Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

__NOTOC__ Infobox Pittsburgh neighborhood
name = Downtown
aka = Central Business District; Golden Triangle

caption =

caption =

population1990 = 3785
population2000 = 2721
latd = 40.441
longd = 80.000
area_sqmi = 0.64

Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, officially called the Golden Triangle or Central Business District, is a very dense, urban and walkable downtown located at the confluence of the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River whose joining forms the Ohio River. The "triangle" is formed by the two rivers; it is "golden" because it is the city's commercial center, where major corporations such as PNC Bank, U.S. Steel, PPG, Mellon Financial, Heinz, Federated Investors and Alcoa are based, and where the fortunes of such industrial barons as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick and George Westinghouse were made.


The Central Business District is bounded by the Monongahela River to the south, the Allegheny River to the north, and I-579 (Crosstown Boulevard) to the east. An expanded definition of Downtown may include the adjacent neighborhoods of Uptown/The Bluff, the Strip District, the North Shore, and the South Shore.


Public transportation

Downtown is served by the Port Authority's light rail subway system (known locally as the "T"), an extensive bus network, and two inclines (Duquesne Incline and Monongahela Incline). The Downtown subway has 6 stations, with 2 more in the construction phase:

"Current T Stations"
*Station Square on the South Shore in the Station Square development (street-level station)
*First Avenue near First Avenue & Ross Street, Downtown (elevated station)
*Steel Plaza at Sixth Avenue & Grant Street, Downtown (underground station)
*Penn Plaza near Liberty Avenue & Grant Street, Downtown (underground, limited service)
*Wood Street at the triangular intersection of Wood Street, Sixth Avenue, and Liberty Avenue, Downtown (underground station)
*Gateway Center at Liberty Avenue & Stanwix Street, Downtown (underground station)

"Future T Stations"
*North Side near General Robinson Street & Tony Dorsett Drive on the North Shore (to be underground)
*Allegheny near Allegheny Avenue & Reedsdale Street on the North Shore (to be elevated)

Downtown is also home to an Amtrak train station connecting Pittsburgh with New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC to the east and Cleveland and Chicago to the west. Greyhound's Pittsburgh bus terminal is also near Downtown along Second Avenue underneath the 10th Street Bridge. The old Greyhound station was across Liberty Avenue from the Amtrak Station and was torn down in 2005 so that a newer, more modern facility could be constructed on its footprint. The new terminal is expected to open in the Winter of 2008.


Major roadways serving Downtown from the suburbs include the "Parkway East" (I-376) from Monroeville, the "Parkway West" (I-279) from the airport area, and the "Parkway North" (I-279) from the North Hills, and (I-579) in Downtown Pittsburgh. Other important roadways are Pennsylvania Route 28, Pennsylvania Route 51, Pennsylvania Route 65, and U.S. Route 19.

Three major entrances to the city are via tunnels on I-279 (Fort Pitt Tunnel), I-376 (Squirrel Hill Tunnel), and the Liberty Tunnels. The New York Times once called Pittsburgh "the only city with an entrance," [cite web | url = | title = Top Ten Reasons to Visit Pittsburgh | accessdate = 2007-06-28 ] specifically referring to the view of Downtown that explodes upon drivers immediately upon exiting the Fort Pitt Tunnel. Also Traveling I-279 south and I-376, the city "explodes into view" when coming around a turn in the highway.

Local streets

Downtown surface streets are based on two distinct grid systems that parallel the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. These two grids intersect along Liberty Avenue, creating many unusual street intersections. Furthermore, the Allegheny grid contains numbered streets, while the Monongahela grid contains numbered avenues. And, in fact, there are cases where these numbered roadways intersect, creating some confusion (i.e. the intersection of Liberty Avenue and 7th Street/6th Avenue). In addition, there appear to be some "duplicate" intersections. For example, if one says they are at the intersection of Sixth and Penn, they could be referring to the intersection of Sixth Street and Penn Avenue (in the Cultural District north of Liberty Avenue) or Sixth Avenue and William Penn Place, a few blocks away and south of Liberty Avenue.


