Polish Hill Arts Fest vendor preview #1

We’ve got another great lineup of artists and craftspeople this year.  Some are returning vendors, and some are with us for the first time.  There’s some great work coming to the festival this year — here’s the first preview.

Kirsten Lowe-Rebel makes prints, pillows, and handcrafted jewelry with Pittsburgh themes.  You can see more of here work at her Etsy store, or her website.

Lowe_Rebel_Kitchen towel BLOG

LoweRebel_16th st bridge pillow BLOG

LoweRebel_batch of cuffs BLOG

Renee and Cathie of Animoon Workshop create one-of-a-kind jewelry, home décor, and collaged gifts from reclaimed and natural artifacts.  They have vended with us before, and it’s great to have them back this year.  See more of their work.

AnimoonWorkshop-bullet necklace



Owlet Organics is another return vendor.  Amanda Comeau makes adorable organic clothes and items for babies and kids.  Check out her website to see more.




Garick Tai-Lee and Charlie Alessi are Polish Hill residents who’ve shown at the festival for several years.  Their gorgeous ceramic work


Lee_Alessi_ShinoMagic Vase


Jared Ondovchik is also a Polish Hill resident and returning vendor.  He shared some information about these handcrafted knives: “The first picture is of a butcher’s knife hand forged from 3/16″ thick 1084.  It was finished with a mustard patina and a rosewood handle. The second knife was forged from an old file.  I drew the handle way out and wrapped it back into itself to give it an organic look.  I even forged a leaf on the end and framed it inside the handle.”



“The third picture is of a 8″ chef’s knife that I am really proud of.  It was forged from 1095 and has an ironwood handle with brass hardware.  The tang runs through the handle and is peened over the bottom piece of brass for a permanent seal.”

Stay tuned for more festival previews, including more artists and craft vendors, the musical acts, and the activities!

The Bigelow Boulevard roadwork is schedule to start tomorrow. Here’s the first traffic advisory.



OTMA traffic advisory

The PennDOT Bigelow Boulevard roadwork starts tomorrow, June 30.  Here is the full text of the first Traffic Advisory from Oakland Transit Management Association, which is the public contact for the project.

Route 380 Baum Boulevard/Bigelow Boulevard/Bloomfield Bridge Reconstruction Project begins Tuesday, June 30, 2015 in Pittsburgh.

PennDOT District 11 is announcing a $12.34 million improvement project on Route 380 (Bigelow Boulevard, Baum Boulevard, North Craig Street and the Bloomfield Bridge) in the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, will begin on Tuesday, June 30 weather permitting.

Roadway reconstruction work will occur on Route 380 (Baum Boulevard/North Craig Street/Bigelow Boulevard) between Morewood Avenue and Herron Avenue in the City of Pittsburgh.  The project includes full depth reconstruction from the Bigelow Boulevard eastbound off-ramp to the Bloomfield Bridge to the Baum Avenue Bridge over the PAT Busway.  Additionally, reconstruction of the Baum Avenue bridge deck and milling and resurfacing of Baum Avenue from the bridge to Morewood Avenue will occur.  Other work includes reconstruction of ADA curb cut ramps, traffic signal upgrades and pavement reconstruction at the Bloomfield Bridge.

Beginning at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, June 30 the ramp from eastbound (outbound) Bigelow Boulevard to the Bloomfield Bridge will close to traffic for 44 consecutive days for roadway reconstruction.  Traffic will be detoured.  Posted detour:

— Motorists will continue eastbound on Bigelow Boulevard past the ramp

— Continue straight onto North Craig Street

— Turn left onto Baum Boulevard

— Follow Baum Boulevard to Liberty Avenue

— Turn left onto Liberty Avenue and follow to the Bloomfield Bridge

— End detour

Single-lane restrictions for structural steel work will begin at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, June 30 on the Baum Avenue Bridge over the PAT busway.  Long-term single-lane closures on the bridge will be implemented at a later date.

Roadway reconstruction work will begin tentatively on July 8 on Bigelow Boulevard between North Craig Street and approximately Herron Avenue.  All traffic will be shifted into the eastbound lanes.  A single lane will be maintained in each direction in the eastbound lanes as crews begin work in the westbound lanes.  Reconstruction work will continue through late August.  Once the work is complete, all traffic will be shifted into the newly constructed westbound lanes so the eastbound reconstruction can begin.

Additional work in 2015 that is currently unscheduled includes:

Roadway reconstruction of North Craig Street between Bigelow Boulevard and the Baum Avenue Bridge.  A 91 day closure will be required.

Multiple weekend closure of Blessing Street for roadway reconstruction.

