Pittsburgh’s Four Mile Run slated for millions in improvements |

Pittsburgh’s Four Mile Run slated for millions in improvements

Bob Bauder
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto briefed reporters on Nov. 11, 2018, on plans for major infrastructure improvements to the city’s Four Mile Run area nestled between Oakland, Squirrel Hill and Greenfield.

Pittsburgh is moving ahead with plans to overhaul a stormwater system that’s caused flooding for decades in South Oakland and Greenfield, Mayor Bill Peduto said Wednesday.

Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday unanimously authorized the Peduto administration to secure agreements totaling a maximum $1.3 million for final design of green infrastructure and other amenities in Four Mile Run, including a trail and road that would accommodate bikes, pedestrians and electric shuttles or autonomous vehicles between Hazelwood and Oakland.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has committed $40 million to the project as part of its federally required stormwater management plan, according to spokesman Will Pickering. Peduto has set aside a total of $23 million in 2019 and 2020, according to the city’s 2019 capital budget.

“We’re doing two things simultaneously,” Peduto said. “We are creating an entire green infrastructure plan for Schenley Park that will alleviate the flooding that they see throughout the hollow and throughout (Four Mile Run). As we’re doing that plan we’re also looking along the public right of way in order to be able to create a limited access mobile transportation system for Hazelwood.”

The project would directly impact residents of South Oakland’s Panther Hollow section and a Greenfield neighborhood known as The Run centered on Saline Street. Both areas have been plagued for decades with flooding during heavy rain.

Residents support the stormwater management plans, but some believe the road and trail would disrupt the secluded neighborhoods.

“The main focus should be on the flood mitigation,” said Carlino Giampolo, who splits time between Hawaii and his family homestead in Panther Hollow. “They should abandon the plans for building the road through the two neighborhoods. It would be very detrimental to the neighborhoods.”

The road is a small part of the project, but Peduto said it’s critical for the development of the 178-acre Hazelwood Green development formerly known as Almono. The former LTV Steel mill property is owned by three prominent Pittsburgh foundations and slated for redevelopment as a green, high-tech center with space for housing, offices and recreation.

Peduto said Hazelwood Green provides an outlet for high-tech industry flowing from Oakland universities that has little room to grow in Oakland. The road and trail would parallel Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks running from Oakland to the Monongahela River and be limited to shuttle traffic, Peduto said.

“We believe the impact to be minimal, if any, and the benefit being that instead of all the pressure being placed on Oakland we can now develop Hazelwood…,” the mayor said. “We need to have a release valve for the potential growth that Pittsburgh is seeing. Otherwise we’re going to end up with a neighborhood of Oakland that is oversaturated and a lost opportunity for Hazelwood ever to be redeveloped.”

The green infrastructure plans are much larger in scale. They include restoring former streams that carry a combination of stormwater and sewage draining into Four Mile Run from Oakland and Squirrel Hill through pipes that are too small and dump more than 400 million gallons annually into the Monongahela River.

Pittsburgh is under a federal mandate to reduce the amount of tainted water entering the river.

Preliminary plans call for the dredging and enlargement of Panther Hollow Lake, wetlands in Junction Hollow running between Panther Hollow and The Run and multiple green infrastructure projects in Schenley Park, which sits above the two neighborhoods.

“The green infrastructure’s my biggest thing,” said Councilman Corey O’Connor of Swisshelm Park, whose district includes a large portion of Four Mile Run. “That’s the biggest win for the neighborhood because the flooding that happens down there when it rains is just horrible.”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter @bobbauder.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.