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What Would You Improve on Brookline Boulevard?

The Boulevard is about to undergo some big changes.

Some big changes—and a lot of construction—are coming to Brookline Boulevard this spring.

The Brookline Boulevard Reconstruction Project is scheduled to begin in March and wrap up in November. Information and photos of the design plans can be found at the City of Pittsburgh Federal Projects website, or at the Brookline Connection website.

Plans include some landscaping, paving and new traffic and pedestrian signals, but when we know changes are coming anyway, it's always fun to dream a bit further.

When Dormont-Brookline Patch posted an article last week about funding for the project, it started a conversation about what people want to see on the Boulevard to make it better.

Let's keep talking—what's on your wish list for Brookline Boulevard? If you could add anything, change anything, or improve anything, what would it be?

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John Spoon January 22, 2013 at 04:49 PM
@ed That store isnt bad. a little pricey but great in a pinch. I'd love something like that but with seats outside in the summer that's close. before the owner retired, 3 sons Dogs n Suds in Wexford was a great example
Bob Dobbs January 22, 2013 at 04:54 PM
regarding the bottle shop sub-discussion - yes - something like McNeilly Beer would be nice considering any "with it " neighborhood in PGH seems to have one, these days and it's a common want. McNeilly is frighteningly expensive / over-priced as far as i'm concerned, especially given its odd-ball location. It's owned by the same guy who owns West Liberty Beer & Tobacco distributor on Wes.Lib.Blvd. He also owns a handful of bars in the South side .
John Spoon January 22, 2013 at 04:57 PM
"frighteningly expensive" like $25 for a bomber you can get at Market District for $8-10
Bob Dobbs January 22, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Yes John --- exactly what i'm sayin' .
Concerned Citizen January 22, 2013 at 05:14 PM
How about starting with closing the nuisance bar (Brookline Pub) that refuses to pay the drink tax despite collecting it on every single drink? Nothing but trouble and drug sales in that place. As long as that thug hangout is open all the points above are useless. Start there and the neighborhood is already infinitely better, anything done aesthetically is just icing on the cake.
Erin Faulk January 22, 2013 at 05:18 PM
There's an open mic night on Wednesday nights at Cannon Coffee that's usually great, but as far as a staging area for local bands to play, the Boulevard is lacking that. Good idea.
Bob Dobbs January 22, 2013 at 05:22 PM
I believe they're paying it now after being shut down for a few days, recently. alcohol is a drug and there's 3 or 4 other bars on the Blvd. selling that drug. (moonlight cafe, gordon's, zippys...) It's perhaps the hardest drug there is with the most crime in direct relation to its effect on people ... at that rate, we might as well re-instate prohibition and see how long that lasts before we see Al Capone-style gangsters trafficking it under-ground the way we see with weed and cocaine and meth. I digress but , yeah . Only problem I have with the Brookline Pub is the cigarette smoke that hangs heavy in the air inside. Ruins it for people that don't smoke or care to inhale that toxic crap .
B. January 22, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Tear the whole Blvd. down and start new- you cant hide falling down facades, busted sidewalks, over head wires and ghetto store fronts. Re-build with a brick lined street, bike lane lined with foliage and trees, store fronts all consistent with a "clean" old fashioned kind of feel....open green parks between buildings with benches and cafes with outdoor seating and a small area for a stage/seating and 24hr. security.
Bob Dobbs January 22, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Sounds like a solid plan , B.
Bob Dobbs January 22, 2013 at 05:50 PM
I can't say i've ever seen any kind of sales of illegal substances anytime i've been at the Brookline Pub . Maybe you have evidence, otherwise, I don't know .
Concerned Citizen January 22, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Again, Bob, not by the owners, I'm certain they have nothing to do with it, and I'm not implying otherwise. Just wanted to make that clear. Sounds like you're a fan of the place, and I wasn't trying to "hit a nerve" with you either.
MerryMaryBrk January 22, 2013 at 06:50 PM
vdfg
