Pittsburgh Spark Program 2019

2018 Pilot Sparks: Left Bae Bae's Kitchen Downtown (Photo: Merritt Chase) Right Onion Maiden Allentown (Photo: Onion Maiden)


The Spark program is part of Pittsburgh's overall strategy for creating safe, complete streets and new open spaces. Complete streets balance the needs of people walking, riding bicycles, taking transit, or moving around in a private automobiles. Streets and sidewalks make up to fifty percent of the City’s land area and are an integral part of our daily experience. Many sidewalks are narrow and leave little space for public life. The City, in an effort to provide new opportunities for pedestrian enhancements, has created the Spark program.  

A Spark is a S-mall-park or a S-treet-park that extends a sidewalk into a street's parking lane for the length of 1-2 parking spaces in commercial areas. New open spaces created through the addition of a small park to a streetscape add to the City’s inventory of larger parks and playgrounds. Once installed, the Spark encourages more on-street pedestrian activity that supports nearby businesses. Sparks are created by changing the use of one to two parking spaces and, in their place, building a semi-permanent platform which extends the sidewalk into the street. This platform is buffered from the street by a railing or barrier and can contain plantings, furniture, and other creative pedestrian amenities. 

  • Sparks are public spaces
  • Commercial activity is not allowed in a Spark
  • Alcohol is not allowed in a Spark
  • Sparks must be removed in the winter on some streets, evaluated on a case-by-case basis


Getting Started 

Please read our 2019 program guide carefully for location and design requirements. If you are interested in installing a Spark in front of your business and unsure if you meet the location requirements, it is a good idea to run the location by the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure before beginning your application. Please send potential locations to: Kristin Saunders, 

Spark 2019 Program Guide (PDF)


Application Process

If you are sure that your location meets the criteria set out in the Spark 2019 Program Guide (PDF), please prepare all the documents required for the initial application and send them in! We will be accepting applications on a rolling basis until November 19.



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