Manchester-Chateau is a neighborhood with a rich history and an enduring legacy. In many ways, it tells the story of Pittsburgh’s history, reflecting both the positive and challenging aspects of the city’s identity. Manchester-Chateau has the most historically significant collection of architecture of any neighborhood in Pittsburgh, boasts a proud legacy as a premier African American neighborhood in the city, and links directly to the legacy of Andrew Carnegie. The construction of State Route 65 in the 1960s, however, dramatically changed the neighborhood’s landscape. After dividing Manchester and Chateau as well as gutting the commercial core along Beaver Avenue, SR 65 has caused major challenges for the neighborhood, including commercial disinvestment and limited access.
Today, on the east side of SR 65, Manchester thrives with a wealth of historically significant resources and vital heritage as the leading African-American neighborhood in Pittsburgh. On the west side of SR 65, Chateau flourishes as an economically successful industrial and institutional area with almost no residential buildings and limited access to the riverfront. Overall, it is a neighborhood physically and practically divided by SR 65. Manchester-Chateau is on the verge of great change. The Pittsburgh community is realizing the amazing assets of this neighborhood and steering investment here. Shifting demographics, interest and policy changes along the riverfront are among the factors driving opportunity and challenges in the evolution of this vital Pittsburgh neighborhood.
With this interest in the Manchester portion of the neighborhood comes challenges. As more residents are attracted to the area, there are dangers that rising housing prices will challenge some who have long called this area home. New housing options should complement the needs of the community and create a balance of various housing prices throughout Manchester to encourage development without displacement. In addition, much of this area is underserved by local neighborhood-scale commercial uses. Whether restaurants, personal and medical services or access to groceries, the loss of the commercial core resulting from decades-old highway construction has never been remedied. This extends to the lost elements in the public open spaces of the neighborhood. To recreate a cohesive neighborhood identity, these public spaces and commercial cores must be re-established.
West of the highway, opportunities are emerging along the riverfront with new uses likely to complement the largely industrial/warehousing/institutional structures currently located there. Larger sites and the opportunity to connect to the greater riverfront are driving potential development projects that will look very different from what is there today. With a newly adopted Riverfront Zoning District it is likely that these types of development proposals will become increasingly frequent. Questions of the mix of uses and how affordable housing will be accommodated will be paramount as this transition occurs. In addition, how new developments relate to the riverfront and incorporate new publicly-accessible open space will be important.
- Steering Committee Meetings: 9
- Action Teams: 6
- Action Team Meetings: 25
- Meetings with City Staff, Local Stakeholders: 10+
- Open Houses: 3
- Public Meeting Attendees: 300+
- Unique Online Survey Answers: 100+
What’s in the Plan
The Manchester-Chateau Neighborhood Plan is comprised of four main chapters that address strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to be built upon in order to help reunite Manchester and Chateau through the development of public infrastructure, improved housing affordability, and other neighborhood elements. Each of these chapters – Community, Development, Mobility, and Infrastructure – are broken into actionable items by the City of Pittsburgh, community leaders, and other partners. For more information on each item, see the corresponding chapter within the plan.
Since SR 65 split the neighborhood in the 1960s, there has been a growing need in Manchester-Chateau to recreate a cohesive neighborhood identity despite its deep history and legacy. As one of Pittsburgh’s oldest neighborhoods, Manchester has many historic, yet aging, homes. The median age of a housing unit in Manchester is 98 years old, which lends issues of maintenance and housing costs. Additionally, the attraction of more people to the area raises the primary concern of housing affordability. From 2014 to 2017, population growth in Manchester increased by 12.7%, higher than both the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. At the same time, income inequality and poverty increased in Manchester but decreased for the City and County. Furthermore, the median rent has increased by 35% while the median household income has only increased by 20% from 2012 to 2017.
