Five years ago when my husband and I moved to Park Place, we saw a flier for a holiday potluck. This was our first “real” neighborhood as a couple and the first permanent stopping place after a few years of bouncing around the country looking for a place to call home. We were eager to meet neighbors and put down some roots. I had no idea what to expect, but I must admit that my expectations were not terribly high. We figured we’d at least stop by and introduce ourselves and take off if it wasn’t fun. Well, you know how it turned out, since not only did we end up staying in Park Place, but I’m now serving as the President of the Greater Park Place Neighborhood Association!
I hope you will join me on Monday December 9, 2013 from 6:30 to 8:30 and enjoy some good food and good company. I also would like to make a special request that you reach out to the new neighbors on your block or those who don’t often get out and invite them to come. And don’t forget…besides the holiday fun, we are also taking an opportunity to collect food and money for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Click here for more information on what is appropriate to donate and keep in mind that we will also be collecting cash or checks. See you there, Neighbors!
Katy Frey, GPPNA President
Should I wear this costume?
Braddock Avenue is notoriously difficult to cross as a pedestrian. With no stop signs or traffic lights for almost a half a mile between Forbes and Penn Avenues, traffic often exceeds the 25 mph speed limit. Park Place residents often say that they love living here because of Frick Park – but most of us have to cross Braddock Avenue to get there. We also have two schools on that stretch of road. A few months ago, I walked up the street with fellow board member Greg Barnhisel and we took notes of all the problems…lack of yellow paint or signs to indicate no parking, paint wearing down on crosswalks in the street, and lack of signage to indicate a crossing were just some of the problems we noted. We think two big things need to happen. First, the City of Pittsburgh needs to repaint and fix signs. Second, drivers need to become more aware that Braddock Avenue is very much a multimodal roadway, and to be on the lookout for pedestrians on cyclists.
With that in mind, we want to invite you to come out on Friday October 25, 2013 for our Costumes in Crosswalks event.
How it works:
1. Sign up to sponsor a crosswalk. (Sign up online here, or at the Freys, 121 South Braddock – clipboard is on the porch.)
2. Invite your neighbors to join you (the more the merrier!)
3. Make a sign or get a costume. (Signs could say things like: “Kids live here.” “I walk my dog here.” “This is the safest place for me to cross into Frick Park.” ”Slow down!” Etc.)
4. Show up at your crosswalk on Friday October 25 between the hours of 4 and 6, and cross back and forth for as long as you are able to stay. (Be safe and legal. Wait until a car yields to you. Don’t block traffic.)
5. At 6:15, we’ll stage a mass crossing at Penn and Braddock and then gather at the Freys for cider and pizza.
This will be a great way to draw the City’s attention to our poorly painted crosswalks! It’s also a fun way to remind the many people who pass through our neighborhood daily that pedestrians are often looking to cross the street, and have a really hard time doing it safely. I hope to see you there, neighbors!
Officer Shannon Leshen, our Zone 4 representative, spoke at Monday night’s Greater Park Place Neighborhood Association annual community meeting. Officer Leshen urged us to please use 911 FIRST to report any suspicious activities, even non-emergency concerns. “911 is like triage,” she explained, “You don’t have to worry that your call about a suspicious car is going to prevent us from responding to a fire.” However, 911 is how all calls are logged. Resources will be allocated based on calls logged. In other words, if we want more patrol cars to keep tabs on suspicious activities, we need to serve as the eyes and ears of the police department, by calling 911 and reporting everything we see.
The online 311 form can be used for parking issues, traffic issues, abandoned properties, potholes….You can even upload an image with your concern. She suggested we use the 311 to request more of a police presence at Forbes and Braddock in the morning.
Three new candidates are seeking election to the Greater Park Place Neighborhood Association Board of Directors. Please review their bios here and cast your vote at our annual meeting, Monday September 23, 2013 at 7:00pm at the Waverly Church Social Hall (corner of Forbes and Braddock). Ballots will be available at the meeting. Additionally, current board members John Mayberry, Melissa Neely and Marlene Green are seeking re-election.
