Mayor William Peduto’s administration has introduced legislation to Pittsburgh City Council that would reduce the use of sidewalk curb cuts by requiring side or rear access to parking at rowhouses.
Last year the Department of City Planning introduced a zoning amendment that eliminated parking requirements for new rowhouses, which was leading to a proliferation of curb cuts and first-floor garages that created hazardous conditions for pedestrians and added to the cost of housing.
Today’s legislation takes those changes a step further by requiring developers to provide parking off of alleys or side streets whenever possible. If that access is unavailable, access to parking can be provided on the street using shared driveways.
“This change further discourages breaks in the sidewalks in our rowhouse neighborhoods, better ensuring pedestrian safety by creating fewer points where pedestrians and cars intersect, and ensuring that less on-street parking will be privatized for driveways along streets in these neighborhoods,” Planning Director Andrew Dash said.
The legislation says in part:
WHEREAS, these proposed changes to the Zoning Code will reduce the number of curb cuts along neighborhood sidewalks, improve safety for pedestrians, individuals with disabilities, and other users of our streets and sidewalks, limit the removal of on-street parking spaces, and maintain the historic character of our neighborhoods.
The legislation would have particular impact on neighborhoods such as Lawrenceville.
“Driveway curb cuts on our rowhouse blocks can be a serious impediment to walkability, accessibility, affordability, and the quality of our public realm. We appreciate Mayor Peduto’s leadership in ensuring that future development protects the qualities that make our rowhouse neighborhoods great places to live,” said Dave Breingan, executive director of Lawrenceville United.
The legislation is set to be referred to the Planning Commission when it is up for discussion at Council’s Standing Committees meeting on Wednesday, January 27th. It will then be sent back to Council with a positive or negative recommendation.