Responses to Community Questions

The following are the most frequently cited topics from more than 200 comments submitted online, together with responses from Pitt representatives who are working on campus master planning:

Parking

In terms of parking, the current plan is to maintain the amount on campus, including providing equivalent parking to offset any lost due to construction. Accessibility is also a major priority in the master plan. As an urban campus with limited space, it will take a mix of transportation options to help everyone get around. Pitt will continue to improve alternatives to driving into Oakland. This includes ongoing support for public transportation, i.e., free bus access for students and employees, and proposed stops in the master plan for the Port Authority’s Bus Rapid Transit project, along with enhanced pedestrian and biking access. Other long-term pursuits include an “intercept” garage located on the edge of campus and expanded shuttle services in collaboration with other institutions.

Bigelow Boulevard

The master plan for Bigelow Boulevard proposes safety improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, e.g., a crossing guard during peak times at the mid-block crossing, physically separated bike lanes and traffic calming features.  The layout will also reduce the left-turning traffic back-up on Fifth Avenue. Any changes must be made in collaboration with the City of Pittsburgh, which owns this street.  The City has been clear it does not intend to close the street and a pedestrian bridge would be cost-prohibitive.

Housing

A major goal of the master plan is to enrich the student experience. Housing is a crucial element to the student experience.  Students require housing that is both modern and affordable, which is why the plan provides for modernization in Litchfield Towers along with replacement of Lothrop Hall and Bouquet Gardens. The plan, based on enrollment projections on par with today, also calls for new student housing of all types (residence halls, apartments, suites) to bring students back on campus and keep it affordable. This can have a positive impact on housing in nearby neighborhoods too. Updated academic buildings, a new student recreation center and other fitness/sports facilities are among other enhancements for students.

Availability of Space

Another master planning priority is to address the quality, quantity and management of space on campus.  The close proximity of our undergraduate, graduate and research programs are an opportunity to strengthen collaboration between teaching, research and clinical efforts. Classroom space is being expanded wherever feasible in every renovated facility.  The redevelopment of Falk Clinic and Lothrop Hall near the future UPMC Heart and Transplant Hospital can create additional, modern space for an integrated health sciences complex. The proposed One Bigelow project would add over 300,000 sf of new space focused on innovation and is anticipated to include an academic quad that adds green space and improves pedestrian access. The new Schenley Quad, completed in August 2018, is an example of the commitment to increase green space and pedestrian access on campus.

Sustainability

We want to use our resources as efficiently as possible. The campus master plan reflects the commitments in Pitt's Sustainability Plan, which calls for dramatic improvements by 2030. These goals include the use of renewable energy sources for at least 50 percent of the electrical energy consumed on campus along with a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from University commuting and campus transporation. Sustainable elements in the master plan include reductions of energy and water consumption in buildings along with increases in green spaces, tree cover, green roofs and solar power as well as improved water runoff. Green building design and construction standards will continue to be used for most major projects.

Funding Sources

The master plan is a vision for the next 30 years, with projects spread out over time and paid for by multiple sources ranging from Pitt's operating budget to donations, partnerships and financing, i.e., bonds. The University earmarks operating budget funds every year to pay for maintenance and renovations of existing facilities and, as needed, new projects. The plans, including costs and funding sources, are discussed every year as part of Pitt's budget review and property and facilities planning.

On-Campus Football Stadium

The current campus master plan doesn’t include a football stadium. It does include the “Victory Heights” plan, announced in April 2018, which creates an athletics-oriented neighborhood on the upper campus to promote fitness and organized sports. This is in addition to the plan’s significant improvements to academic buildings, the development of student housing and upgrades to campus infrastructure.

Architectural Design

We are proud of Pitt’s diverse architectural heritage. The design and construction of renovations or new facilities will reflect that pride. At the same time, we want to create a distinctive, welcoming and attractive urban campus. Improvements to Bigelow Boulevard and O’Hara Street with new landscaping, green spaces, signage and wayfinding will reflect the character of the nearby buildings.