One of Millvale’s greatest features is its proximity to the Allegheny River and Three Rivers Heritage Trail. Unfortunately, the Borough is severed from the river access by highway and railroad infrastructure and navigating the pathways from the river to Millvale Borough is often dangerous and confusing.
A research project was proposed as part of the Traffic21 Smart Mobility Challenge, to identify and prepare design solutions that would improve the safety and enhance the quality of access between Millvale and the Allegheny Riverfront.
The goal of this Smart Mobility Challenge project was to improve accessibility and safety problems at the complicated intersection in Millvale and in turn, transform this gateway location into a catalyst for further revitalization of the Borough and reconnect Millville to the river and the region.
A research team from The Remaking Cities Institute Urban Design Studio Course developed a set of interventions in the built environment that improve access and safety and contribute to the Borough’s economic and social vitality. The proposed improvements ranged from short-term tactical moves to long-term investment in infrastructure and landscape:
- Improved Crosswalks
- Smart Signalization
- Painted Walls
- Entry Signage
- Street Trees
- Street Banners
- Traffic Lights
- Artistic Lighting
The team evaluated each intervention based on physical, financial and procedural impacts and determined that planting street trees, painting murals on the highway walls, and installing new entry signage should be prioritized because they would have a high impact and good feasibility.
The next steps included building community awareness of the potential of better connections, working with key stakeholders on improvements that benefit both businesses and community, and building on riverfront events, such as an upcoming food truck celebration. Converting space from the now-demolished 43rd Street Bridge from boat storage to a plaza (with café or restaurant in the adjacent brick building) was discussed as the best opportunity for a public-private partnership that will benefit both business and community, as well as create a regional asset.
As a result of the project, Millvale is able to take the study and community feedback and communicate with various entities who manage the infrastructure to advance one or more of the recommendations.
Inspired by Traffic21’s years of successful collaboration with the City of Pittsburgh to become a globally recognized smart city test bed, the goal of the Smart Mobility Challenge is to demonstrate how suburban and rural communities can also benefit from a similar collaboration. This program is supported by Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic21 Institute and its affiliated US DOT National University Transportation Center, Mobility21.
The Smart Mobility Challenge is an opportunity to connect suburban and rural communities to the technologies and resources being developed at Carnegie Mellon University. The first Smart Mobility Challenge was held from 2017 – 2018, and included research done in collaboration with Millvale, McKees Rocks, Bethel Park, Greensburg, Mt. Lebanon, Dormont, Cranberry Township and Lawrence County. Learn more by clicking here.
Traffic21 is currently kicking off its Second Smart Mobility Challenge. The goal of this year’s challenge is work with these communities to use data and analytics to solve their municipality’s mobility problems. Representatives of municipalities and public transit operators in southwestern PA are invited to request research assistance through the 2019-2020 Smart Mobility Challenge. Learn more by clicking here.