Thirty years ago, The Pennsylvania Poll, a public opinion and survey analysis operated by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, asked a scientifically selected sampling of nearly 1,500 people what they thought was the most important problem in the Pittsburgh area. Below is a breakdown of their responses, which don't differ too much with how a sampling of Pittsburghers today answered the same question in recent interviews.
Joe Reynolds, 21
"Pollution. Picking up garbage in Oakland especially is a big problem. Recycling is a huge problem. People put their recycling in plastic grocery bags and that just gets scattered all over the street and never gets picked up. It's like people try to recycle, but it's just worse for the environment and trash anyway ... trash too just gets thrown all over the streets."
What is Pittsburgh's biggest problem?
Pittsburgh residents weigh in on the issues they believe are the biggest problems facing the city today. (Video by Katie Brigham; reporting by Marina Weiss; 8/30/13)
Daniel Contreras, 22
"I think some people, they don't have the jobs they are looking for. I have some friends who don't have jobs here in Pittsburgh. They are looking for them, and they can't find them. They are from Mexico, and it's too hard for them because they are not residents."
Angelo Pittrell, 22
"Young men killing each other -- our age -- killing each other over dumb stuff, being from a different neighborhood ... We got older people influencing, making the younger people sell drugs ... Males don't even make it to see 21."
Carly Hyland, 23
"Public transport. I use it every day. From what I hear from other larger cities comparable to us, I think we are pretty far behind. Sometimes there are dirty buses, dirty Ts. The schedules are off sometimes. It can be crowded depending on what time of day you use it, and for someone who uses it every day, I think it's kind of expensive."
La'Keeta Pittman, 25
"The education system. I think that since they raised up all of the interest rates. I'll be graduating in December, and I'm actually quite afraid of what's next because I need to get a full-time job. I'm not sure I'm going to get a full-time job here, so I'm going to probably consider having to move."
Mike Belgrove, 32
"I think the biggest issue as far as the city goes is that we have all these universities here, and we can't keep the talent that is being produced here in the city. In looking for a job and my wife looking for a job, we've both thought about leaving the city, and there are just not the opportunities in the city as far as jobs go compared to the amount of universities that are producing these people."
Alison Cardwell, 37
"Traffic I would say is the worst. I've never seen anything like this. I'm from the greater Phoenix area and we have six lanes of traffic going in both directions and to have two lanes and some merging into one off of one freeway -- I just think that's really inefficient and ridiculous."
Sawanya Ashmore, 41
"Lack of jobs because if you are not in the medical field or computers, there are really no jobs here. A lot of the young people are moving elsewhere because there are not really any jobs here unless you want to work a menial job like McDonald's or a dishwasher job or something that's only going to hire you only for a couple hours."
Laura Lorenze, 43
Upper St. Clair
"I think it's jobs. We have a strong tech foundation. It's really just getting corporations to invest in staying here."
Anita Ragin, 47
"I feel as though the major problem in the Pittsburgh area right now is joblessness. I know several people that have diligently looked for work ... The salary is either so low that they can't maintain their household, or they simply just can't find anything ... It actually causes all the other problems because if you have a job, you don't have to make crime."
Bob Henderson, 52
"I'd say more crime. I'm afraid something could happen because I do a lot of walking. I'm constantly looking over my shoulder."
Chooy Lam, 57
"They cut down on our bus services because of the budget, and it's really inconvenient ... you cannot cut back too much because you affect people and how they go about places to work. Not everyone can afford to drive."
Tim Abbott, 61
"I think that taxes are the most important problem because they are something that all states are very competitive in trying to reduce taxes to attract business. In this area, we're trying to hang on to as much business and jobs as possible, so having a low tax structure is, I think, the way to go."
Joel Rubin, 62
"Infrastructure because the roads are crumbling ... I still think it's bad for Pittsburgh -- Lawrenceville, Bloomfield, Garfield, Oakland, eastern suburbs - hitting potholes and sinkholes. You have to be very careful about navigating roads and the bridges."
Carla O'Keefe, 65
"I think there is a combination of things. I think that if you are a person who is of moderate income trying to get to work, the transportation thing is really probably the worst thing. If you live around this area, potholes are a big issue. If you live in some areas, it's drugs and guns."
George Rodriguez, 68
"Homeless people -- under the bridges -- anywhere. I don't like that. I see them everywhere in the city of Pittsburgh."
First Published October 6, 2013 4:00 AM