The University of Pittsburgh is about revitalize the heart of their campus with pedestrian-friendly landscape restoration

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the stretch of Bigelow Boulevard between Fifth and Forbes Avenues forms the heart of the University of Pittsburgh‘s campus. Residents of the entire region enjoy visiting it to enjoy the stunning architecture of the Cathedral of Learning and relax in the green space of Schenley Plaza.

As a result, it constantly suffers from a dangerous mixing of buses, pedestrians, bicycles and far too many cars. It’s been a source of consternation for many years.

But good news has finally arrived: Bigelow Boulevard is about to be redesigned and reconstructed.

On June 27, 2019, the Property and Facilities Committee of the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees approved the transformation of Bigelow Boulevard between Fifth and Forbes avenues and the William Pitt Union (WPU) grounds to improve safety, expand accessibility, upgrade utility infrastructure and enhance the sustainability of the campus hub.

Through a partnership with the City of Pittsburgh that has been in development since 2017, the University will reconfigure Bigelow Boulevard vehicular lanes to improve traffic flow and safety, install improved bike lanes and create a safer, more efficient central crossing connecting the WPU and Cathedral of Learning.

The $23.7 million project, scheduled to start November 1, 2019, and be completed in August of 2020, will enhance the streetscape and landscape along Bigelow and the WPU grounds and improve stormwater management. The project also includes crucial upgrades to improve the resiliency of Pitt’s aging utility infrastructure, which will enable future projects in the University’s campus master plan.

Mavis Rainey, the executive director of the Oakland Transportation Management Association, said “Bigelow Boulevard is a major throughway for pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and motorists.”

The planned multimodal improvements will enhance the safety of the street, making it more accommodating for all users, including those needing accessible parking for shuttle and individual pick-ups and drop-offs,” she added.

The WPU grounds enhancement will improve accessibility, replace the driveway and hardscape with a more sustainable surface, upgrade lighting, expand outdoor seating and create improved outdoor gathering space for student activities and events.

Our master plan goals include creating a more connected campus that is not only beautiful, but also easy to navigate,” said Mary Beth McGrew, Pitt’s assistant vice chancellor of campus planning.

This project will fulfill a long-term goal of connecting the Cathedral of Learning with the center of student life on campus. Simultaneously, working through all these improvements will mean a more efficient project with less disruption,” she concluded.

Renderings are by LaQuatra Bonci Landscape Architects, courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh.

See the Bigelow project update website.

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