Overall, there stands a strong need to preserve and maintain the historic quality and affordability of housing. Developing a housing trust to facilitate affordable housing in Manchester as well as incorporating affordable housing in mixed-use projects in Chateau will help achieve these goals. Promoting a safe and healthy neighborhood along with incorporating cultural heritage through public art will also improve the quality of life for residents and help cultivate Manchester-Chateau’s identity.
GOAL 1: ENCOURAGE THE PROVISION OF SAFE, QUALITY, AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR CURRENT RESIDENTS.
- Promote development of rental and for sale housing at all income levels.
- Explore Inclusionary Zoning as a tool to ensure new developments include affordable housing.
- Support single-parent and senior households through connections to appropriate supportive services and resources.
- Assist residents with residential preservation and maintenance projects through the creation of a Preservation Grant Fund.
- Promote and facilitate home maintenance through rehab education programs and report maintenance issues on abandoned properties to ensure public health and safety.
GOAL 2: ENCOURAGE A VARIETY OF HOUSING TYPES TO MEET THE NEEDS OF ALL SEGMENTS OF THE POPULATION.
- Maintain and develop quality senior housing that is affordable with options for rental or ownership.
- Promote the development of housing options for single-person households.
- Pursue zoning amendments to allow Accessory Dwelling Units or Carriage Houses.
- Pursue zoning amendments that accommodate residential density will preserving the existing context of the street and neighborhood.
- Expand housing options which meet ADA standards.
- Partner with Family Links to promote transitional housing units in the neighborhood.
GOAL 3: INCREASE ACCESS TO HEALTHY FOOD AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT SERVICES.
- Conduct a market feasibility assessment for a healthy corner store or grocery store in the neighborhood.
- Create an educational program to encourage home gardening and use of the Vacant Lot Toolkit.
- Create a yard-share program.
- Create a program for mobile screenings and check-ups, including dental and eye care, through partnerships.
- Host a Health Wellness Day annual event.
GOAL 4: ENHANCE COMMUNICATION AND ACCESSIBILITY WITHIN THE COMMUNITY.
- Partner with institutions to develop a Northside communities web portal, and publish a directory, that acts as a clearinghouse of information on programs, grants, loans, community process, and more for:
- Pursue longterm service opportunities, such as Americorps or fellowships, to serve as a Program Manager to assist residents, and to develop and implement programs.
- Create a Resource Center with flexible spaces and an onsite resource employee.
- Generate a quarterly newsletter.
- Research communication opportunities.
GOAL 5: STRENGTHEN PARTNERSHIPS WITH NORTHSIDE ORGANIZATIONS.
- Create a partnership organization for both Manchester and Chateau to ensure residents and businesses mutually benefit from future redevelopment.
- Pursue Registered Community Organization (RCO) status via partnerships/coalition.
- Partner with Northside institutions and other organizations for investments and workforce development opportunities.
- Collaborate with North Shore entities on creating a program to ensure all Manchester families and children have free access periodically.
- Advocate for expanding programs and opportunities for local teens.
GOAL 6: DOCUMENT RESOURCES.
- Inventory existing oral histories and ownership, and develop an Oral Histories Project which includes resident and organization recordings.
- Inventory house histories and expand this research.
- Update historic structures from the National Register Inventory of Manchester.
- Develop an Asset Map of Manchester and Chateau, including public and private art.
- Partner with the City to update the existing inventory of public art and memorials.
GOAL 7: COMMIT TO PRESERVING RESOURCES.
- Create a walking/listening tour (perhaps a geographic based app) of the neighborhoods that incorporates the Oral Histories Project, house history, and asset map.
- Create a fundraising program for residents to purchase elements as part of public art projects, such as commemorative bricks.
- Research and apply for grants to preserve the resources, particularly the Anderson Manor.
