Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My vision for Baldwin Borough, Pennsylvania


Above is my vision for Baldwin Borough, which is one of several municipalities surrounding the City of Pittsburgh.  This municipality of roughly 18,000 residents is immediately to the south of the city.  Pennsylvania Highway 51, labeled here as Clairton Blvd, leads directly into the city after traversing Whitehall and Brentwood.  As mentioned in the previous post, some municipal and business leaders are actively discussing possible ways of improving the Route 51 corridor between Pittsburgh and the southern suburbs through which it passes.  Brentwood and Whitehall Borough are strongly in favor of a redevelopment.  Baldwin, on the other hand, is firmly against; citing the relatively short distance it travels while in the narrow borough.

Members of borough council suggest not spending any money to improve the road, indicating that doing so would be a waste of time considering the reason stated above.  I, however, think improvements should be pursued regardless.  It does not matter if the road travels through a half-mile or ten or twelve miles.  It is still within the municipality, and improving the corridor can go a long way in promoting business and economic growth.

Indicated in the above image, courtesy of Google Earth, are several aspects to this vision in addition to the improvement to Route 51.  My vision for the borough includes the following:
  • Establishments of central business districts to grow and develop a commercial tax base for the municipality
  • Establishment of a commuter rail link between Pittsburgh and Washington using existing lightly-used CSX line.  Streets Run Road, linking Baldwin with the Hays neighborhood of Pittsburgh, experiences considerable congestion at morning and evening rush times.
  • Two station locations along the possible commuter rail line to provide direct access to each business district
Leland Pointe Apartments, formerly known as Green Meadows, was recently renovated to improve the living conditions for the residents.  Prior to the renovation, numerous ideas, including a golf course, were floated around according to a neighborhood newspaper.  My vision ultimately would call for a complete overhaul of this complex and the neighboring strip mall through which the Jefferson Hills Borough border passes.  It includes a redesign of the street grid to have more of a "main street" layout and to incorporate numerous mixed use buildings.