Carnegie Mellon University

Outdoor Seating Model Proposed by the Task Force

Paving the Way to Safer Streets

Metro21 joins the PGH Streets and Mobility Task Force to explore ways in which we can redesign our city streets and reconceive transportation and mobility in order to best support businesses and residents to stabilize and strengthen the local economy.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Pittsburgh established the Task Force on Streets and Mobility. The Committee, chaired by former Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Allen Biehler, was formed April 29 and convened four times between May 1 and May 11, and finished its report last week. Executive Director Karen Lightman of Metro21 was brought on as a part of this task force. The ad hoc committee was comprised of business owners, business association and development organization leaders, mobility providers, urban designers, technologists, and transportation professionals. The report developed several conclusions about the current street climate in Pittsburgh including:

  • Challenges of reopening local businesses
  • Recommendations for actionable templates and strategies

Ultimately, by the end of the several task force meetings, the group agreed that Pittsburgh must provide clear communication and transparency with regard to the recommendations of the Task Force and continuing programmatic development and implementation of street and mobility redesign. Public trust, broad awareness, and engagement is necessary to successfully transform streets and mobility in support of reopening businesses, restoring economic activity, and increasing the health and wellness of city residents.

For example, many restaurants and other food service establishments rely on table service, and associated alcohol sales, to cover costs. Expansion of outdoor dining will only work in places where significant addition of tables is available such as via full street closure, conversion of surface parking lots, or utilization of local parklets, plazas or vacant parcels.

To view the full report, click here.