MerryMaryBrk January 22, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Sorry about above...mistake. I just wanted to post that I feel that the business owners perhaps have not been lax, but limited. I am sure the decade waiting for this plan they have been willing to renew/refresh their facades, but need to wait until they have the final picture to spend their hard-earned $$$. So far it has been The Boulevard of Broken Dreams. I like the plan B. envisions. Will be glad to see smoothly paved streets for a change.
Ed M January 22, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Brew Brothers on Mt Lebanon Blvd is similar.
Bob Dobbs January 22, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Those cameras are their own, I do believe. They are not city/county(and federal) monitored cameras as the other ones are. You will notice a microwave reciever/antenna on the side of the building.
Bob Dobbs January 22, 2013 at 07:38 PM
Those help them prove lack of liability for certain cases and etc.
Erin Faulk January 22, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Hi guys, I just want to be clear here—I have absolutely no proof of illegal activity at Brookline Pub, and I have never seen an incident of illegal activity there in the blotter I receive each week from Pittsburgh Police. My understanding is that the drink tax issue was resolved, and the establishment is operating legally on those terms. Let's steer away from that topic, as it could be an issue of slander/libel to continue making those suggestions. As I don't have written proof of the claims made here, it's really just hearsay. Thanks!
erika January 22, 2013 at 08:38 PM
Maybe we could raise some money to help the owner's update their storefronts in some kind of unified manner? Not to curb creativity, but just a few guidelines in place to make sure it doesn't get "tacky" and that the boulevard is sort of presented as a unified front to make the whole aesthetic better? Some fundraisers, maybe? It had occurred to me to ask someone about having a brick fundraiser, where the local families/business buy a brick for some of the areas that are being bricked, and have their name engraved in it. Then take the money to help make the boulevard even better! I was going to try to head it up myself, but not sure who to contact to see if it is even possible. I, for one, would be happy to buy a $25.00 brick with my last name on it!
Erin Faulk January 22, 2013 at 08:47 PM
A brick fundraiser would be awesome. It sounds like an interesting way to raise money for the community while also adding a nice feature to the community. Using the money for storefront updates could be a little tricky, since the buildings are owned by individuals, and not by one uniform group. The City of Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority actually has a lot of options for helping building or small business owners get funding to make shop and storefront improvements. There are also organizations like Design Center Pittsburgh that could help: http://www.designcenterpgh.org/
Karen Walchesky January 22, 2013 at 08:53 PM
We've lived in Brookline for 38 (count 'em!) years. Businesses have come and gone . . . miss some of them . . . good riddance to others . . . but the biggest problem for my husband and I over the years has been a lack of PARKING!! How many times have you had to swing around the block just to find a spot reasonably near the Post Office, Kribel's or Party Cake? Or near the State Store a day or two before a holiday? Even CVS's parking lot is inadequate . . . weekdays before noon or Sundays (when the new sale starts) . . people are parked everywhere . . . behind you . . squeezed in with a shoe horn beside you. Absolutely, an outdoor cafe or upscale restaurant would be a terrific addition to the Boulevard . . . perhaps doing something similar to what's transforming Lawrenceville right now . . . but WITHOUT adequate parking facilities . . . I can only forsee more headaches. A multi-story garage could be the answer . . . but where?
mary jo otoole January 22, 2013 at 09:43 PM
There has been a parking garage on the blvd for years and no one uses it...I'm not even sure it that is still an option or not....it's in Mazza Pavilion. I have lived in Brookline for over 50 years. I am lucky enough that I can walk to the blvd which I prefer to do because of the parking issues. Look at Shadyside, horrible parking issues there also but because of the great food and shops people park blocks away....
Toni January 22, 2013 at 11:00 PM
I would like to see the places that cook outside clean the sidewalks at the end of the day. Summer mornings when it is hot and a walk past theese places it smells like a garbage dump from the grease ( I guess). Don't get me wrong i like the sidewalk venders. Also I am afraid if we don't scrub the side walks it might bring unwanted rodants.
