Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Updates: Letter to City Council about Eva Street



Bloomfield Garfield Corporation
Enright Park Neighborhood Association
Friendship Community Group
Pittsburgh, PA

September 9, 2019


Members, Pittsburgh City Council
City-County Building, 5th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Re: Council Bill #2019-1910 Resolution Vacating a Portion of Eva Street

Dear Members of Pittsburgh City Council:

The Bloomfield Garfield Corporation, Enright Park Neighborhood Association, and Friendship Community Group wish to reiterate their longstanding opposition to the privatization of the planned reconstruction of Eva Street, of which this proposed street vacation will be a part. We therefore formally object to Council Bill #2019-1910.

As the attached May 12 letter to Mayor Peduto indicates, our opposition to the privatization of Eva Street centers upon the need to provide unimpeded public access to the reconfigured Enright Park, which the proposed Eva Street will front for most of its length. As we stated in our May 12 letter:

Regardless of easement agreements or other legal covenants for the new street (which we note were not contained in the final land development plan), management and control of Eva Street by a private entity creates a foreseeable risk that park-goers and others will be subject to arbitrary rules pertaining to their use of the street. Further, if such rules are enforced by a private security force, there will be many opportunities for careless or deliberate abuse of such authority.

Despite our repeated requests for the text of the proposed easements which will govern public use of the privatized Eva Street, they have not been shared with us to date. We regret that the planning process for this street privatization has been opaque and closed to participation by community stakeholders. We wish to strongly reiterate, however, that no easements or other legal covenants can substitute for the rights of city residents and others to freely use a street policed and maintained by the City of Pittsburgh.

We note that the new Eva Street will be built using public subsidies through the East Liberty Transit Revitalization Investment District (TRID). As our May 12 letter indicates, we are unpersuaded by the reasons that the developers of Pennley Park South have used to justify privatization of Eva Street: maintenance of underground stormwater infrastructure and periodic use of the street for special events are both activities which are accommodated elsewhere in Pittsburgh on and under public streets. We see no reason to make an exception here.

The risks of arbitrary private management and policing of this important new piece of city infrastructure will extend far into the future. We urge that City Council reject this proposed partial street vacation and support construction of the new Eva Street as a public right of way.

Sincerely,

Bloomfield Garfield Corporation
Enright Park Neighborhood Association
Friendship Community Group

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