Reconstruction work on the Bloomfield Bridge ramps at Bigelow Boulevard.  Two separate long-term ramp closures will occur.

The project will conclude in August of 2016.  Work occurring next year includes the deck replacement of the Baum Boulevard Bridge and the milling and resurfacing of Baum Boulevard between the bridge and Morewood Avenue.

Motorists are advised to use caution, slow down and expect changing traffic patterns.  Work zone safety is everyone’s responsibility.

To access PennDOT Traffic Cameras in the corridor visit http://www.otma-pgh.org/resources/links.

Visit 511PA.com or call 511 from any phone to check traffic conditions on major roadways before heading out

The OTMA will have a project website which should go live soon.

Volunteers needed to help the City of Pittsburgh survey all 700+ city steps


The Department of City Planning is in the process of conducting its first ever comprehensive data collection on the city’s 700+ public steps.  The collected data will be used to assess conditions and prioritize the steps for maintenance and repairs.  Surveying the 700+ steps in 66 of the city’s 90 neighborhoods will be an extensive process.  To expedite this process, the Department of City Planning seeks volunteers from local neighborhoods to survey the condition of the steps and to provide city officials with valuable insight into the usage and condition of their local steps.  Volunteers will work in teams of 3, each an assigned task to ensure consistency of data.  Training and an instructional field guide will be provided to all volunteers.

Volunteer duties

— Dedicate a few hours on the date of the survey (TBA)

— Walk up and down several sets of steps

— Survey the state of the treads, rails, and structural supports

— Electronically record data using an Ipad

— Take photographs of the steps

— Inform the City Official of the usage and utility of the local steps

Interested in helping?  Fill out the Volunteer Form. See the Step Survey Flier and Field Guide for more information, or email Catherine.crevecoeur@pittsburghpa.gov.

This page also features a map with all the City steps.

(Photo of the Downing – Herron steps, from this site)

Public meeting on June 23 about PennDOT Bigelow Boulevard road project


On June 22, PENNDOT will begin a two-year infrastructure and maintenance work on Bigelow Boulevard and Baum Boulevard.

PENNDOT will be holding a public informationsal meeting on Tuesday, June 23rd at 7:00 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriott at 5308 Liberty Ave (at Aiken). This is a public meeting for residents to learn about the scope of the project including its tentative timeline, detour routes, and regular working schedule. It will also provide an opportunity for residents from affected communities to ask questions and raise concerns.

This will be a lengthy project and even neighborhoods not containing the construction itself will be affected by detoured routes and increased traffic as drivers will be looking for ways to avoid the construction delays.

Supervisors of the project will be providing regular updates to District 7 Council office as well as being open to questions/concerns from the community throughout the project. Residents will have an opportunity to meet the supervisors and others associated with the project at the June 23 meeting.

For an overview of the project, read the Post-Gazette article here.

(Photo of Bigelow Boulevard by Bruce S. Cridlebaugh, from PghBridges)


City of Pittsburgh Community Budget Forum in Polish Hill on June 3


At the West Penn Recreation Center on Wednesday June 3 from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. there will be a community forum to gather input for the City’s 2016 Capital Budget.  This budget includes funds for things such as infrastructure projects, and the forum is a chance for residents to advocate for projects that affect our neighborhood.  The session is open to all Pittsburgh residents will include:

— A brief overview of the budgeting process
— Small-group discussion of budget priorities and residents’ needs
— An opportunity for residents to ask questions of an expert panel
— A survey, where residents can add their ideas and opinions to the budgeting process
— Refreshments

The forum will be held in the Senior Center on the lower level of West Penn.  Residents who plan to attend should pre-register.  Email sally.stadelman@pittsburghpa.gov or call 412.255.4773.  Walk-in registration will also be available the day of the forum.

If you can’t make it on June 3 but want to participate, the next forum will be on June 22 from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Southside Market House, 1 Bedford Square.

Love Your Block: help fix up Maly Park on Saturday, May 16


The PHCA was awarded a City of Pittsburgh Love Your Block grant to revitalize Maly Park, at the corner of Herron Avenue and Dobson Street. One of the requirements of the grant is that we need to bring out at least 20 volunteers. Please come out and help! Even if you can only work for an hour or two, that would be a big help.  We’ll be at Maly Park at 10:00 a.m.

Since we hope to have a large group of volunteers this day, we’ll take the opportunity to also do some maintenance at the parklet at Melwood and Finland Street as well.

If there are thunderstorms or lots of rain on May 16, we’ll postpone this volunteer day to May 30.  For more info, email valerie@phcapgh.org.

