Fifth Annual Exploring- Our- Roots Lecture and Social Event: October 13, 2022

    EXPLORING OUR ROOTS

 

Each Autumn SFCA sponsors a fun and interesting evening ….  a history expert sharing info about the origins and adventures of our unique Historical Neighborhood of Schenley Farms.

Details for 2022:

When:   Thursday, October 13, 2022    7:00 p.m.

Where:  Latin American Cultural Center,    4338 Bigelow Blvd

Who:    Robert (Bob) Jucha,PhD      Degree in American Studies from GWU, book editor, teacher of Pgh and American Architecture, longtime docent with Pgh History and Landmarks Foundation

Topic:  Oakland’s City Beautiful Movement stands out when compared to other cities’ efforts

 

Evening is sponsored by SFCA, but open to anyone interested in Pgh history and heritage !!

 

Spotted Lantern Fly found in neighborhood … danger to trees and vegetation

Spotted Lanternfly Infestation on Tree

One neighbor near Parkman/Bigelow area reported that a Spotted Lantern Fly (SLF) infestation was found on his property as vines were being cleared in the back yard on July 12.     Another neighbor on Lytton reported finding a dead nymph on his walkway several days ago.

SLF is an invasive species capable of significant damage to trees, vines, crops, and other vegetation.    

SLF is not harmful to humans but damage to trees and yard plants can be extensive.

Useful Websites as a source of further information, re reporting and killing these predators:

https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Plants_Land_Water/PlantIndustry/Entomology/spotted_lanternfly/SpottedLanternflyAlert/Pages/default.aspx

https://www.treepittsburgh.org/resources/spotted-lanternfly/

Relevant YouTube videos

What is a Spotted Lanternfly?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uin0GECoi4A

How to Remove Spotted Lanternfly Eggs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4QaWqdUulg

Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses – Scrape Crusader

This video describes how you can build a simple device which can be used to remove Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses from your trees

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuqRg50Vc1w

NEIGHBORS ….. PLEASE BE EDUCATED ABOUT THIS DANGER AND HELP DESTROY NESTS AND EGGS AS A PREVENTION OF HARM TO TREES AND PLANTS.

2022 SUMMER BLOCK PARTY A SUCCESS

The Second Annual SFCA Summer Block Party was a huge success, held on Sunday July 10,   6 t0 8 p.m.    Over 100 neighbors and friends gathered on Tennyson Avenue, which was closed for the event.   The wonderful Harpers opened their front porch and yard as a hub of action,  while tables and chairs filled the streets.  Food was provided by the Vagabond Taco Truck …  great tacos, chocolate brownies.   Drinks were abundant, music came from speakers, dogs were meeting in the street, and cigar smoke was enjoyed/ignored !    Cornhole competitions were held, while kids enjoyed chalk, hula hoops, bubbles and games.    The beautiful weather and large shade trees provided the perfect ambiance.

Annual Membership meeting held May 26, 2022

After two years of ZOOM meetings, the annual May meeting was once again being held IN PERSON.    Hurrah!

Date/Time:    Thursday May 26, 2022        6:30 – 7:00  social time       7:00 – 9:00    meeting

Location:   Latin American Cultural Center  at  4338 Bigelow   (lower corner of Bigelow and Parkman).    This beautiful building is newly refurbished, was prior home of Historical Society of Western PA.

LACC  generously is providing the location at embarrassingly-low discount…     good neighbors indeed !!

Content:

Initial part features updates from institution/government bodies:

Mayor Ed Gainey:    a great honor for neighbors, as he spoke about violence prevention, goals for his new administration, plans for development in Oakland

Councilperson Erika Strassburger:   invited by had to decline due to recent Covid;   sent a list of issue updates which were presented by powerpoint

UPMC:   Doug Spies (Sr Director of Architecture and Engineering):  update on new Presby Hospital, with groundbreaking in June and plans for completion in Spring 2026

U Pitt:   Jamie Ducker (ED, the Engaged Campus) and Chuck Alcorn (architect):    announced that One Bigelow Project now on indefinite hold after reassessment of campus/home work situation;  gave update on other projects including currently-under-construction Health Ctr on O’Hara and plans for hilltop dorm construction

PGH City Government/Planning:  Jake Pawlak, Deputy Mayor;   Kyle Chintalapalli, Chief of Econ Development;   Rebekkah Ranallo, Mgr Neighborhood Services.    Gave updates and Q&A, with topics including city budgeting process, concerns about electric scooters, new plans for Oakland Development

SFCA MEETING:

Update of activities from board.