Bob Dobbs January 22, 2013 at 11:16 PM
Toni - The County Health Department watches those places for that. I know Las Palmas is trying very hard to keep it clean . Not sure about Pitaland's Gyro vending . THAT is some greasy food, there .
Robert Stevens January 23, 2013 at 03:29 AM
Build a real road surface on the blvd and the intersecting streets to make it more attractive and durable, clean up all building facades and a serious law enforcement increase. Bike lanes is silly as someone would get killed on a daily basis. Remember the head in parking?
Robert Stevens January 23, 2013 at 03:52 AM
Oh yeah, make use of that parking garage If at all possible. Please get rid of the utility poles and plant some trees. While it will never be Shadyside it's one of the areas of the city that's not too far gone..
C.C. January 23, 2013 at 04:18 AM
When they say they're putting in new traffic signals, I'm hoping that means a turning arrow at Pioneer and the Blvd. Las Palmas has been a blessing, and I think more ethnic places would be great. I think the aforementioned "thugs" need a place to go - kids wander about and get into trouble when they have nothing else worthwhile to do. So I'd say we need some kind of place that would appeal to older kids and young adults as a place to hang out - that way they're off the streets, safe, can have fun and still be themselves, while at the same time keeping the boulevard from looking like a trailer park overflowed onto it.
Dan Kaczmarski January 24, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Question to Erin. What is the Patch going to do with all these thoughtful suggestions? The South Pittsburgh Development Corporation received a grant to hire a consultant to develop recommendations for making Brookline more attractive and desirable. Will these suggestions be forwarded to that group? Also, on February 11, at 6 p.m., at St. Mark's Church (Brookline Blvd and Glenarm), the Chamber of Commerce will be hosting an open meeting for residents to discuss the upcoming boulevard reconstruction and to strategize how to keep the businesses viable during the construction. While many of the suggestions in this chat string aren't specific to that topic, the meeting on the 11th should be a good public forum for keeping the Boulevard alive and growing. Plan on attending.
Erin Faulk January 24, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Hi Dan, Mainly, I wanted to get a community discussion started on this topic, knowing that the February meeting for residents is coming up (although I hadn't heard the exact date yet, so thank you for posting!) So many times I've been in Brookline, at Cannon Coffee, at SPDC or Chamber meetings and heard someone say, "I wish Brookline had ..." I made Natalia Rudiak and Erin Molchany aware of this article and the responses here via social media. I did not publish this article on behalf of SPDC, or any other person or organization, but rather as a forum for talking points, because I think that's where some of the best ideas start. I agree that the meeting on Feb. 11 would be the perfect opportunity for residents to share these ideas, and I'll be publishing a preview article of that meeting soon. I'll also be attending the meeting. See you there!
sher January 31, 2013 at 05:57 AM
Those guy's use a soapy scrub brush every night, at Taco Stand[Las Palmas], I was quite surprised when I first saw that they clean so well. Now going by nightly, it is something I am used to seeing! When I am in the store, they sing while cleaning, just a happy bunch of people!
Stu Beef May 03, 2013 at 04:41 AM
If we're already going to have trashy woman walking up and down the blvd. can they atleast be hookers? Oh, and free ones if possible? Only kidding of course, but really, we need additional fast food establishments. Las palmas must be cleaning up, because they are the only place on that whole strip where you can pull over and get a bite quickly. First things first. Before we try to lure people from more affluent neighborhoods to Brookline with outdoor cafes and fancy restaurants that clash with the neighborhood clientele and successful or not probably do less for the residents of Brookline and more for the proprietors of those eateries. We instead provide the neighborhood folk a fine reason to walk to the blvd., or stop on there way through. Like someone earlier said. Support local businesses. However instead of asking for support, give everyone a reason too. That's sustainable.

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