Tag Archives: urban issues

5 Thing Friday

11 Apr

All week I’ve been reading about cool things and this is where I dump them:

1.  Beers Of The Burgh Festival – This weekend is the inaugural Beers of the Burgh Festival, which will be held in Lawrenceville and showcases over 30 local craft brewers.  General admission is sold out, but you can still purchase VIP tickets!

 

2.  40 Towns Create Land Bank – I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS FOR A LONG TIME.  Finally.  Finally some action on blighted properties in my community.  If you aren’t aware of what happens when a region is dependent on a single industry (ahem, steel) and then all the industry packs up and leaves:  blight.  Empty, rotting houses and overgrown brush in abandoned lots, riddled with garbage.  An analysis done by local municipalities found that:

“20,077 vacant lots and 7,158 parcels with blighted structures that cost local governments more than $10.7 million a year in direct municipal services, such as police, fire and code enforcement. They also account for nearly $8.7 million in lost annual tax revenue. But the biggest drain was on neighboring non-blighted properties, which the report found suffered a total loss of between $218 million and $247 million in property values.”

Some Pittsburgh neighborhoods were hit harder than others, but the creation of this land bank is huge!  To me, it may mean that we are finally able to combat blight and attract a more stable tax base to effected areas.  Some people oppose these types of strategies because it gives government control over private property.  I, on the other hand, stare at abandoned buildings all day long.  In my opinion, if you aren’t able or willing to fix up your janky property then you shouldn’t have it to begin with.  The boroughs’ hands are tied because the properties ultimately belong to someone – and many times those people can’t be found or don’t want to be found.  The borough has to deal with the problems associated with the property but can’t actually do anything about it.  A land bank would allow municipalities to generate tax income, sell properties, attract new property developers, and to improve the overall aesthetic of a neighborhood.    That is HUGE for boroughs like Homestead and Braddock.

 

3.  16 Ways To Kick Plastic – This is a quick read but it’s got some great ideas on how to use less plastic.  My 2 favorite ones are: 1) Just say no to disposable straws, carry a few BPA-free reusable ones with you 2) Bring your own doggy-bag container when you go to a restaurant.

 

4.  Cyclocable Bike Lifts In Pittsburgh?! – This is basically exactly what I need to become an avid adequate let’s just go with cyclist.  If it’s good enough for Norway, it’s good enough for me.  DON’T JUDGE ME PEOPLE.  THOSE HILLS ARE NO JOKE.  Somehow I doubt that even Bill Peduto could make this one happen.

 

5.  Check out this list of 42 Flowers You Can Eat…I can’t see myself throwing chrysanthimums on my salad but hey the list also includes herbs and spices.  If I’m every stranded in the wilderness somewhere (LIKE FRICK PARK because my God I get all turned around on those trails), I will be able to survive.  Or maybe someday I will be go all rogue with my cooking and makes virgin tear soup with hibiscus garnish.  Ew.

 

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Friday Things

8 Feb

There are so many things I want to say about Wednesday’s post, but I will have to save that for another day. 🙂

Today has been busy and its not even halfway through my day yet.  We’ve got some help at the house today and I’ve been told that the kitchen will be wired and dry-walled by the time I come home tonight.  YIPPEE!!!!!!  I made sure to take some before pictures late last night as I was emptying the kitchen of its contents.

This morning, I had to do diaper & laundry deliveries by myself.  Stressful doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about doing deliveries by myself.  I always manage to get all turned around, even though I know exactly where I’m going.  I constantly find myself in the wrong or slow or turning lane.  And I do NOT deal well with detours.  After arriving at my first delivery several minutes before what would be considered “LATE” (<– my least favorite thing in the world), I decided to catch my breath and calm my nerves with coffee.

If you are from Pittsburgh, you know there are about a million coffee stops near Shadyside, but parking is always an obstacle for me.  I decided to swing by Coffee Tree Roasters in East Liberty for several reasons.  One, there is always access to parking.  Two, it was on the way to my next delivery.  Three, I love Bakery Square.

Bakery Square

The East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh is one of those in-between neighbors which is in the process of changing from a crime-riddled ghetto to one of Pittsburgh’s now re-gentrified destination spots.  It butts up against one of the most posh urban neighborhoods (Shadyside) and one with the worst reputation (Homewood).  Within a one mile radius, there is both an Anthropologie, a prestigious all-girls private school, and several low-income housing projects.  I think that its a neighborhood that is slowly assuming a new identity, but in a sustainable way.  The neighborhood needed some new life breathed into it, I just hope that as it grows it does so by welcoming people of all income levels.

The development at Bakery Square was a turning point for East Liberty, in my opinion.  The development of several blocks of vacant, run-down warehouses into luxury offices, storefronts and living space gave people a reason to give East Liberty another chance.  The fact that Google opened offices in the Bakery Square development surely didn’t hurt.

Nestled front and center is Coffee Tree Roasters:

CoffeeTreeRoasters2

Feeling crunched for time, I just ordered a large black coffee and grabbed one of these vegan energy bars at the register:

HeartThrive

I know the quality is a little bad, but that’s what you get for taking pictures while driving.  I should include the disclaimer here that I am not a vegan or gluten-free, nor do I have any real desire to be.  This was an impulse buy – kudos to whoever the genius was who realized product placement was a good idea.  These Heart Thrive bars by The Healthy Baking Company (also the makers of the California Suncake) were dense.  And dry.  It wasn’t bad though.  It was just different that what I’m used to.  They claimed to contain ingredients with a low glycemic index, which sustain energy over a longer period of time instead of causing energy spike and dip in one spurt.  I’d say that was accurate.  Normally, I spend mid-morning in an english muffin or bagel-induced carb coma and I wasn’t feeling sluggish at all after these two cakes.

HeartThrive2

Also, I chose Cranberry simply because the only other option left was Raisin Spice. After checking out their website, I will be keeping my eyes peeled for a Chocolate Chip one.  I would definitely try these again, but in a different flavor.  Cheers to trying new things!

CoffeeTreeRoasters

And to the little Transit that could.  She’s being quite a trooper while she waits for her bumper to come in (its on back-order until March).

transit

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