East Liberty Boulevard Greener, Safer
By partnering with residents, the City of Pittsburgh and nonprofit organizations Bike Pittsburgh, Tree Pittsburgh and TreeVitalize, East Liberty Development, Inc. improved East Liberty Boulevard, a main neighborhood artery, making it safer and more beautiful in the process.
The Boulevard’s “diet”
With two lanes of traffic in each direction and fewer cars using the road, East Liberty Boulevard felt more like a highway than a neighborhood street. That changed in the fall of 2008 when the Boulevard went on a “road diet”. A lane of vehicular traffic in each direction was removed to make space for a designated bike lane. On-street parking was also added from Negley to Highland Avenues. By creating the designated lane for bikes and reducing speeds, the Boulevard has become for cyclists a safe alternative to Penn Ave.
Trees improve health, safety
Over the course of two plantings in the following months, 300 volunteers came out in full force to plant 165 trees along the Boulevard. Increasing the number of trees along the street (and throughout East Liberty) has numerous benefits to the neighborhood, including improving air quality and water quality. Trees also help to calm and slow down traffic along streets. Aside from their health benefits, the trees make the Boulevard look good. Volunteers also planted 500 flower bulbs, adding to the visual interest along the street. The trees and flowers were joined by 100 shrubs in 2010. The shrubs also improve aesthetics and air quality.
These changes along East Liberty Boulevard will not only make the neighborhood look better, they also improve safety for motorists, cyclists and all community members.