- Find long-term partners for:
- Oral Histories Project
- The Asset Map
- House Histories Research
- Maintenance of Community Gardens
- Extend the history and brand of Manchester-Chateau through the following:
- Incorporate Manchester architecture detail in a branding logo for the neighborhood
- Gateway signage should incorporate public art and celebrate cultural heritage
- Integrate signage/stories/wayfinding into signage
GOAL 8: INCREASE PUBLIC ART ASSETS THROUGHOUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
- Incorporate Manchester’s cultural heritage through local art & design along riverfront and throughout neighborhoods.
- Transform Route 65 wall (if it will remain for 10+ years) with public art and lighting and streetscape improvements.
- Incorporate cultural heritage and inspiring architecture into public infrastructure (gateway signs, bike racks, banners, any metalwork).
- Create a community gathering space with rotating art, and/or an outdoor gallery.
GOAL 9: INTEGRATE A NEIGHBORHOOD BRANDING STRATEGY INTO THE URBAN FABRIC OF Manchester-chateau.
- Develop a visual identity, such as a logo that becomes a consistent visual emblem for the neighborhood and that is consistent with the findings of the neighborhood branding strategy conducted during this planning process.
Due to SR 65 dividing the neighborhood, land use is quite distinct between Manchester and Chateau. On the east, Manchester has a largely residential mix, with commercial areas generally located in corridors at the neighborhood edges and in some nodes within. On the west, Chateau is predominantly industrial and institutional, with some commercial and office spaces as well. In 2018, Chateau’s zoning code was updated through the Riverfront Zoning Update, which condensed a dozen zoning classifications into five more simplified districts. These districts permit the types of office and residential development that is supported by changing market-demand. They also incentivize both the development of affordable housing and sustainable infrastructure.
There is a lot of potential for redevelopment in the neighborhood. Approximately 10% of all land in Manchester and Chateau is vacant. In Manchester, the Western Avenue area poses the most significant and feasible opportunity to add new residential units along with mixed-use spaces. The development of ground-floor commercial/retail space with residential/office above will provide the neighborhood with a dense, vibrant, mixed-use heart. In Chateau, land use is shifting from industrial and warehousing to higher-density, mixed-use development. The development of additional residential units will also help establish street-level activity. To aid development in Manchester-Chateau and encourage economic development, various funding strategies must be implemented, including a housing trust to facilitate affordable housing development, a Transit Revitalization Investment District (TRID) to fund projects, and grant programs to support public infrastructure.
GOAL 10: PROMOTE WESTERN AVENUE AS A VIBRANT, MIXED-USE COMMERCIAL DISTRICT.
- Re-evaluate applicable zoning along Western Avenue in order to promote desired uses.
- Investigate zoning performance standards to achieve the following desired characteristics for the district::
- Ground floor commercial (office or retail)
- Residential units above (4-6 stories)
- Building materials and design that are historically appropriate for the neighborhood.
- Incorporate gateway signage outlined in the Community section on the corner of Western Ave. And Allegheny Ave.
- Active street frontages that prioritize pedestrian access
- No new surface parking or driveways
GOAL 11: STRENGTHEN AND DIVERSIFY EXISTING LAND USE IN CHATEAU.
- Align future development with the future land use plan outlined in the Development Chapter.
- Leverage the riverfront and planned green corridors for future development.
GOAL 12: DEVELOP A HOUSING TRUST TO ENSURE AFFORDABILITY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.
- Identify stakeholders, including a principle acting agency.
- Define organizational structure and scale.
- Determine income qualifications and housing trust model.
GOAL 13: ENCOURAGE STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT OF VACANT PARCELS/LOTS.
- Prioritize rehabilitating existing vacant structures before infilling vacant land
- Develop a stabilization program to untangle titles and get control of vacant properties
- Explore temporary uses for vacant lots, including community gardens.
- Create a policy with community input on addressing affordable housing on publicly-owned vacant lots.
GOAL 14: IMPLEMENT REVENUE CAPTURE STRATEGIES TO ADVANCE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PROJECTS.
- Establish a TRID.
