Sprawl and policies
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Recently, the Post-Gazette highlighted PennDOT's proposal to limit access to the Parkway East from Wilkinsburg, Swissvale, Edgewood and eastern parts of Pittsburgh. The project is under development and questions need to be answered. However, a proposal that focuses the burden completely on the shoulders of the city and inner-ring suburbs inequitably addresses the symptoms and ignores the root cause: urban sprawl.
Over several decades, land use policies and government investment in new infrastructure have benefited exurban areas and spurred growth in the previously rural communities of Allegheny County and adjacent counties. The result is the deferred maintenance of the urban core's existing infrastructure. Combined with the exodus to new growth areas, many communities have seen higher infrastructure costs and a shrinking tax base to support higher expenses.
Ignoring the impacts sprawl policies have on urban core communities and the exclusion of those municipal stakeholders isn't a new problem for the 37 inner-ring communities. However, there is a solution.
The Congress of Neighboring Communities, a coalition of Pittsburgh and the 36 first-ring suburbs, convenes elected and appointed municipal leaders. We discuss ways the 685,000 residents of the urban core share a collective voice exposing sprawl policies that devalue our region's quality of life.
We anticipate working with PennDOT to promote traffic flow on the parkway. CONNECT will advocate to keep governments' eyes fixed on the repairs we need to preserve and promote our communities' vitality before we throw money farther out to the next ring of new suburbs.
Chair, Congress of Neighboring Communities
First Published September 2, 2012 12:00 am