Urban Redevelopment Authority Board Minutes

Urban Redevelopment Authority
Board of Directors Meeting
August 13, 2015


Below are the minutes for the August 13 meeting. Although the minutes indicate that the application for the (up to) $3 million Multimodal Transportation Fund Grant was ratified at this meeting, there were no prior meetings to either discuss or authorize the grant. This fact was verified by the URA’s Chief Communications Officer, who stated that the August 13 meeting was the only one at which the grant application was discussed.

When supporters of Panther Hollow began calling Mayor William Peduto and Councilman Bruce Kraus to protest this roadway, they were told the grant in question is merely for conducting a study. The minutes contradict this, stating that it is a grant “that would go towards design and construction of a roadway.”

The grant application was ratified on August 13, but the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development received the grant application on July 31. This was the last date an application could be submitted to guarantee a ruling on November 10. If it had been submitted the following day, a ruling would not be made until November of next year. After numerous attempts, the Panther Hollow community finally received the grant application on October 8.


  1.  Economic Development

  a.  Oakland —Junction Hollow Multimodal Grant Application:

  1. Ratification to file application for a Multimodal Transportation Fund Grant application and to enter into a Contract with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and/or the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) for Junction Hollow Project, in the amount not to exceed $3,000,000.00.

Mr. Cummings requested that the Members approve the above item.

Mr. Cummings stated that authorization is requested to approve the above actions with Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and/or the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) for a grant that would go towards design and construction of a roadway through Junction Hollow. This roadway would exclusively be for shuttles connecting Oakland to Hazelwood, the Almono site, and the Pittsburgh Technology Center. The grant would also reconfigure the current bike path through the hollow and possibly add a bike/pedestrian bridge to Schenley Park.

The benefits of this potential connection include: improved transit connection between Oakland and Hazelwood, better bike infrastructure to connect through the hollow and into Schenley Park, direct connection between the Almono site and CMU/Pitt, and the ability to take the existing PTC-Oakland shuttle off the crowded Bates Street corridor and onto a faster alignment. The project is currently going through a feasibly analysis by the Studio for Spatial Practice & Trans Associates (and paid for by RIDC). Future phases could include the switch to an automated vehicle and/or the connection down Neville Street to the MLK Busway.

Principal:
Donald F. Smith, Jr. PhD
President
RIDC
210 Sixth Avenue, Suite 3620
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone 412-315-6444

Mr. Nathan Strum of RIDC was present.

Mr. Acklin stated he has started to attend the partner meetings on behalf of the city with RIDC, and that one of the challenges of the site has been the difficulty of access and connection through Oakland. Mr. Ferlo stated it is a great project and that the problem with the lower areas has always been connectivity issues.

Upon motion made by Mr. Ferlo, seconded by Mr. Gainey, and unanimously carried, the following resolution was adopted:

RESOLUTION NO. 248 (2015)

RESOLVED: That the action Of the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Executive Director, Acting Executive Director or Director of Finance, on behalf of the Authority, in filing for a Multimodal Transportation Fund Grant application with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and/or the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) for Junction Hollow Project, in the amount not to exceed $3,000,000.00, and to be used to improve transit connection between Oakland and Hazelwood, better bike infrastructure to connect through the hollow and into Schenley Park, direct connection between the Almono site and CMU/Pitt, and the ability to take the existing PTC-Oakland shuttle off the crowded Bates Street corridor and onto a faster alignment, and to execute any other assurances or requirements necessary in connection with said Application, is hereby ratified, and that the action of the Secretary or Assistant Secretary in attesting same and affixing the seal of the Authority thereto, is hereby ratified; and

RESOLVED FURTHER: That the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Executive Director, Acting Executive Director or Director of Finance, on behalf of the Authority, is hereby authorized to execute a Contract with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and/or the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) not to exceed $3,000,000.00, to be used to improve transit connection between Oakland and Hazelwood, better bike infrastructure to connect through the hollow and into Schenley Park, direct connection between the Almono site and CMU/Pitt, and the ability to take the existing PTC-Oakland shuttle off the crowded Bates Street corridor and onto a faster alignment, and to execute any other assurances or requirements necessary in connection with said Contract, and the Secretary or Assistant Secretary is authorized and directed to attest same and affix the seal of the Authority thereto.