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Brownsville Urban Road Corridor South Business District Carrick, PA

Designed By Preston Linck The Pennsylvania State University...Landscape Architecture 414...Pittsburgh Studio...Fall 2011


An Introduction to Brownsville Road •The long history of Carrick, Pennsylvania can be dated back to 1765 when Major John Ormsby received a land grant from King George II as a gesture of gratitude for his service during the French and Indian War. •Brownsville Road has long been considered the “backbone” of Carrick. It was established as the route to connect Redstone Old Fort with the “Forks of the Ohio,” which spans a distance of 26 miles. Today, 2.2 miles of Brownsville Road reside in the neighborhood of Carrick, located on the southeastern edge of the City of Pittsburgh. •Historically, Brownsville Road served as the life of Carrick, where taverns, churches, and local shops thrived, and trolley cars circulated through the center with automobiles to the side lanes. •Today, Brownsville Road serves as a host to businesses, schools, churches, and heavy traffic flow. Throughout the years, the neighborhood of Carrick has steadily declined from a thriving commercial district to a fragmented mixed use community with its backbone, Brownsville Road, beginning to decay. Businesses frequently come and go and some residences are not being upkept. However, with these increased vacancies comes potential for reuse and revitalization of the Carrick Community.

•1880 Block Brownsville Road Circ.

•Brownsville Road at Noble Lane

•1880 Business District

•Brownsville Road 1818

•Photographs courtesy of the Carrick-Overbrook Historical Society (www.carrick-overbrook.org)

Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

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Project Statement •The initial objective of this project was to work in collaboration with local community members in Carrick, PA and with the Penn State Center on developing possible opportunities for revitalization of the neighborhood. Focus was centered on proposing design solutions that promote an enhanced quality of life that demonstrate sustainability, equity, and resilience. More specifically, along Brownsville Road, the objective was to address significant issues and to identify an area of focus on a several block mixed-use area. Within this area of focus, design propositions included new streetscapes, possible infill solutions, and a renovation and reuse plan of building stock, facades, and civic spaces.

Community Design Charrette & Site Analysis •On October 5, 2011, the Carrick design team composed of seven Penn State landscape architecture students conducted a participatory stakeholder charrette with local community members in Pittsburgh. The team presented initial research of Carrick including Brownsville Road, Phillips Park, and the designated greenway space. This information was gathered through research, several site visits, on - site analysis, and talking to business people and residents on the street. In addition, the charrette included student conducted activities with the participating community members in order to identify issues, needs/goals, and opportunities within the Neighborhood of Carrick. •From the charrette, most importantly, the group identified common community issues and begin to think about possible opportunities.

Neighborhood Issues

•Increase in Business Vacancies •Declining Property & Street Conditions •Lack of Destinations & Civic Spaces •Disconnect Between Street, Buildings, & Community •High Speed Traffic & a Vehicular Dominated Space •Crime •From these Issues, I was able to develop a concept for student design project.

Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

LARCH 414..Pittsburgh Studio...Fall 2011

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Design & Planning Concept •EYES on the STREET - A Reconnection of the Community to their Downtown will begin through improving the environmental quality of the streetscape, with a focus on community safety, walkability, sustainability, and appearance. In return, the business district’s economic opportunities will increase while providing community amenities and encouraging a more livable environment for the future.

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• From the charrette and information obtained from other additional research, the section of Brownsville Road between the intersection of Churchview Avenue and Brownsville Road down to the intersection of Sankey Avenue and Brownsville Road and the intersection of Merritt Avenue and Brownsville Road was identified as the focus area. After mapping this area out, I began to refer to it as the Triangle Business District of Brownsville Road, based on its shape.

Neighborhood Goals •Encourage Economic Growth Through Viable Business Development •Encourage Community Support by Creating Local Destinations •Encourage New Ecologies Through the Greening Process •Reconnect the Businesses & Community to their Streets •Decrease Traffic Speed, Creating a More Pedestrian Friendly Environment •Encourage a Sense of Respect for the Neighborhood Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

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Analysis: Walkability

Walking Distances Map • The image of children,

Project Study Area a car, a front and backyard, and a suburban home is no longer necessarily the American Dream. Young people are beginning to move back into the cities, and one major reason for this is the close proximity and easy access to small downtown businesses and commercial districts, by means of public transit, biking, and especially walking. Brownsville Road used to be a prime destination for the surrounding residents, and it still has that potential. Both diagrams show how the southern business district is immersed within a larger contextual residential district. These residents are the people who would be and want to be the primary users of this space, activating a strong economic business district once again.

