Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pittsburgh's Larimer neighborhood master plan

The success of East Liberty's comeback is beginning to impact other neighborhoods in Pittsburgh's East End. Homewood is putting together a master plan, and in the following link is the master plan for the Larimer neighborhood situated between Homewood and East Liberty.

Larimer Vision Plan

I generally like this vision plan. The neighborhood of Larimer is not necessarily a dangerous place as it has a lower crime rate than some of the more well known neighborhoods like Oakland and Southside, but it is one that could use some revitalization. This vision does include several aspects typical of a well-planned master plan, including:

  • Land use
  • Transportation
  • Parks and recreation
  • Environmental/storm water management

Transportation and land use

The neighborhood of Larimer has numerous positives going for it. The entire neighborhood is located within a mile of the under-construction East Liberty Transportation Center, and it has several corridors that could cater to a particular aspect of a healthy community. Pertaining to the many corridors, the following main retail and commercial corridors were identified:

  • Larimer Avenue -- potential retail/residential corridor, link to East Liberty
  • Frankstown Avenue -- potential commercial use corridor, link to East Liberty and Homewood
Aside from these corridors, the vision includes an intact street grid to improve traffic flow throughout the neighborhood. Residential use encompases the majority of the neighborhood with commercial uses focused along Larimer and Frankstown Avenues. Industrial use will be confined to the Norfolk-Southern railroad tracks (former Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line).

Green space/parks and recreational space

Aside from the retail and commercial corridors, the vision calls for improved housing, green infrastructure, and abundant recreational space. In regards to green space, the vision includes a hillside park that will extend northward into Highland Park and connect with its system of trails and other recreational amenities. Another amenity of this new green space includes an urban farm in the eastern part of the neighborhood.

Environmental/storm water management

In the neighborhood park, the vision will employ a rain garden that will collect storm water runoff and use it to irrigate vegetation rather than have it collect in streams and rivers susceptible to flooding. According to a figure depicting the topography, the lowest point is in the northern portion of the neighborhood where runoff would enter a depressed area that eventually drains into the Allegheny River just east of Highland Park.

I look forward to seeing this vision plan come to fruition. The whole area surrounding East Liberty could develop into a hotbed for commercial and pedestrian activity due to increased access pertaining to transit and bike and pedestrian recreational amenities. The overall theme here seems to be improving transit and bike/pedestrian and recreational activity to improve the community.