In Response to the Proposed 6886 Forward Avenue Development

In Response to the Proposed 6886 Forward Avenue Development

At UpstreamPgh we believe that healthy ecology leads to healthy communities. Established as an organization in 2001, we’ve taken pride in stewarding the Nine Mile Run Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration, when it was completed in 2006 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This $7.7 million project was the most successful urban restoration project of its kind when finished and quickly became the centerpiece of the 644 acre wooded Frick Park. The primary purpose of this project was to restore the natural habitat and ecosystem functions of a stream that had been degraded over the decades by manmade causes and pollution. The result has quickly become a centerpiece of Frick Park, and a respite from the urban environment for surrounding neighborhoods and park users. One can feel like they are outside the city when walking along Nine Mile Run and throughout Frick Park.

As stewards of Nine Mile Run and Frick Park, we are opposed to the recent proposal by Craft Development Group and Indovina Associates Architects to erect a 160 unit residential development at 6886 Forward Avenue. This proposed development has the potential for direct and detrimental impacts to the Nine Mile Run Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration as the stream runs through a portion of the parcel. There are also potential impacts to Frick Park and the surrounding neighborhoods. We have attempted to list several, but this is not an exhaustive list. 

  • This would be the first development abutting Nine Mile Run and could jeopardize the restoration work completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers through additional stormwater runoff from the impervious surfaces and change in land grade. 
  • The proposed development will forever change the scenic landscape of Frick Park as the height of the building will certainly be visible to park users. 
  • The amount of traffic generated from this project, which in itself is a concern, would also bring with it increased roadway pollution that would end up in Nine Mile Run. 
  • Many park users enjoy Frick Park on both sides of Commercial Street, yet it is already dangerous to cross the road with traffic as is. With the increased traffic generated from the proposed development, it will certainly mean more cars for park users to avoid. 
  • The proximity of this proposed development to Nine Mile Run also raises concerns about flood risk. The Commercial Street Culvert was identified as a top 10 flood risk in the City of Pittsburgh in a 2018 study conducted by PWSA. This can shut down traffic like in 2022 while the damage is repaired. 
  • In addition, the proposed development site is located at the top of a steep slope that has been identified as landslide prone. Forward Avenue has experienced multiple landslides in recent years.

While we understand the need for more housing, this proposed development in a Park zoning district, essentially within Frick Park and containing Nine Mile Run, absolutely feels like the wrong place for it. 

If you are reading this, and agree with any of the points we have made, we ask you to SIGN OUR PETITION to let the developers and the City of Pittsburgh know that we will not stand for this misuse of our public lands and green spaces.

In solidarity,

Michael Hiller
UpstreamPgh Executive Director
and the UpstreamPgh Board of Directors