Elections for board.    Janet Squires and Laura Waxman leaving.   New members:  Rob Squires, Richard Moncure, Liz Frame (re-elected)

 

January is time for renewal of RPP – Resident Parking Permit

Schenley Farms neighborhood has been a restricted parking area since 2013, with residents allowed to purchase Resident Parking Permits.  These need to be renewed each January.   Cost is $20 per car, plus $1 if a option for visitor parking is needed.

The following steps are instructions from the Parking Authority staff:

  • Log in to your account at: http://pittsburghrpp.com
  • Click ‘Renew My RPPs’
  • Upload required documents to prove your ID and residency (a signed lease or full page version of an electric, gas, or cable/internet bill). All permit holders must upload documents every year to renew their permits.
  • Upload vehicle registration(s)
  • Select your choice of permit
  • Submit for approval.

After submission,  staff will review the files. An email confirmation that the permit has been approved and the payment has been processed is sent, if successful.  No decals are sent out, but parking enforcement staff will have license numbers in their system.

Note from a homeowner:  it is relatively easy to take a phone camera photo and upload to application site.  But they were picky !!  To prove residence, they required a full-page utility bill (or equivalent) with names; they didn’t like my partial logo/address only section.   And they told me it was blurry twice, before accepting what looked OK to me.    I admit …  I was a little offended that my camera work was being criticized!!   Still …. a pretty smooth operation !!

Second Note:  There were prior concerns re changes for RPP areas (see Oct 2021 note) , which would allow paid-for parking along side neighbor permit parking.  Changes still not completed through City Council.   But pretty clear that this was a suggestion strongly desired by some RPP neighborhoods, and would not be applied generally.   There will be no RPP changes until/unless our specific neighborhood desires.   

New Stoplight at Bigelow/Bigelow/Bayard January 2022

There were many concerns about pedestrian safety at this complex intersection …   leading City Traffic Officials to initiate improvements which began in August 2021.  There were multiple delays, especially with utility upgrades needed underground in the area.  Members of SFCA were involved with the planning steps.

The newly constructed traffic signal at the intersection of Bayard Street and Bigelow Bayard was activated during the week of January 17th, 2022.  The new signal includes 12” overhead LED vehicular signals, pedestrian countdown signals, audible pedestrian pushbuttons and a protected flashing yellow arrow left turn signal for outbound Bigelow Boulevard traffic.    New crosswalks will be painted as soon as weather allows.

https://pittsburghpa.gov/domi/index.html

Manager:  Eric Stein P.E.

Department of Mobility and Infrastructure

A few other changes for neighborhood residents:   removal of several parking spaces on lower Bigelow right side just before stoplight;   elimination of right-turn-on-red when coming down Bigelow from Schenley Apts.  

POSSIBLE CHANGES TO RESIDENTIAL PERMIT PARKING ZONES ARE RAISING CONCERNS

Currently a proposal for changes to the Resident Permit Parking (RPP) process is under consideration by Pgh City Council.   There is a public hearing before this Council on Thursday, November 4, 2021.

Several neighbors have raised concerns, since one particular aspect of the proposed changes might impact Schenley Farms neighborhood adversely, namely the creation of a “hybrid-RPP” parking zone.    If passed, this would create a process whereby some now-protected RPP neighborhoods could be switched to a ‘hybrid’ system, where residents with permits would share street parking spaces with persons paying through a parking kiosk.

Because community input is so important,  SFCA board has sent information to neighbors about this potential change.

Information includes the following:

1.)   Background information

2.)   Link to City information sites

3.)   Invitation to a Neighborhood Zoom meeting on Monday Nov 1 6:00 p.m., if you are interested in learning more or giving feedback

4.)   Commentary by one neighborhood advocate (Norm Clearey) which explains alo

Of note,  this is the initial legislative process.   It is NOT the time when decisions about specific neighborhoods are being made.    If ‘hybrid RPP’ zones are created in Pittsburgh, there will be time for discussion and a possible need for widespread neighborhood involvement.