Pittsburgh is nicknamed "The City of Bridges" for good reason. Just in Downtown, there are 10 bridges (listed below) connecting to points north and south. The expanded definition of Downtown (including the aforementioned surrounding neighborhoods) includes 18 bridges. City-wide there are 446 bridges. In Allegheny County the number exceeds 2,200.

"Downtown Bridges"
*Fort Pitt Bridge carries I-279 (Future I-376) between Downtown and the Fort Pitt Tunnel
*Fort Duquesne Bridge carries I-279 between Downtown and the North Shore
*Smithfield Street Bridge carries Smithfield Street between Downtown and the South Shore
*Panhandle Bridge carries the city's light rail transit system between Downtown and the South Shore
*Liberty Bridge connects the Liberty Tunnel to I-579 Downtown
*Roberto Clemente Bridge (formerly 6th St Bridge) connects 6th Street Downtown to Federal Street on the North Shore at PNC Park
*Andy Warhol Bridge (formerly 7th St Bridge) connects 7th Street Downtown to Sandusky Street on the North Shore at the Andy Warhol Museum
*Rachel Carson Bridge (formerly 9th St Bridge) connects 9th Street Downtown to Anderson Street on the North Shore
*Fort Wayne Railroad Bridge carries freight and Amtrak trains from Downtown to the North Shore
*Veterans Bridge carries I-579 from Downtown to the North Side

"Bridges of Expanded Downtown"
*West End Bridge carries US Route 19 from the West End/South Shore to the North Shore/North Side just west of Downtown
*16th Street Bridge carries 16th Street from the Strip District to Chestnut Street on the North Side
*West Penn Bridge (pedestrian/bike-only) is part of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail connecting the North Side to Washington's Landing on Herr's Island
*30th Street Bridge connects River Avenue on the North Side with Waterfront Drive on Washington's Landing at Herr's Island
*31st Street Bridge connects PA Route 28 on the North Side with 31st Street in the Strip District
*33rd Street Railroad Bridge connects the North Side to the Strip District and crosses Herr's Island
*South 10th Street Bridge connects the Armstrong Tunnel at Second Avenue just east of Downtown with the South Side at South 10th Street
*Birmingham Bridge connects East Carson Street on the South Side with Fifth and Forbes avenues in Uptown

Downtown districts

Downtown contains a wealth of historic, cultural, and entertainment sites. While most people still consider the entire Downtown as one neighborhood, there are several significant subdistricts within the Golden Triangle.
*Point State Park area: At the triangle's tip is Point State Park with its giant fountain and the Fort Pitt Museum. This park was the original site of both Fort Duquesne by the French and the subsequent Fort Pitt by the British.
*The Cultural District along Penn and Liberty avenues on the Allegheny River includes numerous theaters, galleries, and concert halls including Heinz Hall, Byham Theater, O'Reilly Theater, Benedum Center, and Wood Street Galleries as well as restaurants and housing. A significant historic district encompasses the Penn & Liberty avenue corridor in the Cultural District.
*The Fifth & Forbes Corridor is Downtown's shopping district along Fifth and Forbes avenues and includes historic Market Square. In addition to numerous indepedent retailers and restaurants, Downtown is home to three department stores: Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, and Burlington Coat Factory, as well as numerous other large retailers like Brooks Brothers and Office Depot.
*The Grant Street area is the seat of Pittsburgh's and Allegheny County's government and is also a prestigious corporate address with many of the city's tallest skyscrapers.
*The Firstside neighborhood along the Boulevard of the Allies and Fort Pitt Boulevard adjacent to the Monongahela River is an educational and residential district. It is home to Point Park University and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh both of which have high-rise student housing in the neighborhood. Numerous other residential projects are also under construction in this neighborhood.