Walking Distances Map Information •Outer Circle = 1/2 Mile ~ 10 Minute Walk • Middle Circle = 1/4 Mile ~ 5 Minute Walk • Inner Circle = 1/8 Mile ~ 2.5 Minute Walk

Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

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Building Use Inventory & Development • The design process of the Triangle District began with identifying the current uses of each building on each floor. This research led to a final design in which some buildings are repurposed for different uses that would best service the surrounding communities for later generations accommodating a more sustainable and resilient environment. While some of these circumstances may not be immediately applicable, it is important to envision the future, and think about what could be, giving present generations something to strive forward for the future generations. • The process began by identifying each vacant building, and repurposing the building use to something that is more desirable based on location and surrounding business uses. Then, the focus turned to existing businesses, attempting to identify businesses that could be substituted and phased out in the future for more desirable and usable uses.

Proposed Building Uses

LEGEND Bar

Existing Building Uses

Recreation Shopping Cafe Business

• The strategically located and former Hallboth Pharmacy and current Spa & Fireplace store could be better suited as a bakery with outdoor seating in the future.

Restaurant Vacant

• The former Melrose Theater and Melrose Professional could be converted from a vacant building to an art school to better service the community. Volunteers could teach pottery, painting, screen printing, jewelry making, etc. to children and adults.

Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

LARCH 414..Pittsburgh Studio...Fall 2011

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Street Revitalization & Design

• This section of Brownsville Road serves as a model for what the entirety of Brownsville Road could look like. The most noticeable issues with the current streetscape is the obvious degradation of the sidewalk, the narrow widths, lack of connection between buildings, and excess roadway. All of these factors contribute to the vehicular domination of the business district. To counteract this, it is necessary to widen the sidewalk widths where appropriate, consider new paving options, and add green space and green elements where it is suitable.

Proposed Master Plan Part 1

Curb Extension & Outdoor Seating

Curb Extension with Outdoor Seating

On Street Parking Belplain Street

Large Off Street Public Parking Lot Curb Extension & Green Roof Bus Shelter Green Grocer Plant Filled Awning

Green Roof Above Former Bai Ling Restaurant

Bus Pull Off Stop Parking Lot Bioswale

Curb Extension Green Roof Bus Shelter

Wine & Spirits Trellis of Grapes & Hops Parking Lot Bioswale 2 Street Visible Parking Lot Bioswale 3

Early Successional Plant Demonstration Plot Bus Pull Off Stop Curb Extension & Street Side Seating

Curb Extension Slanted Down for Vehicles & Pedestrians

Maytide Street Curb Extension & Outdoor Seating

New Tree Grates For Structural Soil Planted Trees Curb Extension & Large Street Side Sitting Space Design (Catered for Teenagers) Cyber Cafe Roof Top Porch

Merritt Avenue

NOT TO SCALE Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

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Street Revitalization & Design

• Greening the streetscape, by including bioswales, trees, and green roofs, could have significant influences on the way people treat the neighborhood. It improves mood, health, and experience of walking and driving. In addition, the city greening movement contributes significantly to carbon sequestration and oxygen production. In addition, planting trees and grasses can lead to an improved economy in the future. For example, In New York City, for every dollar spent on planting, care, and maintenance of trees, $5.60 of value is generated for the city and neighborhood (Windhager 2010, 110). These are calculated in terms of stormwater reduction and energy costs. In terms of the street tree selection, four different tree species are proposed in order to sustain resilience for the future. This minimizes the risk of a disease that could kill an entire monoculture.

