Complete Streets

Pittsburgh is changing how it thinks about mobility and transportation for its 1,300 miles of street network, making it safer to travel using multiple modes. Complete Streets encourage more than one way of travel, taking into account pedestrians, bicycles, transit, and private vehicles – an approach that is referred to as “multi-modal transportation". Using a multi-modal approach when designing our streets will make our transportation network safer for more people and improve quality of life in the city. By creating streets that are great public spaces as well as safe, connected, and convenient transportation networks, the City's first ever Complete Streets Policy (and subsequent planning efforts and code changes) aim to enhance safety, mobility, and access for all Pittsburghers, regardless of how they travel.

What are complete streets?

Pittsburgh’s Complete Streets approach aims to improve the quality of life for all Pittsburghers by creating streets that are safe and comfortable for all people, activated public spaces, and connected transportation networks for everyone. This initiative will consider all modes of travel in making mobility recommendations – walking, biking, taking transit, and driving – and create a more livable public realm that encourages active lifestyles.

Pittsburgh residents are highly multi-modal and comprise one of the largest non-auto-commuting workforces in the country. It is a goal of the Complete Streets policy to continue to reduce the number of commuting trips taken by driving alone, in partnership with the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative. Planning and building a robust and well-connected transit, pedestrian and bicycle system will enhance the mobility, equity and overall quality of life in the City’s neighborhoods. Complete Streets also provide the infrastructure for people to easily integrate physical activity and active transportation into their daily commute, making for a healthier, more active city as outlined in the Active Allegheny Plan.

Additionally, our streets do much more than transport people and goods from one place to another; they are important channels for storm water flowing to the rivers, as well as conduits for utilities such as electric, gas and drinking water. While improving mobility in Pittsburgh, The City will also look for targeted ways to improve water, environmental health and utility systems through a Complete Streets approach. Better incorporating street trees and other streetscape improvements can not only enhance air quality, and beautify our streets, but also slow traffic. Expanding travel options for all modes also helps the City combat climate change and work towards reducing emissions from transportation.

In addition to incorporating green infrastructure, innovation in mobility can also include infrastructure elements which encourage efficient use of our streets, such as sensors that allow for inter-vehicle communication, transit signal priority and bicycle/pedestrian detection.

Why Pittsburgh? Why Now?

Transportation in Pittsburgh has so much potential to be multi-modal. Our street network is narrow; cars, bikes, buses and pedestrians are used to sharing space. Our city is dense; therefore most trips are short and easily navigable by many modes. As Pittsburgh’s population grows, so will the amount of people using our streets. Policies and initiatives like this one will ensure that it grows in a safe and sustainable way, giving mobility options for everyone regardless of how they choose to move.

What has been done so far?

In April 2015, Mayor Peduto signed an executive order calling for a city-wide policy on Complete Streets and an eventual adoption of design guidelines. After an internal policy workshop and public meeting in December attended by over 200 members of the community, the City is now working to draft a policy which will help us redesign our streets to better meet the needs of all users. This policy is anticipated work in tandem with other ongoing comprehensive planning efforts of the Department of City Planning, including the Mobility Plan. We expect that that the adoption of this policy will lead to drafting design guidelines and putting in motion a process to evaluate complete street projects.

What and where will you see changes after the policy is adopted?

The Complete Streets policy will require all new projects in our Right of Way to take a complete streets approach and consider improvements to make the street more accommodating to all road users or ecology. These improvements may include, but are not limited to, adding bike lanes, bump outs, planters, curb ramps, signage, transit amenities, street furniture, green infrastructure, high visibility crosswalks, shorter crossing distances, audible signals, road diets and/or safe routes to school. Complete Streets design criteria would apply to:

  • New Public Streets
  • New Development (Both Public and Private)
  • The City's Paving/Resurfacing Program
  • Major On-Street Utility Work

Complete Streets Kickoff Meeting -- 12/1/15

Complete Streets Policy Meeting -- 7/7/16

What happens now?

Following the adoption of the Complete Streets Policy, the Department of City Planning is working in conjunction with the Department of Public Works to create Complete Streets Design Guidelines for the City of Pittsburgh. 

Check out the PowerPoint presentation from the Complete Streets Policy Update Public Meeting!       

City Steps

City Steps

Winding up and down the many hills of Pittsburgh are its public staircases. Built largely in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these staircases served as the primary mode of transportation for Pittburgh’s commuting workforce. With over 700 staircases, Pittsburgh has the most public steps of any city in America. As an essential component of an integrated pedestrian network, the steps are an important asset to the city, improving the connections between neighborhoods and encouraging walking and active transportation. 

Explore the history of our City Steps and overview of the City Step Assessment with our Story Map

About the Citywide Step Plan

The City Steps Assessment was selected as one of the winning projects for the City Accelerator program. The City Accelerator, an initiative of Living Cities and the Citi Foundation, aims to help accelerate the adoption of such innovations within and across cities. Pittsburgh’s City Steps are as diverse as the city itself. The city’s public stair network is comprised of 700 staircases which vary in size, age, construction material and current condition. The city is currently engaged in an effort to assess City Steps in order to develop a way to more systematically repair and maintain these treasured assets. Using mapping analysis, public input and field work, the city will create a prioritized repair and rebuilding schedule. In addition to creating a priority list, this project will consider the material, aesthetic and public amenity aspects of the staircases through the creation of new design guidelines and lifecycle cost estimates. 

You can help by answering a few quick questions using our interactive map!

Provide Feedback:

  • Citywide Kick-off Meeting: Thursday, July 27th 2017 from 6-8PM. William Pitt Ballroom, 3959 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
    • View the Kick-off Meeting presentation HERE
  • Community Meetings
    • August 7th: Greenfield Community Association's Development and Transportation Committee, 521 Greenfield Ave. at 7:00pm
    • August 16th: Observatory Hill Inc., 3505 Perrysville Avenue at 7:00pm
    • August 17th: Mount Washington Community Forum, 122 Virginia Avenue  at 6:30pm
    • August 17th: Beltzhoover Consensus Group Forum, 900 Delmont Ave at 6:30p
    • August 22nd: Bloomfield Livable Streets, 4754 Liberty Avenue at 6pm 
    • September 5th: Polish Hill Civic Association Steps Meeting, 450 30th Street at 6:30pm
    • September 11th: Spring Hill Civic League, Spring Hill Elementary School at 6:00pm 
    • September 12th: Community Alliance of Spring Garden and East Deutschtown, 1308 Spring Garden Avenue at 6:30pm
    • September 14th: Oakland Green Team, 294 Semple Street at 6:00 PM
    • Check back later for more dates!  
  • Provide Your Feedback on our Interactive Map
Kristin Saunders
Principal Transportation Planner
Department of Mobility & Infrastructure
414 Grant Street

Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator

The City's Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator is responsible for projects that advance the City's bicycle/pedestrian initiatives. These initiatives outline both short and long term goals to enhance the safety of the City's pedestrians, commuter, and recreation cyclists, as well as to serve as guidelines for the City to achieve Bicycle Friendly Status.

Kristin Saunders
Principal Transportation Planner

Angela Martinez
Transportation 2 Planner

Contact DCP Transportation

Kristin Saunders
Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator