Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Pittsburgh's 5th Big Park: Here's Hoping for 5th Biggest Swingset

Saw the article in the PG yesterday on the new proposed park surrounding Mt. Washington.

In the early stages of what park stewards say will be a 10- to 15-year process, City Council also approved unanimously last week ceding 16 acres of public land known as "the saddle" for the park. In recent years, developers have been hungry for those acres up and down snaking Sycamore Avenue. They are hillsides prone to sliding with tree stock badly damaged by a June 1998 tornado.

The park would almost encircle the plateau of Mount Washington and Duquesne Heights, like a crown. It would tap into existing parks on its way around the rim and connect to hillsides east of the Liberty Bridge all the way around to the West End...
Couple thoughts:

First, I can see most of that "Park" from the Smithfield Street Bridge... and it seems rather, um, "vertical." Don't get me wrong, the idea of a vertical park is intriguing, but it'll make it rather difficult to play soccer at a 90 degree angle.

Second, seriously, most of this "Park" is a hillside, not technically "usable" as a "recreational area." I'm sure that you can install trails and such, but to what and from what? And what about those pesky homes at the top and that railroad track below?

Third, and this is the good point, this looks like an attempt by the City to centralize a whole mess of vacant unusable space and make something out of it. Lord knows there will be some marginal efficiencies in managing one big park than a zillion little lots and parklets.

Fourth, wouldn't it be neat to have a climbing wall up the side of Mt. Washington? I'm just throwing it out there.

OK, let's be fair: it ain't gonna be Yellowstone or even Jellystone, but there are worse ideas for this site.

"Slots parlour" springs immediately to mind.

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