The view coming in to the neighborhood from the 28th Street Bridge, is so scenic…you come up a winding hill, over an picturesque old metal bridge, past a wild, tangled hillside and up to 30th Street where the park and the church come into view. But this approach is marred by two large billboards on the north (left) side of Brereton. This narrow strip of land is owned by the Port Authority of Allegheny County, who presumably get a decent steady income stream from renting the land to Lamar. This intersection is near the center of the neighborhood, so it’s too bad we don’t have any say in whether there are billboards there. Not only are they large and ugly, but the property and the adjacent sidewalk are littered year-round with trash that seems to have been thrown from passing vehicles. In the spring and summer the land gets overgrown with knotweed–last summer it grew up until it almost reached the sidewalk; a neighborhood resident finally got fed up with how bad it looked and cut it back.
It doesn’t appear that Port Authority does any cleanup, mowing or maintenance on the property–I walk past several times a week; I never see any evidence of change except for the ads on the billboards.
Now all of the brown earth on this property is covered with small red knotweed sprouts. Let’s see how tall it grows before someone from the neighborhood once again takes the initiative to address the eyesore. Could we get Port Authority to cleanup their property? Even better, could we get them to sell it? This could be a beautiful intersection and an impressive entrance to Polish Hill if the billboards weren’t there and it was parkland on both sides. The PHCA is considering how we could accomplish this.
Maybe as a neighborhood we could propose a deal with the Port Authority and other agencies like the URA to let the neighborhood regain control of the land, like these groups from Oregon: http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/intersection-repair/
I’m thinking particularly of the benches, bulletin boards and flowers that would make people want to stop here – extending the park around the intersection as mentioned above. And in the process nix the billboards.
Thanks for your comments, Erin. We’ll check out that link you sent. We have an inquiry in to the mayor’s office to see what is possible, and we’ll post any updates to the blog.