Dramatic redesign approved for Market Square
The city of Pittsburgh’s Historic Review Commission today approved a dramatic redesign of Downtown’s Market Square, clearing the way for construction planning but urging that the architects meet with Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation officials about their concerns.
The redesign would allow car traffic around the outside of the square, but not in the streets that run through its center. It would replace the network of streets, curbs, and raised tree planters with a flat piazza, where driving, parking, dining and walking would be demarcated by different paving materials.
Closed to cars would be Graeme Way and McMasters Way, which link the square to Fifth Avenue.
“We’re trying to give Market Square back to the pedestrians,” said Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership President Mike Edwards, whose group is leading the charge on the $5 million reworking of the square. “Right now, it’s a thoroughfare. We want it to be a destination.”
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation is concerned that the closure of Graeme Way to vehicles may crimp access to four buildings that it is renovating at a cost of $3.5 million, said Anne E. Nelson, the foundation’s attorney. The entrances to the second- and third-floor apartments will be off of Graeme Way, she said.
“If people want to drop other people off, or unload things to their apartments, they can’t get there,” Ms. Nelson said.
The commission placed one condition on its approval: that architect Dina Klavon meet with Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation to work through its concerns. Ms. Klavon will bring more detailed drawings back to the commission for a final approval. Construction could start in the spring.
Overall, Historic Review Commission members gushed.
“This will be a miniature Parisian square,” said commission Vice Chairman Paul Tellers.
“The elegance will be the ‘wow’ factor,” said commission Chairman Michael Stern.