- A Planning Study
- A TRID Implementation Plan
- Resolution, Public Meeting, and City Ordinance
A safe and efficient transportation system is critical to connecting residents to opportunities and services within the neighborhood as well as throughout the rest of Pittsburgh. In Manchester, the dense network of narrow, residential streets helps promote walking and biking in the neighborhood. However, its one-way streets pose several safety concerns by causing confusion in navigating the neighborhood, encouraging higher travel speeds, and reducing overall connectivity. Aside from walking and biking, residents may use the existing bus transit and metro line. Approximately 10% of households in Manchester do not own a vehicle, and thus, rely heavily on public transit.
In relation to SR 65, the overall mobility of Manchester-Chateau faces five distinct challenges. These involve the safety on Beaver Avenue and Chateau Street, improvements to the Juniata Intersection, traffic flow, additional connections between Manchester-Chateau and the riverfront, and future changes for SR 65. Transforming it into an at-grade boulevard with Beaver Avenue and Chateau Street or expanding the span under the bridge are options to reduce the negative impacts of SR 65.
GOAL 15: ENHANCE SAFETY THROUGH ROADWAY DESIGN IMPROVEMENTS.
- Evaluate local streets for opportunities to improve safety at key crossings for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Explore traffic calming techniques to decrease vehicle speeds, appropriate for local neighborhood streets.
- Evaluate appropriateness of existing one-way streets and explore options for conversion to two-way traffic.
GOAL 16: IMPROVE QUALITY AND ACCESS TO PUBLIC TRANSIT SERVICES.
- Enhance design of bus stops to showcase local artists and community heritage.
- Conduct a Allegheny T-Stop Multimodal Access Plan to identify multimodal improvements to the connect to T station.
GOAL 17: IMPROVE PEDESTRIAN AND BICYCLIST INFRASTRUCTURE.
- Address gaps in the sidewalk network and bring sidewalks and ADA ramps to an acceptable condition.
- Implement bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure per Mode Emphasis Map.
- Improve connections to regional/city trail networks.
- Create partnership to encourage the use of bicycling as an affordable, convenient mode of transportation. Include bike programming in community events.
GOAL 18: RECONNECT MANCHESTER AND CHATEAU THROUGH A NEW VISION FOR THE STATE ROUTE 65 NETWORK.
- Implement near-term safety improvements on Chateau St. & Beaver St. to create pedestrian-safe transition zones.
- Implement Juniata underpass improvements.
- Strengthen connections between Manchester and Chateau by making investments that promote connectivity and safety, and are multi-modal in nature.
- Conduct long-term transportation analysis exploring the feasibility and cost/benefit of long-term changes to SR-65 and options to create additional access points through SR-65.
- Construct green corridors and trail improvements to connect Manchester-Chateau to the river.
- Open space under the bridge to create recreational space and safe connections between the riverfront and the neighborhood.
Manchester-Chateau residents are concerned with the wellbeing and sustainability of the neighborhood’s environment. In particular, air quality is rather poor due to the presence of manufacturing along the river as well as the topography of the city. The neighborhood also faces higher levels of nitrogen dioxide and hotter surface temperatures. The existing ReLeaf Manchester Plan helps mitigate these problems by expanding the tree canopy and coverage. Other efforts that will benefit both Manchester-Chateau’s environment and residents’ safety include implementing green infrastructure, such as street medians, bioswales and rain gardens, and permeable pavers.
The neighborhood has few spaces for public gathering or recreation but Manchester Park, Manchester Field Park, and McKnight Park serve both these functions. These three existing neighborhood parks in Manchester require a refreshed approach to continue serving the needs of residents while preserving the character and heritage of the neighborhood.
GOAL 19: INCORPORATE GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE IN CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS.
- Develop environmental guidelines and a template for the community to use when reviewing proposed development.
- Incorporate green infrastructure where appropriate in development review and in Community Benefits Agreements.
- Incorporate green infrastructure, including stormwater, in public infrastructure investments.
