City and University of Pittsburgh Complete Bigelow Boulevard Improvements in Oakland

University of Pittsburgh Media Contact:
Kevin Zwick, Spokesman


PITTSBURGH, PA (December 23, 2020) – The University of Pittsburgh and the City of Pittsburgh are reopening a reimagined Bigelow Boulevard between Fifth and Forbes avenues – a key connection in Oakland – tomorrow, December 24, 2020.  

Pitt partnered with the City of Pittsburgh, who owns Bigelow Boulevard, to align much-needed infrastructure work with the city’s complete streets policy to coordinate a single project for the block that enhances pedestrian safety and accommodates all modes of transportation more safely and efficiently.   

The project provides a new streetscape with safe, separated paths for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, updated utility infrastructure, additional landscaping and more for the Pitt campus and community.   

“I’d like to thank the University of Pittsburgh, Chancellor Gallagher and the Oakland community for developing and implementing an improvement plan that creates a safer experience for the thousands of people who use this block of Bigelow – students, commuters, neighbors and people who work in Oakland,” said Mayor William Peduto.   

“I am grateful to Mayor Bill Peduto and the City of Pittsburgh for their continued partnership,” said University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “The new-and-improved Bigelow Boulevard is safer, more accessible, and set to enhance how University of Pittsburgh students, neighbors and visitors will experience Oakland for decades to come.”  

Project highlights:  

  • Safety and Traffic Flow – The new streetscape design provides a better, safer experience through a comprehensive multimodal-mobility plan, providing expanded sidewalks and crosswalk lanes, relocating and enhancing the mid-block pedestrian crosswalk, calming traffic, improving the bus stop area and upgrading an important bike connection using best practices in street design to foster a stronger sense of place for Oakland and the University.  
  • Accessibility – Accessibility between the William Pitt Union and recently renovated Schenley Quadrangle is significantly improved.  
  • Infrastructure – Utility infrastructure updates to water lines, chilled water supply, and power distribution enable and support the campus master plan and benefit the community, in addition to creating the resiliency and redundancy needed to support a preeminent research University.  
  • Connectivity – The overall design creates a new welcoming and appealing pathway to Schenley Plaza, the Oakland business district and the Oakland community, as well as providing a flexible new space for student activities and programming outside the William Pitt Union.   
  • Sustainability – From new green spaces and energy efficiencies to a system that will manage rainfall through sustainable landscaping practices, this important renovation project supports Pitt’s commitment to sustainability.   

The Bigelow block plan was developed in collaboration with the Oakland Business Improvement District, Oakland Transportation Management Association, Oakland Planning and Development Corporation and part of the Pittsburgh Campus Master Plan process.   

Pitt trustees approved the project plan in June 2019. Construction began in November 2019 and was initially slated to be completed in August 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed completion of the project. Contractors and partners included Mascaro Construction Company and Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.    

The total cost of the project, including utility upgrades, streetscaping, landscaping and work on the William Pitt Union’s grounds, was $23.7 million. The project was funded by the University of Pittsburgh general budget and a $1 million grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development with support from Senator Jay Costa, Representative Frank Dermody and Representative Dan Frankel. 

Bigelow Boulevard is located in the heart of Pitt’s urban campus between the William Pitt Union and Cathedral of Learning buildings, with renovations that provide a welcoming and appealing new pathway connecting the campus, Schenley Plaza, the Oakland business district and Oakland community. Learn more at


Before and After photos of the Bigelow streetscape:


Thank you to the crews! Those pictured here from Mascaro Construction Company have worked on the Bigelow improvement project for the entire duration:

Additional photos of the reopened street will be available 12/24 on the City of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Twitter and the City of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Facebook pages.  


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Molly Onufer
Communications Director
Mayor's Office