Strip District Residents And Businesses Fed Up With Construction In Neighborhood

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Residents and business owners in the Strip District say they’re getting tired of all of the construction in their neighborhood.

At a town hall meeting Thursday hosted by Strip District Neighbors, several people expressed concern over road closures and a lack of parking.

Marc Rudov is trying to decide if he wants to live in the Strip District permanently, but all of the construction has made him unsure.

“Do I want to be surrounded by construction and disruption for the next 10 years? I don’t think so,” Rudov said.

Some of the major projects in the Strip District include Three Crossings, a 20-acre mixed-use space by Oxford Development Company, and renovation on the produce terminal.

There are also plans to build a 21-story building on Penn Avenue at the former site of Wholey’s refrigeration facility.

Christopher Beers owns Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop on Penn Avenue.

He says while he agrees with the concerns, he feels the Strip District is receiving an unwarranted negative image, and it could be driving business away.

“It is the spot to be, and there is parking,” he said. “You’ve got to work a little bit, harder to find it. You might have to walk an extra block, but there’s still parking here. The streets that are closing, relax.”

Waterfront Place, which is private property, is closed between 15th and 21st streets for at least the next two years.

The closure includes the walking trail in that area, but the street will be divided into one lane for construction and one lane for pedestrians and cyclists.

But there were still concerns at Thursday’s meeting over the loss of another road in the neighborhood.

City leaders say they hear Strip District residents and business owners and assured them they are working to improve parking and mitigate the impact of road closures.

“Something we’re doing about parking is not working,” said Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Deb Gross. “How can there be 7,000 to 8,000 new parking spaces and yet people can’t park to get to your small businesses? That’s what we have to change.”

President of Strip District Neighbors Matthew Napper said they are working with the city to find a solution.

“We’ve looked at shuttles, we’ve looked at talking to developers if they can open their garages for extended periods of time,” Napper said. “They can work with some of the business owners, maybe to work on some employee plans for their employees. Those are things that we are all in the works on right now.”

Strip District Neighbors announced at Thursday’s town hall a portion of 21st Street will be closed beginning Wednesday for utility work in the produce terminal.

The closure is expected to last for about two weeks.