Submitted by Gloria Rayman

A new ad hoc committee is being formed by the Allegheny West Civic Council to focus on four areas of improvement across the entire neighborhood: street trees and sidewalks; lighting; traffic calming on W North Avenue and Brighton Road; and the Mary Cassatt Garden (the garden area in the on-ramp to the Fort Duquesne Bridge).

A preliminary study was conducted based on input from neighbors starting with a public meeting conducted last September by Pashek & Associates, a landscape architecture firm located on East Ohio Street and the designers of the Western Avenue Renewed streetscape improvement project. The plan has been reviewed and discussed (at times with great emotion) for almost a year at various Civic Council meetings and the AWCC Housing & Planning committee meetings.

At the July AWCC membership meeting, five motions were voted upon in order to continue this valuable planning process that will hopefully allow us to have “shovel ready” projects — projects that have been discussed, options researched, funding researched, with preliminary membership approval — so that when funding does become available, we are ready to go. Funds can be made available from various sources very quickly with very little notice given and very little time to respond so it’s of the utmost importance that we have our projects ready to go when the money is available.

There are still lots of details to line up for each part of the plan! Participation from neighbors on every block is strongly encouraged — don’t let these decisions up to your neighbors without your input (we all know how that works…). Seriously, if you’ve ever had a thought about how to make your neighborhood a little better but didn’t want to jump in with both feet, this is the project for you. Your opinions and expertise are needed to make this a reality that works for the whole neighborhood. We’re looking for neighbors to take part in this process.

And you don’t have to participate in all four areas of the plan — if you want to help craft the plan for new trees and sidewalk repairs throughout the neighborhood but don’t care about the rest of the options — no problem! I’ll be sure you get invited to the tree and sidewalk meetings. The only stipulation is that you actually live or work in the neighborhood — you don’t have to be a property owner to participate. Or even a member of the Civic Council. So if you would to be a part of this exciting new plan, please email me ( and I’ll send you out the preliminary study for your review. If you have any specific areas of interest and want to let me know that I’ll slot you onto the subcommittee of your choice.