Proposed Master Plan Part 2 Willow Oak Trees (Quercus phellos)

Thornless Honeylocust Trees (Gleditsia tricanthos) var. ‘Shademaster’

Ginko Trees (Ginko biloba)

Bur Oak Trees (Quercus macrocarpa)

Reference: Windhager, Steven, Frederick Steiner, Mark T. Simmons, and David Heymann. “Emerging Landscapes: Toward Ecosystem Services as a Basis for Design.” Landscape Journal 29. 2010. 108-123

Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

LARCH 414..Pittsburgh Studio...Fall 2011

NOT TO SCALE 8


Street Revitalization & Stormwater Management Design Stormwater Design Plan

Structural Soils Tree Planting Design

Pavement Base Course

Water

Tree Roots

Structural Soils

Geotextile

Sub Soil

How It Works

Swale filled with plants

Curb Cut (allow water in & out)

Water Flow & Street Grade

Street Storm Drain

Tree & Tree Grate

• Structural soils, made of clay loam, a stabilizing agent, and crushed stone, is a medium that is compacted to pavement while permitting substantial root growth horizontally. Water flows through the tree grates, where it eventually filters through a geotextile fabric, and ultimately ends up recharging the ground water below or transpiring back up through the tree.

NOT TO SCALE • Stormwater management has become a huge concern within cities. Currently, Pittsburgh has serious stormwater issues resulting from runoff and excess. Looking toward the future, it will be significant to find better ways to manage rainwater, attempting to clean the water and keep as much out of the storm drains as possible. Recently, this type of design has become more common and more manageable, not only supplying a resource for better management, but serving as an aesthetic amenity that can be celebrated by the public. The system above shown in plan and then shown again in section to the right takes advantage of this opportunity. The system works by grading the sidewalk and road to allow runoff to enter through the tree grate openings in the curb. The water then flows into a swale system that is filled with various plants and grasses that are often associated with water. From there, the water remains, until it recharges back into the ground naturally. This ultimately reduces damage from runoff. As a safety valve, there are curb cuts in the street that allow for water overflow to flow back out and then downward into the nearest storm drain.

Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

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Facade Revitalization • In addition to street side design, the revitalization of the facades in the business district is absolutely essential. Removing false facades, repairing damages, and making necessary renovations will help to restore the integrity back into the historical buildings which they deserve. While the quality of the streets and sidewalks may be a concern of the municipality, the responsibility for the quality and character of the buildings falls upon the private owners and occupants. Through the facade revitalization, a sense of pride can be established and brought out within the community, encouraging the history of the place to be celebrated. These restorations are significant in retying the buildings back to the street. Large, clear, storefront window displays need to be brought back in order to blur the barrier between the indoors and out, which in return generates more eyes on the street and a more interesting streetscape experience for pedestrians

Facade Restoration Guidelines

• Develop visual continuity of entire blocks and building units • Still emphasize individual character of each building & shop • Remove conflicting attachments & modifications to reinforce originality of the building • Restore historical integrity of the architecture • Do not try to make the building look older than it is • Open up building facades with large storefront display windows • Redirect eyes toward the street keeping crime in check & Reconnecting the business to the streets • Replace smoked and tinted windows with clear energy efficient glass

3 Step Approach 1. Removal

•Replacing bricked up windows is essential and relatively inexpensive

• Dismantle and remove old signs that label stores that no longer exist • Remove false facades • Remove additions that cover up original detail of the architecture • Remove temporary window signs and unnecessary displays

2. Repair & Maintenance • Clean facade from paint and dirt marks by chemical cleaner or sandblasting • Fix and uncover architectural detailing (keystones, cornices, awnings, etc.) • Replace dirty, broken, and covered up windows to original style, but with energy efficient construction

3. Renovations • Replace temporary signs with permanent signs • Relocate air conditioners centrally or in less visible locations • Replace aluminum doors with oak or other quality local wood • Replace false window frames with original red sandstone • Add street numbers to the facades • Realign windows and doors where necessary Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

•Removing unnecessary paint & false facades restores the historical pride of the street & livens up the street LARCH 414..Pittsburgh Studio...Fall 2011

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Facade & Building Use Revitalization Design • To begin the facade revitalization process, it was essential to first take inventory and study the existing facade structures, identifying what is original, what is an addition, and if that addition fits the architectural style. This information was then taken and applied to the new design of the facades and building uses, which in return will help to generate higher property values, a more desirable and serviceable destination, that helps provide a more stable and thriving economy. Below are exisiting and proposed facades within the chosen project area.

Existing Business District Facades: West Side South

Proposed Business District Facades: West Side

North

South

North

Existing Business District Facades: East Side

North

South

North

South

Proposed Business District Facades: East Side

Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

LARCH 414..Pittsburgh Studio...Fall 2011

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Facade & Building Use Revitalization Design

See Page 13 for Section 1 Continuation

Section 1: Business District Facades: East Side

Part 1

Orphaned Media Video Games,Movies, etc.

