In the late 1980’s, UDA Architects, on behalf of SHUC, conducted a community wide planning process in which the 1990 Squirrel Hill Master Plan was developed. One of the chief goals was the successful development of the slag dump into what is now the vibrant Sommerset community. In 2009 an update of that plan was undertaken, focusing on the need to enhance the business district in the face of changing tastes and increasing competition from other areas. Forbes Avenue storefronts are almost fully leased; upper Murray Avenue is leased; lower Murray has significant numbers of storefront vacancies, though new businesses do open to replace others that have closed. There is need for a development project at the Poli’s and movie theater site, now that the proposed Forward Square development has not come about. The resultant Gateway Project has begun in the area of Forward and lower Murray, which has provided over $700,000 of  streetscape improvements including trees, new street lights, sidewalks, the Welcome Sign, renovating the US Post Office Parklet, the proposed O’Connor’s Corner at Murray and Philips and other needed improvements. A combined market study and parking study would help to address the inter-related issues of commercial district vitality and transportation accessibility.

The full 1990 plan was published in two volumes: Part I and Part II.

The plan was updated in 2009.

Leave a Reply