Boy oh boy have we got ugly

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .

Walking through Bloomfield’s business district on Liberty Avenue this morning, Dave Feehan, the new interim director of the Bloomfield Development Corp. pointed out all the things that are right with the retail corridor and the myriad things that need to be righted.
Anyone who knows Bloomfield knows what’s right: The neighborhood’s DNA is righteous, its mix of businesses, compared to most retail corridors, is enviable, and it has great bones.
But as we walked, noting vacant storefronts, harsh stone aggregate facades, big cheesy signs and plastic panels that enough people in the '60s and '70s thought looked better than turn-of-the-century brick, so it caught on. 
Bloomfield is one of the city’s great ‘hoods but it is plagued like so much of our tahn by busted up curbs and sidewalks, cigarette butts and other trash  and graffiti on prominent buildings, mail boxes, electrical boxes and the sides of bus shelters.
The bus shelter in the photo at the top, at Liberty and Ella, is covered with graffiti, and the sidewalk in front of it, shown at right, is just one low point of buttmany.
Not to pick on Bloomfield. We see this everywhere. Is this a Pittsburgh thing? While we revel in our growing glowing reputation on the national radar, is this the look we want? It's definitely the look we have, and visitors notice even if we've become inured to it. 
Really? Trashy sidewalks, hideous signage, hideous facades, tacky, torn awnings?  Why do we have so many people who perpetrate this crap? And why do the rest of us tolerate it? 
“It’s the one area where Pittsburgh is behind other cities,” said Dave, who for the past few months has served as interim director of the Bloomfield Development Corp. He has an interesting ribbon of Pittsburgh running through his life and career.
Read more about him in an upcoming feature in the P-G.

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