And while we’re on the topic of maintaining green space, here’s a reminder:  The morning of Saturday May 16 is also the City of Pittsburgh’s spring yard waste pickup.  Leave your bagged or bundled yard waste at the curb before 6:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.  Here’s more information on what they will and won’t pick up.

Area Agency on Aging Offering Free Education Series for Family Caregivers

Allegheny dept of aging

The Allegheny County Department of Human Services’ Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is offering a free education series for caregivers of older adults. This series is for nonprofessional caregivers and is designed to help them gain an understanding of how to provide care for a loved one.

The series will run once a month in May, June, July and August, at the AAA offices, 2100 Wharton Street, Pittsburgh, second floor.  All sessions are from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Participants will receive information booklets on all topics covered. Registration is required and space is limited. Caregivers may sign up for one session or multiple sessions.

The following is a list of training dates and topics:

Friday, May 15
Topics: Home safety and general caregiving skills

Tuesday, June 9
Topics: Helping your loved one move and assisting with personal care

Thursday, July 16
Topics: Legal and financial issues and caring for the caregiver

Friday, August 14
Topics: Healthy eating and caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia

For more information, or to register, call 412-350-4996

Springtime brings green projects, volunteer opportunities


With springtime comes the season for green projects, and the need for volunteers to help clean up the neighborhood and maintain green spaces.

On Friday April 24, we’ll be helping Tree Pittsburgh plant 100 restoration trees at the reforestation site on Brereton Street just below 30th Street (this is where the goats were brought in to clear vines last year). A group of corporate volunteers will be coming to help, but it would be great to have some help from residents too. Meet at the site at 10:00 a.m.

And Saturday April 25 is the neighborhood clean up, part of the city-wide Redd Up / Earth Day event. Meet at the PHCA office at 10:00 a.m. We’re also looking for people to lead volunteer teams to clean up different sites in the neighborhood.

Further ahead, on May 16 there will be a workday at Maly Park, at the corner of Dobson Street and Herron Avenue.  The PHCA won a grant from the City’s Love Your Block program to help fix up the park.  And on May 23, we’ll need help planting flowers in the beds at West Penn Park.

Starting in May, there will be weekly gardening sessions at the Edible Garden at West Penn, which raises produce which is donated to the Jubilee Pantry on Brereton Street.  There will also be a monthly workday at the Knotweed project site on Melwood Avenue.  For more information on green projects volunteer events, email valerie@phcapgh.org.

(Above:  flower planting at West Penn park, May 2014.  Photo by Valerie Testa.)

Two events bring Polish cinema to Pittsburgh


Events at Carnegie Mellon University and Pittsburgh Filmmakers will bring some great Polish films to town this month.

Through Saturday April 25, Pittsburgh Filmmakers is screening a series of films selected by Martin Scorsese.  After visiting the Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School in 2011, Martin Scorsese was struck by the astonishing achievements of Poland’s national cinema, particularly from 1957 to 1987, a golden age of Polish auteurs. He then organized (with The Film Foundation and distributor Milestone Films) a restoration project and touring program of the films. The seven titles in this program represent some of Poland’s most accomplished directors. They are digitally remastered, with new subtitles.  The program is co-presented by the Polish Cultural Council.  Thursday screenings at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday screenings at 5:30 p.m.  All seats are $5.00.  Click here for the list of films and more information.

And at the  the Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival, The Mighty Angel, a 2014 Polish film, directed by Wojciech Smarzowski, will be screened on April 10 at 7:15 p.m. in the McConomy Auditorium on CMU campus.  Following the film there will be an interactive Q&A session with a Polish language/culture scholar and a free reception with authentic Polish cuisine.  To purchase tickets or learn more about the Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival, check out the CMU IFF website.

Above, a still from Man of Iron, which will be screened at the Harris Theater on April 23 and 25.


Now accepting vendor applications for the 2015 Polish Hill Arts Festival


The eighth Polish Hill Arts Festival will take place on Sunday, July 19, and the application period is now open for people who wish to participate.  The festival includes artists and craft vendors, live music, food, and art and craft activities.  This is quirky, less traditional sort of arts festival.  It’s also an inclusive, family and kid-friendly event.

For vending: fill out the application and either email or send to us. Be sure to read and save page 2, the information sheet.

Application for artists and craftspeople

Application for food vendors

If your band or performance group would like to be considered:
Email leslie@phcapgh.org, and include links to your music (preferred), or mail a CD.

Artists or groups interested in presenting an activity or artwork should email leslie@phcapgh.org or send us a description of what you would like to do.

To volunteer or get more information: Call us at 412.681.1950 or email.

(Photo from the 2014 Polish Hill Arts Festival, by Leslie Clague)