Major corporations

Pittsburgh has long been a headquarters city, with numerous national and global corporations calling the Golden Triangle home. Currently, Downtown is still home to a large number of Fortune 500 companies (7 total in 2007, which ranks Pittsburgh 6th nationwide in Fortune 500 headquarters):
*Allegheny Technologies- headquartered in PPG Place
*H. J. Heinz Company- headquartered in the US Steel Tower
*Mellon Financial Corporation- headquartered in One Mellon Center
*PNC Financial Services- headquartered in One PNC Plaza
*PPG Industries- headquartered in PPG Place
*WESCO International- headquartered at Station Square
*U.S. Steel- headquartered at the US Steel Tower

Downtown is also home to GNC, Dollar Bank, Equitable Resources, Duquesne Light, Federated Investors and Highmark as well as the regional headquarters for National City Bank, Citizens Bank, Ariba, and Dominion Resources. Regional healthcare giant UPMC is moving its corporate headquarters to the US Steel Tower by 2009.

Major buildings

*Allegheny County Courthouse
*Ariba Center
*Benedum Center
*Byham Theater
*Citizens Financial Center
*City-County Building
*David L. Lawrence Convention Center
*Dominion Tower
*Heinz Hall
*Fifth Avenue Place
*Federated Tower
*Frick Building
*Gateway Center
*Grant Building
*Gulf Tower
*Koppers Tower
*One Mellon Center
*O'Reilly Theater
*Oxford Centre
*One PNC Plaza
*Two PNC Plaza
*Three PNC Plaza (under construction)
*PPG Place
*Regional Enterprise Tower
*Union Station
*Union Trust Building
*Westinghouse Tower


Downtown is home to the following hotels:
*Pittsburgh Hilton & Towers
*Omni William Penn
*Hampton Inn & Suites (located on the edge of the Strip District)
*Pittsburgh Marriott City Center
*Renaissance Pittsburgh
*Westin Convention Center Hotel
*Doubletree Pittsburgh City Center
*Courtyard by Marriott Downtown
*Fairmont Hotel (under construction within the new Three PNC Plaza)
*Sheraton Station Square (located in the South Shore's Station Square)
*SpringHill Suites (located on the North Shore)

Parks and plazas

Downtown is home to numerous parks, large and small:
*Point State Park at the tip of the Golden Triangle
*Mellon Square located in the square between Oliver & Sixth avenues and Smithfield Street and William Penn Place
*Market Square at Forbes Avenue & Market Street
*Mellon Green located at Grant Street & Sixth Avenue
*FirstSide Park located between Grant & Ross streets and First & Second avenues.
*Gateway Center plazas located around the Gateway Center skyscrapers near Liberty Avenue & Stanwix Street
*Plaza at PPG Place near Third Avenue & Market Street
*US Steel Tower Plaza at Grant Street & Sixth Avenue
*Katz Plaza at Penn Avenue & Seventh Street
*Allegheny Riverfront Park along the Allegheny River below Fort Duquesne Boulevard
*Mon Wharf Landing along the Monongahela River below Fort Pitt Boulevard (under construction)
*North Shore Riverfront Park opposite Downtown along the Allegheny and Ohio rivers, part of the larger Three Rivers Park

Educational facilities

high school:
*Point Park University
*The Art Institute of Pittsburgh
*Pennsylvania Culinary Institute
*Robert Morris University's Downtown branch
*Duquesne University in nearby Uptown
*Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts
*City Charter High School

urrounding neighborhoods

*The Bluff/Uptown
*Crawford-Roberts neighborhood in the Hill District
*North Shore (across the Allegheny River)
*South Shore (across the Monongahela River)
*South Side Flats (across the Monongahela River)
*Strip District

ee also

*List of Pittsburgh neighborhoods


Further reading

*cite book | author=Toker, Franklin | title=Pittsburgh: An Urban Portrait | location=Pittsburgh | publisher=University of Pittsburgh Press | year=1986, 1994 | id=ISBN 0-8229-5434-6

External links

* [ Interactive Pittsburgh Neighborhoods Map]

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