- Develop a program to educate and assist residents to build rain barrels for their property.
Goal 20: IMPROVE NEIGHBORHOOD AIR AND WATER QUALITY.
- Increase lead testing of drinking water
- Increase air quality monitoring throughout neighborhood to improve data/obtain new baseline data, including VOC’s.
- Sign up to be a cohort with ROCIS and recruit residents to participate (requires residents logging activities and measuring pollutants).
- Educate others and advocate through GASP, ACCAN, AIRNOW.GOV.
- Continue to grow the tree canopy in the neighborhood through the implementation of the ReLeaf Manchester and Chateau Plan.
Goal 21: PURSUE RESPONSIBLE WASTE PRACTICES THROUGHOUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
- Enforce recycling mandate.Recycling is required in the City of Pittsburgh and regular discussion at community meetings and local enforcement can help.
- Provide public trash and recycling receptacles where needed.
- Establish a district composting program with an educational component.
- Establish a glass recycling program.
- Coordinate neighborhood clean-up with an awareness of hard to recycle items.
- Strive to become a zero-waste community:
- Raise awareness about waste by planning for all future community events to be zero waste events where all waste is recycled or composted.
- Create a roadmap to zero-waste by working with local advocates.
- Coordinate with the City to acquire data regarding the amount of trash and recycling collected in Manchester and Chateau.
GOAL 22: IMPROVE ENERGY EFFICIENCY THROUGHOUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
- Develop incentives to incorporate renewable energy in new construction.
- Develop incentives to encourage electric car charging stations.
- Educate residents on the following existing programs:
- Ongoing educate residents about PA Power Switch
- DL’s Watt Choice Program (energy audit, system of rebates, and weatherization).
- Pursue obtaining a blanket permission from the HRC for solar panels on historic designated structures.
- Research and develop a neighborhood fund for renewable energy infrastructure installations.
- Recruit residents to form a co-op to seek group rates from solar companies.
- Conduct a study of the neighborhood for existing and future sites for renewable energy opportunities such as wind, solar, and geothermal sites.
- Maintain contact with existing EcoDistricts to learn best practices.
- Partner with the following existing programs:
- Grassroots Green Homes to get Manchester to become 2nd pilot neighborhood (weatherization)
- Conservation Consultants Inc. to audit homes and address energy issues.
- URA’s Pittsburgh Home Rehabilitation Program (PHRP) Energy Efficiency Grant and Loan Program.
Goal 23: PROTECT THE LOCAL ECOSYSTEM.
- Develop a local Urban Ecostewards Program by partnering with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.
- Create a Green library.
- Develop an educational program on gardening.
- Investigate ways to reduce costs of urban agriculture projects on private property.
- Advocate for habitat and protection of species necessary to provide a healthy ecosystem.
- Continue to grow the tree canopy in the Manchester-Chateau neighborhood through the implementation of the ReLeaf Manchester and Chateau Plan.
GOAL 24: STRENGTHEN THE QUALITY OF EXISTING NEIGHBORHOOD PARKS.
- Manchester Park:
- Emphasize role as a community gathering space with updated event and activity spaces.
- Manchester Field Park:
- Emphasize role as community athletic center and festival grounds with updated fields and activity spaces.
- Increase recreational leagues and opportunities using Manchester Fields (football, cheerleading, rugby, baseball)
- McKnight Park:
- Emphasize role as community playground with updated equipment, activities, and signage.
GOAL 25: IMPROVE ACCESS TO OPEN AND GREEN SPACE IN CHATEAU AND ALONG THE RIVERFRONT.
- Identify opportunities for public art and amenities along riverfront trail.
- Construct green corridors to connect Manchester-Chateau to the river.
Manchester-Chateau Neighborhood Plan Public Comment
The public had the opportunity to review the draft and suggest specific edits in May and June. Thank you to everyone that provided feedback on the draft Manchester-Chateau Neighborhood Plan! The comments can be found here.