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Oakland 2025 master plan released; group seeks proposals to remake Schenley High

Oakland has published a plan for its future.  Titled The Oakland 2025 Master Plan: A Vision for Sustainable Living and Mobility, it’s the neighborhood’s first comprehensive master plan in decades.

According to the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation (OPDC)—facilitators of the study—the document outlines strategies to guide and support Oakland’s continued growth as a center of innovation and technology, and for supporting quality of life for residents.

Wanda Wilson, OPDC Executive Director, says the process was successful in bringing together the interests of the institutional, development, and residential communities.   

“We engaged about 400 people through the whole process covering the range of stakeholders that we have in Oakland,” Wilson says.  “It's really the first broad-based community engagement the likes of what the Oakland community hasn't seen for a couple decades.”

The plan recognizes that without an improved housing stock and reliable transportation options Oakland is at risk of losing its edge as an innovation center.

Addressing those issues, OPDC is seeking to create a transportation system that serves all users equally, including pedestrians, cyclists, transit, and automobiles, with strong, well-designed neighborhood connections. 

OPDC anticipates bus rapid transit to be implemented in the Fifth Forbes Corridor, accompanied by dedicated east-west bicycle lanes.  The plan recommends route alternatives, as well as improved parking management and the possibility of an Oakland-Downtown circulator.

The plan also proposes “Ten Big Changes for Oakland”, including increasing the number of people who both live and work in its neighborhoods, and increasing access to parks, open space, and trails.

According to the document, housing upgrades would be achieved through rehab, conservation, and financial incentives to spur innovative new housing choices.  Options include employer assisted housing, trailhead neighborhoods, and 50+ intergenerational communities.

A release party for the plan will be held on November 1st,  6 to 8 p.m. at the University of Pittsburgh’s Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Avenue.

Also in Oakland, Fourth River Development LLC has issued a request for proposals for redevelopment of the former Schenley High School.  Fourth River is working on behalf of The Pittsburgh Board of Public Education.

The School Board states that through an open community engagement process it will approve the sale of the school to a competitive bidder based on criteria deemed important by the School District and the North Oakland community.

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Wanda Wilson
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