1st Floor - Music Store Guitars, Drums, Keyboards, Stage 2nd Floor - Cyber Cafe with Deck Computers, Coffee, Tea

Carrick Arts Adult & Children Classes Pottery, Painting, Drawing, Jewelry Making, etc.

Carrick Community Boxing

Carrick Theater Movies, Plays, Concerts

• This first stretch of buildings between Merritt Avenue and Maytide Street was purposed with more of a teenage crowd in mind. Having said that, it is still very functional for adults, where there is an abundant amount of streetside seating which becomes more cultural and recreational in terms of the building uses. The intent is to create a more social and desirable setting that helps to deter crime, creating a safer environment. Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

LARCH 414..Pittsburgh Studio...Fall 2011

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Facade & Building Use Revitalization Design

See Page 14 for Section 1 Continuation

Section 1: Business District Facades: East Side

Part 2

Michael Dear Insurance

Office Building

Character’s Bar

Successional Vegetation Display

South Hills Judo Club

• The second stretch of buildings between Maytide Street to the South Hills Judo Club will remain as they currently are with some minor facade adjustments. In addition, where the derelict wall stands, a display style openings with mesh interior will be put in to allow visual access in to where successional vegetation is erupting and urban ecology is taking hold. Also, a formal bus stop and shelter will be put in to improve traffic flow, and to provide sitting spaces for people waiting. Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

LARCH 414..Pittsburgh Studio...Fall 2011

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Facade & Building Use Revitalization Design

See Page 15 for Section 1 Continuation

Section 1: Business District Facades: East Side

Part 3

Carrick Hardware

Sam’s Sun Sandwiches

Italian Restaurant

Mooney’s Place

Pennie’s Dollar Store

• The main addition to this third stretch of buildings, other than minor facade renovations and repairs, is the addition of an Italian restaurant in the former Bai Ling building. Since the roof of this particular building is low, it would be ideal to place a green roof on top to put on display for people walking and driving by. Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

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Facade & Building Use Revitalization Design

See Page 16 for Section 1 Continuation

Section 1: Business District Facades: East Side

Part 4

All Adds Up

Office Building

Gregory A. Castelli Attorney at Law

Belplain Street

• The fourth stretch of buildings consists primarily of repairing minor damages to cladding, tile, and brick which improves the building values for business owners. Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

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Facade & Building Use Revitalization Design

End of Section 1: West Side

Section 1: Business District Facades: East Side

Part 5

Dreamline Hauling Estate Resale Store Furniture, Houseware, Clothing, etc.

The Green Apple Cafe & Bookstore Combination

The Carrick Eagles Public Bowling Alley & Bar

• The addition of a book store and cafe combination would provide a space for people of all ages to relax and socialize. Outside, there would be curb extensions where outdoor cafe seating would be present. To the right, the Carrick Eagles would remain, but it would become public for people to be able to bowl and have a drink. Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

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Facade & Building Use Revitalization Design

See Page 18 for Section 2 Continuation

Section 2: Business District Facades: West Side

Part 1

Carrick Deli Deli Meats, Sandwiches, Pizza, Outdoor Seating

Hess Floral

• Placing a large public retail business on the corner, and adding a curb extension with outdoor seating really allows for an opportune gathering space. A restaurant such as a deli caters to people of all ages, allowing for healthy mixed interaction and social situations. Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

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Facade & Building Use Revitalization Design

See Page 19 for Section 2 Continuation

Section 2: Business District Facades: West Side

Part 2

Gary’s Restaurant

Laundromat

Annie’s Juice Bar

Homeade Ice Cream & Candy

United States Post Office

Carrick Credit Union

• Restoring visual continuity of entire buildings is significant in maintaining and strengthening street identify. In addition, replacing the power lines and putting them underground during future road reconstruction would also allow for a more visually exciting and pleasant environment. Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

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Facade & Building Use Revitalization Design

See Page 20 for Section 2 Continuation

Section 2: Business District Facades: West Side

Part 3

Smooth Cutz Barber Shop

Essence Nail Salon & Day Spa

Island Tanning Salon

Bus Shelter

Green Grocer & Bus Pull Off Fresh Produce, Vegetables, Organic Foods, Vegetative Awning

