Plans to build a park of I-579 to create a bridge between Hill District, downtown move forward

PTITSBURGH —A $19 million federal grant could help build a cap and park over I-579 in Pittsburgh, creating a bridge between the Hill District and Downtown that officials say has been missing since the 1950s

City, county, and congressional leaders said Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Transportation had approved the grant to the Pittsburgh Sports and Exhibition Authority for the project.

The plans call for a deck to be built over Crosstown Boulevard, near the site of the old Civic Arena. Many leaders believe the highway and the arena became barriers between the two sections of town.

“It’s a physical barrier, as well as a social and mental barrier,” said Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Lavelle, who represents the area. “This gives us the ability to provide a very unique space, within the inner city, connecting Downtown and the Hill District with a very well-imagined urban park.”

Officials hope the park will include gardens, pavilions, artwork, and a theater. The total cost of the project is expected to be close to $27 million, so more money still must be secured. Construction likely would not be finished for at least two years.

Chattanooga Approves New Form-Based Code for Downtown


The Chattanooga City Council voted unanimously tonight to give its second, and final, approval of new downtown zoning rules.

The new zoning regulations, referred to as form-based codes, apply to Chattanooga's downtown and adjoining urban areas to the north, south and east.

The final passage of the new zoning serves as the end result of 18 months of discussions by city planners, elected officials and community stakeholders concerning development regulations that focus more on pedestrians, motorists and urban aesthetics than a site's particular residential, commercial or industrial usage.

Last week, the council voted 8-0 to approve the new urban zoning rules. Councilman Ken Smith was absent from the meeting. Tonight the council voted 9-0 to approve the final passage.

At that meeting, council members addressed concerns raised by residents concerning minimal parking requirements, a recurring topic of the form-based code discussion.

During the meeting, council members addressed concerns voiced by residents over parking requirements, a recurring topic of public form-based codes meetings.

Councilman Chris Anderson said the new rules offered a significant improvement over current zoning.

"Today, there are no parking requirements," Anderson said. "What this does is create them."

Councilman Yusuf Hakeem asked the council to go forward with the vote in light of a number of changes already incorporated into the new zoning regulations and a six-month review period that follows after their adoption.

"I do not feel we will come up with a perfect document" Hakeem said. "We have to get off the dime and put something in place."

Regional Planning Agency Executive Director John Bridger called zoning conversation "a good example of a civic deliberative process that everyone can live with that can advance our city."


Specific Plan could transform Downtown Oakland

The 980 Freeway running through West Oakland is a "great gash" that was originally built to connect with a second Bay Bridge that never arrived, city planning consultant Victor Dover said Monday night at a public meeting to discuss Downtown Oakland's Specific Plan.

Dover's proposal: tear down 980 and replace it with a grand boulevard for walkers, cyclists and cars.

A makeover for North Beach?

The first draft of a master plan for the neighborhood in the northern section of Miami Beach includes more bus and bike lanes, plans for creating local historic districts and ideas for creating a stretch of taller, mixed-use buildings as part of a town center along 71st Street.

Urban planners at Dover, Kohl & Partners have spent months studying the area, talking to residents and working with consultants to get a sense of what the community wants and what it needs.

Tampa becomes the first city in the world to introduce a WELL Certified district.

When green building began to sweep the country in the 1970s, it came with a red alert: Construction with toxic components was harmful to the environment. A correlation between the effects of traditional construction and human health increased the urgency. Now, a group of stakeholders is breaking new, higher ground by establishing the world’s first WELL Certified city district in Tampa, Florida.

Doheny Village Design Charrette a Wrap

Opticos Design’s principal Dan Parolek presented the culmination of last week’s work at the conclusion of the Doheny Village Plan design charrette on Saturday, Sept. 12, at Capo Beach Church. Parolek presented more finalized drawings, representative of the combination of Opticos’ ideas and ideas brought by the public during the four-day program, to a crowd of about 75 people.

Pendelton Tract

CLEMSON – More than 100 people turned out to begin brainstorming on a vision for 354 acres of woodlands along U.S. 76 from Clemson University into Anderson County.

The property owner, Pacolet Milliken, and its planners laid out some of the possibilities – including a village center with high-density housing and businesses, with greenspaces and recreational trails that would connect to downtown Clemson and Pendleton and Patrick Square.

Craig Lewis, who led the overview session Monday night for the planning firm Stantec, got a hearty round of applause when he said, "What we do know is that student housing is not on our list."


Irvine OKs 1,600 amenity-rich apartments near JWA

A couple thousand people looking for urban living, rooftop pool lounging and a bowling alley in Irvine will be able to do all three at the new Elements development.

Unanimously approved by the city’s planning commission Thursday, the project from Garden Communities proposes 1,600 apartments at the corner of Jamboree Road and Campus Drive near John Wayne Airport.