From the Office of Councilman Daniel Lavelle: Western North Avenue, a case study of council at work

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News headlines have recently been riddled with coverage of big ticket issues. By now most residents should be familiar with, or at least aware of, the intense private interest that has been brewing over the Marcellus Shale natural gas resources, as well as the recent mayoral proposal to lease the city’s parking assets in order to fund the municipal pension. These are matters of macro importance, liable to affect Pittsburgh residents as a whole and vital to the future health (literally and figuratively) of the city. They are long-term issues that my office and I will continue to monitor with close attention.

Within this broader framework Council holds a parallel and equally important function. We must jump from the macro to the micro, the case specific problems faced by the members of a community, the individual in conjunction with the greater body of Pittsburgh’s citizenry. As the representative to the constituency of District 6, it is my duty to ensure that city services reach and function properly for the residents that I directly represent. Council office should be viewed as a tool, a loudspeaker for the public that amplifies each individual’s voice.

Case in point is a long standing traffic issue that was brought to my attention by the residents of West Park Court Apartments, located on West North Avenue. Several residents had complained that crossing West North was dangerous because of the speed with which vehicles drive through the area. They pointed to a fading crosswalk as a factor exacerbating the problem, and noted that the concern was intensified for the elderly who had trouble making it to the other side of the street before the traffic light changed.

To reach a resolution my office got in contact with the Department of Public Works to determine how to proceed. A “Northside Walkthrough” was organized between myself, Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski, Public Work’s Amanda Purcell and my executive assistant, Harry Johnson.

Upon taking a tour of the area and listening to the concerns of West Park’s residents, Public Works agreed to install a three second hold on all intersecting red lights to make it easier to cross the street. It was also determined that the crosswalks adjacent to the apartments would be repainted, along with the yellow line in front of the bus stop by the apartments. A timeline of three weeks was given for all work to be completed. Thus a problem was presented to our office, the appropriate parties were contacted, a solution was agreed upon and a timeframe offered a point of conclusion. 

A follow up meeting has been scheduled with West Park Court Apartments for Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. to address the tenants on the work we have been doing and other concerns that still need to be addressed. I highlight this case as an example of the process on how my council office can help Northsiders tackle issues of importance. I encourage all to contact us at 412-255-2134 to keep us informed on the happenings and goings-on of the neighborhood.

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