Slightly Elevated Sidewalk as Parking Lot Entrance (Pedestrian First)

• Adding awnings can liven the streetscape up and provide necessary summer shade. In addition, providing a green grocer encourages healthier living in the neighborhood, encouraging people to walk, bike, or take a bus. Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

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Facade & Building Use Revitalization Design

See Page 21 for Section 2 Continuation

Section 2: Business District Facades: West Side

Part 4

Wine & Spirits Community Wine & Cheese Tasting Party

Parking Lot Rain Garden Bioswale

Slightly Elevated Sidewalk as Parking Lot Entrance (Pedestrian First)

• Continuing the sidewalk through the parking lot entrances with a slanted down ramp makes the pedestrians feel more comfortable, rather than being in a vehicular dominated space. Also, creating wine and cheese tasting opportunities outside the Wine & Spirits store strengthens community engagement. Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

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Facade & Building Use Revitalization Design

End of Section 2: East Side

Section 2: Business District Facades: West Side

Part 5

Dr. Anna Miller Eye Care Center

Carrick Spa & Fireplace

Carrick Bakery Danishes, Cakes, Cookies, etc.

•Establishing a local bakery at the corner of Sankey Avenue could stimulate more social engagement and become a meeting spot for people. In addition, the curb extension could allow for outdoor eating, helping to reconnect the architecture to the streets, and serving as a traffic calming device. Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

LARCH 414..Pittsburgh Studio...Fall 2011

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Spatial Design Recreational Street Design

•Tree Grate

•Brick Sidewalk at Curb Extension

•Sitting Blocks

Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

•Movie Theater

LARCH 414..Pittsburgh Studio...Fall 2011

• This space was designed with teenagers in mind, where it was envisioned as a block for them to hang out after school and on the weekends. They can see a movie, go to the music store, the cafe, or take an extracurricular class in pottery. This then gives them a space to socialize while they wait for their parents to pick them up. This area is semi enclosed by trees and stormwater management plots, but is open enough to ensure safety. This type of space helps to eliminate petty crime like vandalism by attempting to gather people in one specific open area integrated within the large social fabric. 22


Spatial Design Green Grocer & Wine & Spirits

•Improved Sidewalk •Vegetative Awning •Green Grocer with streetside produce carts

•Patio •Wine & Cheese Table

•Trellis of Grapes & Hops

Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

•Improved Street Lighting •Parking Lot Bioswale

•Curb Extension & Stormwater Management LARCH 414..Pittsburgh Studio...Fall 2011

• Establishing a Green Grocer can help to promote healthy living within the community. In addition, the Wine & Spirits store has an open space in front that could be perfect with a gathering patio, which would hold a wine and cheese tasting party once every month during the warm seasons. The curb extension and inclusion of the stormwater management design provides additional interest while granting people more space along the street to gather and sit.

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Spatial Design Successional Plant Display

•Bus Shelter with Green Roof

•Stucco Existing Wall

•Brick Sidewalk at Curb Extensions

Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

•Wire Mesh •Plant ID Signs

•Awning with Plants •Red Sandstone Window Frame

LARCH 414..Pittsburgh Studio...Fall 2011

•The existing wall along the string of facades disrupts the of the buildings and is a blight along the streetscape. Currently, there are successional species growing up in an enclosed area that is out of view. As a cheap and relatively easy renovation, window holes could be cut out, and a fine wire mesh could be placed inside rather than glass. This design would resemble that of a facade, but rather than a display of merchandise, a display of a spontaneous urban ecosystem will be shown with identification signs labeling the identified species. The mesh wire allows for a more intimate interaction and relationship with the greenery and associated wildlife such as butterflies and pollinators. In addition, putting some lights and a awning full of other plants could continue to emphasize the character of a facade while educating participants about successional vegetative growth and urban ecology. 24


Conclusions

Thank you to the community members of Carrick and to the Penn State Center for your support, place - based knowledge, and resources for the planning and design of this project.

Brownsville Urban Road Corridor...South Business District

LARCH 414..Pittsburgh Studio...Fall 2011

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Brownsville Urban Road Corridor  

A project completed during the Fall Semester of 2011, that redesigns the business district of Carrick, PA

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