Bigelow Block to Reopen to Pedestrian Traffic, Provide Additional Outdoor Student Spaces

An artist's depiction of the plan for Bigelow Blvd

A new milestone in the Bigelow Block Transformation Project will add convenience for pedestrians on the Pittsburgh campus.

On Oct. 24, access to the midblock crosswalk and the north and east portions of the William Pitt Union grounds and the surrounding walkways will reopen, eliminating the need for pedestrian detours around the site and providing new outdoor areas for students.

The block of Bigelow Boulevard between Fifth and Forbes avenues will remain closed to vehicles until the project’s completion, targeted for mid-December, said Scott Bernotas, associate vice chancellor for facilities management.

New amphitheater space outside the William Pitt Union, designed to accommodate student programming activities and events, will be available for groups to reserve during the spring 2021 term.

The streetscape and infrastructure project, begun in November 2019, was initially slated to be completed in August 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic paused construction work for two months and delayed delivery of concrete planters and barriers.

The City of Pittsburgh, which owns Bigelow Boulevard, and the University collaborated to align much-needed campus utility infrastructure work with the city’s Complete Streets plan for the block.

The project is transforming this block of Bigelow Boulevard—a key connection in Oakland—to accommodate all modes of transportation more safely and efficiently. The project relocates and enhances the midblock pedestrian crosswalk, calms traffic and upgrades bicycle and transit connections.

Over half of the work exists below the street, including the installation of new water, chilled water and electrical power distribution infrastructure, all of which support both current and future campus needs.

Improvements to the William Pitt Union grounds are designed to enhance accessibility and sustainability and seamlessly connect with the recently renovated Schenley Quadrangle.