I moved into the neighborhood 33 years ago when my daughter Kathy was six years old. We lived on the second and third floor of 507 East End Ave. for three years with another single mother and her son. We loved walking the tree-lines streets, Kathy had a group of friends she played with daily, and many afternoons were spent in the nearby Frick Park playground. Kathy and I then moved a few blocks away to the little house on Cromwell Street for six years. My mother, Florence Murphy, joined us there. She, too, loved the neighborhood and enjoyed sitting on the front porch and walked almost every day to the grocery store on Trenton Ave. We moved to 7617 Waverly Street in 1990, where I am now living with my fiancé, Nick. While I have attended various GPPNA events over the years, I became an active member four years ago when the Environmental Charter School was being discussed as a possibility. Back in the early 90’s I helped to start the Green Building Alliance. I supported the idea of having a green school nearby. Caring for our environment is one of my passions. As the Executive Director of the Group for Recycling In Pennsylvania I helped to plan Earth Day 1990 at Point State Park. That day over 70,000 people came to learn how they could be more actively involved in recycling, energy conservation and educating their children in how to care for our Earth. Community Outreach is another one of my passions. While at GRIP I helped 18 municipalities in five counties implement their recycling programs mandated by PA Act 101. In 1995 I became the Community Outreach Coordinator for Conservation Consultants Green Neighborhood Initiative. When we did our first of 13 green neighborhoods in Carrick we completed energy audits and installed low-cost energy conservation measures in 300 households. I spoke at numerous community events and church organizations. We had a dream of having a green school someday where green building materials would be utilized and an environmental curriculum would be taught. Now that dream is a reality and I live two-doors away, which I find very exciting. The children and parents involved with the school will, no doubt, have a positive environmental impact on countless other individuals during the course of their lives. While I am interested in supporting all the tasks that GPPNA has on its agenda, I’m especially concerned about pedestrian and bike safety on S. Braddock Ave. I’d also like to work more closely with the ECS administration and parents to make drop-off and pick up of students safer and more efficient and help with the planning of the Annual Homeowners Workshop. Like most every here, Nick and I love living and walking in Park Place. I would be honored to serve on the board.
I’m Susan Speicher and I currently live in the 400 block of S. Braddock Ave. Between my husband and I, we’ve had four different addresses within three blocks on S. Braddock Ave. in the last ten years! We started out in separate apartments and eventually got married and bought a house in the neighborhood. I have a background in mechanical engineering and currently work in regulatory affairs for a local start-up medical device company. We love Park Place and will be longtime residents. I’d like to give back to the neighborhood that I love so much. As a pedestrian, cyclist, runner, and driver of Park Place, I support safer streets for our residents, as well as for those just passing through. I’m also an amateur gardener and would like to be a part of the community’s continued focus on environmental concerns and keeping our parks and public spaces clean and green. I would like to be a part of the GPPNA board to help organize our neighborhood to better our community and to coordinate with other development programs in the neighborhoods close to Park Place and around the city. I believe that by bringing together our neighborhood, we improve not only our own neighborhood, but those around us.
My name is Jay Kuchta and I would like to be a member of the board. In 1982 we moved to the 500 Block of East End Ave to start a family. In 1983 my wonderful daughter, Jennie was born and three years later we bought a house in Highland Park that was too reasonable to not buy. I then moved on to Lawrenceville for eight years and experienced the dedication, experience and enthusiasm of their community group. I met a great lady, my wife Annie, and we moved to Park Place two years ago and are very happy here and love the community. We have two dogs, Buddy and Loki. Academically, I received my Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1976 from West Virginia University and further matriculated at Purdue University as a Post-Doctoral Fellow. I have worked at the City of Pittsburgh Water Department, now the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) for 33 years. My present title is Water Quality Manager. As a board member I hope to infuse a positive, robust and realistic approach to advancing our much beloved community.
On Monday September 23, 2013, GPPNA will hold our annual meeting. The topic this year is an important one…improving traffic safety in our neighborhood. Most residents can tell a story of just barely making it across South Braddock Avenue while walking their dog, or nearly getting rear-ended for yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. I myself have been rear-ended twice as I turned into my driveway. One of the biggest draws of Park Place is the proximity of Frick Park…but when crossing the street is so risky, the park can seem very far away.
The good news is, we can make a difference. At the annual meeting, we’ll hear from representatives of the Polish Hill Civic Association, who have been creatively lobbying for safer streets, and Park Place’s own Ken Doyno, an accomplished urban planner whose work is “focused on aligning people and purposes to create places that connect and serve.”
Our annual report will bring you up to speed on what’s been done so far by GPPNA, and we’ll reveal our new traffic-calming initiative that will show immediate results…that is if you’ll pledge to take part in it!
And that’s not all, because this is Park Place, there will be homemade cookies! Apple cider! A public safety update from our new Community Relation Officer from the Pittsburgh Police Department! Board elections! There are so many excellent reasons to attend the annual meeting…don’t miss it!
Annual Meeting Details:
- Monday September 23, 2013
- 7:00pm to 8:30pm
- Waverly Church Social Hall, corner of Forbes and Braddock
- Light Refreshments
- Opportunity to renew your $10 GPPNA membership with cash or check
- You needn’t be a member to attend – all are welcome