Monday, July 29, 2013

Rethinking Pittsburgh's North Side, Part 3: Overhauling Allegheny Center

Earlier I discussed transportation and open/recreational space improvements for the North Side. In this installment, I will focus on revamping Allegheny Center. As I mentioned earlier, it was initially built as a suburban shopping mall complete with an underground parking garage. Currently, it is used as office space.

In its present use as commercial space, the site seems to be flourishing. PNC Bank occupies a considerable amount of the space for its mortgage and loans unit. However, with a redesign of the surrounding infrastructure including an upgraded transit network, I think a multitude of uses could work here. I would like to see this area become even more of an extension of Downtown, complete with a few high-rise buildings comprised of office, residential, and hotel space. I see a mix of indoor and outdoor retail uses mixed in here as well. Below are a series of images I created from my Sketch-up drawing of my North Shore vision.

The following images are of various images of the interiors of some of the buildings.

 Above top is the main level of the Amtrak station. At this level are several ticketing and car rental counters. Directly above are the platforms for boarding the trains directly above the main level. Below is the regional rail platform, located about 30 feet below the train station's main level. On the bottom is the light rail an heavy metro rail entrance including smart card access.

 The following is an image of one of the high-rise lobbies providing access to the regional transit hub I have envisioned beneath South Commons Boulevard.
Naturally, I don't expect all of this to come to fruition. This is just an idea of what could happen to the North Shore if smart planning practices are employed. I would like to see a more consolidated regional transit system in place for the Greater Pittsburgh region (as indicated in several previous posts), and I envision the North Shore functioning as one of the main hubs for this system. I think having an intermodal hub here would do wonders for the North Side as well as for Pittsburgh overall...