—————————————————————————————————————-

BACKGROUND:

  • Here is the official statement about why the issue is being raised now:   “ The City is interested in transferring the administration of the process for creating or expanding new areas for the Residential Permit Parking (RPP) Program from the Department of City Planning to the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, who already permits and enforces RPP areas.  Since this change requires a change to the City Code, the City is looking to understand what changes residents may want to see from the program to make any other potential Code changes at the same time. “
  • Schenley Farms has been a RPP since 2014.    This means residents can buy an annual permit for one car at $20 and a visitor car for $1.    Residents with permits can park on the street.   Drivers without a permit can park for one hour free, and during 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. time period.  Enforcement is through Pgh Parking Authority.
  • One of the questions on a City Survey which underlines the possible changes included this phrasing:   “Should the City allow some hybrid parking, allowing for commercial and residential parking, in areas near a large parking generator such as a hospital, university, or professional sports stadium? “

USEFUL LINKS

  •  Map of the current RPP areas Pittsburgh:

 https://pittsburghpa.maps.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=ffdb4e15b13747e698f112f9b589ed39

  • Summarizing presentations with the main points: 

https://engage.pittsburghpa.gov/rpp-program-updates

 https://hdp-us-prod-app-pgh-engage-files.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/1116/3361/7896/RPP_Program_Updates_Presentation.pdf

Includes a survey of community input, with approx. 2200 respondents.

  • Link to City Council

https://pittsburghpa.gov/clerk/council-meetings

A ZOOM meeting will be held soon, with neighbors invited to learn more and to give input.

Journalist To Speak at History Lecture and Recall Past Visits from Celebrities to Oakland

On Thursday October 14, 2021, the 4th Annual Lecture in the “Exploring Our Roots” series will be held at the newly renovated and repurposed historic building at 4338 Bigelow.   This was previously  home to the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, and is now the new home for the Latin American Studies Assn Cultural Center.

The speaker will be Len Barcousky,  who wrote an Eyewitness History column for the Pgh Post Gazette for many years.   All SF residents are invited.  The event is also open and free to anyone interested in local history.   Face Masks are required as a public health measure.

SPEAKER:   Len Barcousky

TOPIC:  Everybody came to Oakland: Residents of Schenley Farms had front-row seats to visits by, among others, a renowned physicist, a U.S.president and a popular preacher.

 

Len Barcousky got his first job in journalism in 1970, and this year he marked the 51st anniversary of the start of his newspaper career. He spent almost 30 years as a reporter and editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

          A graduate of Penn State with a degree in English, he has a master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Business.

          Len is the author of three books about the region:

“Remembering Pittsburgh: An ‘Eyewitness’ History of the Steel City” (The History Press, 2010); “Civil War Pittsburgh: Forge of the Union” (The History Press, 2013); and “Hidden History of Pittsburgh” (The History Press, 2016).

          For 12 years he wrote a bi-weekly “Eyewitness” column for the Post-Gazette. In it, he investigated how now historic and not-so-historic events were reported originally in the Post-Gazette and its predecessor publications.  

          Len lives in Ben Avon with his wife, Barbara, also a Penn State graduate.

 

 

New Electric Scooter Program causing concerns – property abandonment, safety

         

Several neighbors have noted and reported that the new SPIN electric scooters have been found inappropriately left on sidewalks in the neighborhood.   See photos (submitted by S. Weinberg).

There have also been concerns of zipping riders weaving along Bigelow, posing new challenges for drivers, pedestrians and bikers.

On 9/14/21, the Post Gazette had an oped piece about the issue.   Pgh City Council will be having hearings soon, planning to draft legislation to regulate use.

https://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/editorials/2021/09/14/Rules-of-the-road-for-electric-scooters/stories/202109100033

Just a few pertinent points:

  • City entered pilot program with scooter company SPIN on July 9, allowing 900 electric scooters to be available.   Complaints quickly came in.
  • Some of the issues:    underage use, inappropriate use on roads, safety issues,  abandonment of property.
  • Anyone who has a complaint can call either to City ( 311 or MyBurgh app), or directly to company Spin ( support@spin.pm or 1-888-249-9698.)    Each scooter has a large ID # and  this should be part of report.

This issue will take a more time and thought, but reports of concerns are helpful to city council staff, who are working on appropriate legislation.

 

Insects a threat to trees – Spotted lanternflies and how to handle

Submitted by S Weinberg:

Dear Neighbors –

On August 25 there was a local news report about Spotted Lanternflies in our region.

https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/staying-vigilant-spotted-lanternfly-around-pittsburgh-fall-approaches/X5U4RXFCRRBQ7P372NWWK3IPOY/

Because these pests can cause widespread destruction of trees, it is important to know what they look like and what steps you can take to mitigate their spread.  This is particularly important as we enter the Fall, when these insects lay their eggs.  Destroying the eggs is the best opportunity to slow their spread.

Below are a few relevant YouTube videos

What is a Spotted Lanternfly?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uin0GECoi4A

How to Remove Spotted Lanternfly Eggs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4QaWqdUulg

Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses – Scrape Crusader

This video describes how you can build a simple device which can be used to remove Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses from your trees

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuqRg50Vc1w