

Unlike one of the conservancy's traffic island plantings, this ambitious, multiphase project will take three years and contain native trees, shrubs and ground plants. It's a beautification effort of a higher order -- one that will bring the soft aesthetics of nature to an asphalt streetscape, courtesy of the conservancy, OPDC and their partners.

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