The two developments mentioned yesterday are just a small part of Route 30’s spiraling growth east of Pittsburgh. Concern for the corridor led the Smart Growth Partnership of Westmoreland County to host a 5-day design charrette at the University of Pittsburgh’s Greensburg campus (its home base). The focus was the future of U.S. 30/the Lincoln Highway—how to specifically preserve the rural landscape, revitalize towns, and enjoy the benefits of growth while avoiding clogged roadways, vanishing open spaces, and soaring home prices.
A 4-year study started in 2005 covers 40 miles and 12 municipalities from Pittsburgh’s eastern suburbs to the Laurel Highlands, known to Lincoln Highway travelers for the steep winding road on the west side of Laurel Mountain. A master plan being developed will present a prototype for safe, efficient, attractive, and connecting land use. The finished plan is expected in April 2008, followed by a year of implementation. According to Smart Growth, the project is unique in that a non-profit entity is taking a proactive, collaborative approach to help shape communities.
Above: The Lincoln Highway east of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. With 4-lane US 30 to the right, and houses rising on farmland to the left, how long can this rural roadscape survive?
An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette summarized the concepts developed by the group with help from a team of design professionals, engineers, architects, urban planners and landscape architects:
• Mixed use development with the highest density centered on Route 30.
• Public open spaces providing gathering places throughout the site.
• A gateway at the intersection of Route 30 and Route 981 serving as an “arrival point” to Latrobe and the Laurel Highlands.
• Retaining the Route 30 corridor as a regional connection with parallel roads providing local “circulation.”
• Greenways defining the development areas as well as connecting the rural context of the development.
Visit www.route30plan.com to see the plan, photos, and more information.
Also from that stretch of US 30/Lincoln Highway, here’s a view of the nice-looking building mentioned in yesterday’s post – the headquarters of the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, courtesy of that group via Susan Schmucker, whose brother’s construction company (Dill Construction) built it in 1964. It’s faced in Delaware River sandstone and topped by a metal cupola that conceals the chimney. Cost, including fountain and parking lot, was $312,500 back then. The authority moved out the end of October and it’s set to be demolished. Susan says they outgrew the facility, and traffic had increased dramatically due to retail development, but they will miss it.