Last week, the City of Pittsburgh officially designated Valmont Street as a Neighborhood Slow Street! This means that non-residential car traffic is discouraged and that pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles can all share the road.

Chris Warren, who lives on the street, had long observed that no vehicles needed to go through Valmont to reach their destination. The street is one block long and runs parallel to Murray, Negley, and Wightman, so plenty of alternative routes are available.

This summer, when Chris and his wife (Julie Kachniasz) heard about the city’s new Slow Street program, they thought it was a great opportunity to give the children on their street more space to play. This need was especially urgent with Wightman Park under renovation and many other recreational sites closed for the pandemic.

Chris and Julie quickly gained the support of their neighbors on Valmont and nearby streets. The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition also wrote a letter of support for the designation, which benefits Squirrel Hill residents by providing a safe, socially distant path for walking, running, and biking, either for leisure or to access businesses along Forbes and Murray.

While Valmont’s Slow Street designation is relatively new, it has already made an impact. Many of the eighteen school-age children on Valmont have been taking advantage of the space to ride their bicycles or scooters. While parental supervision is still necessary, Chris says that knowing his children can use the street safely is “a big weight off my shoulders.”

Apply for your own Slow Street!

If you think that a Neighborhood Slow Street designation would benefit you and your neighbors, check out the requirements on the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) website. If your street may be eligible, contact Marshall Hershberg from our Bike Pedestrian committee at hershberg13@gmail.com. The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition is happy to support residents working on Slow Street applications!

And next time you’re walking, running, biking, or scooting near Valmont, be sure to check out Squirrel Hill’s first Neighborhood Slow Street!