Pittsburgh on the river

Pittsburgh has made an inspiring commitment to linear greenways and public access to the waterfront. See below for recent photos of trails along the Allegheny River and for the planning principles guiding trail development.

Downtown parks and trails

Bike/pedestrian bridge attached to highway bridge

Old railroad bridge reclaimed for pedestrians

Washington's Landing A new development showing how it's ok to have a public trail running by private homes.

Scenic overlooks teach history along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail

Trails can run through marinas.

Pittsburgh's Waterfront Development Plan

Pittsburghs waterfront has become a desired address for new communities, cultural venues, commercial development and outdoor recreation. Already, projects such as the $40-million ALCOA World Headquarters building and an expanding 11.5-mile riverfront greenway, the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, have set high marks for design, construction and connectivity along Pittsburghs riversa preview of things to come. Design standards will be keyed to neighborhood history and tradition so that development reflects and reinforces the underlying value of each community. Finally, public access sites connected by linear greenways will tie developments together, eliminating barriers, both real and imagined and animating the riverfront with the light and life of the city.

A developing riverfront trail, that will eventually connect Washingtons Landing on the North Shore of the Allegheny River with Sandcastle Waterpark on the Monongahela at the citys southeast edge, already attracts a growing legion of morning walkers and after-work runners. This amenity has attracted significant new high quality investment, and encouraged people once again to approach the wateran instinct lost during a century of industrialization.

Pittsburgh, once the nations forerunner in urban redevelopment, has joined the fold of world cities determined to pull its waterfront back from marginal use and neglect into the mainstream of public activity and private investment. Today, everyone recognizes the value of public access to the waterfronts. A renewed waterfront offers investors a promising return on capital. Cities enjoy increased tourism, employment and growth. Residents gain new recreation opportunities and an expanded awareness of the natural aspects of river life.

Most importantly, a vital and vibrant waterfront serves to unite residents and visitors in a shared experience of Pittsburgh, just as the public commons and main street did a century ago. It is in that daily exchange of ideas and points of view that a city finds the energy and desire to continually improve and remake itself.

Tom Murphy, Mayor
City of Pittsburgh



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Riverfront Development Principles

Insist on interconnected, linear waterfront development with broad public access by:

  • Encouraging the use of the riverfront greenway as a daily commuter path and recreational amenity.
  • Demonstrating the connection between access, greenway development and market demand.
  • Creating a coherent, visually pleasing order to the waters edge.

Create synergy between office, retail, residential and recreational use of key waterfront sites by:

  • Selecting the most imaginative development concepts and architectural designs.
  • Establishing the riverfront as a front door to the city.
  • Enhancing real value and competitive market advantages for private developers.

Protect and enhance the natural riverfront environment by:

  • Documenting the ecological state of our riverfronts in order to preserve this environmentally diverse natural habitat.
  • Preventing and, where possible, eliminating inappropriate uses and practices from the rivers edge.
  • Protecting existing natural areas from development.

Reclaim Pittsburghs identity as one of the worlds great river cities by:

  • Raising public expectations of what the citys riverfront offers.
  • Attracting people, investment and the best aspects of urban living to the waterfront.


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