412 Fresh-ish: 4 Things Pittsburgh Should Work On

Pittsburgh makes list after list and it’s awesome to see the city get so much shine. Pittsburgh is affordable, the food scene is enough to make my wallet cry, and for the most part the people are nice. With all great things though does come downfalls. Pittsburgh has some areas it can improve on.

Pittsburgh’s public transportation leaves little to be desired.

412 Fresh-ish: 4 Things Pittsburgh Should Work On

I didn’t get my license until I was 23. I grew agitated with waiting for a bus to show up on time. Pittsburgh is really into this bus thing and unless you live near a busway or downtown, you’ll most likely end up catching a bus somewhere to catch another bus. To eliminate that first bus and to put my fate in my own hands, I purchased a car and now park and ride. Pittsburgh is working on a bus rapid transit systemand that’s okay but I’m still in awe at Pittsburgh’s disinterest in expanding the light rail system. Apparently, it would cost billions to expand the T as a BRT is more in the millions. The T goes over traffic as buses sit in traffic for forever and cost money when they mess up the roads but hey! No one’s counting. The transit system itself has gotten better. We don’t use paper bus passes anymore and there are whispers of maybe expanding a busway.

Someone killed Pittsburgh’s nightlife.

412 Fresh-ish: 4 Things Pittsburgh Should Work On

Whoever killed Pittsburgh’s nightlife really needs to do some time. Once upon a time, I could count on two hands the amount of dancefloors Pittsburgh had. Now you’re lucky to discover five spots with a dancefloor. Maybe, I’ve gotten older and like Trix Cereal, the Pittsburgh nightlife has become boring or maybe a whole lot of nightclubs disappeared and now we show up at the ones that are left because we have no choice! I’ve partied a bit of everywhere and it’s obvious Pittsburgh is not interested in making anybody’s list for nightlife.

Pittsburgh still has dinosaur like liquor laws.

412 Fresh-ish: 4 Things Pittsburgh Should Work On

I’m not certain what prohibition was like but I feel their pain. When I lived in New York on occasion, I would stop at the corner store near my house and grab a bottle of sangria to share with my roommate. When I was in Vegas, I’d stop at gas station for wine. Pittsburgh is in Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania is in the dark ages when it comes to liquor laws. We’ve gotten better as you can now buy beer and some wines from gas stations and grocery stores, but if you want liquor you have to go to the actual liquor store. I can’t Postmate drinks to me (but Chic Fil A will suffice). Explaining this to visitors is always fun especially if it’s midnight and all the liquor stores are closed or better yet a Sunday night. Don’t even get me started on all the cool beverages Pennsylvania doesn’t sell (See Buzzball). PA liquor laws are the equivalent of a cash only bar at a wedding. Cheers to that!

Pittsburgh has a ton of luxury housing!

412 Fresh-ish: 4 Things Pittsburgh Should Work On

You’re probably all, “what’s wrong with that? Luxury housing is nice.” It’s nice-ish! Pittsburgh has so much luxury housing that people are negotiating the rent to move in because a lot of these luxury dwellings are empty. It might have something to do with the lack of luxury salaries. The second issue with all this new luxury housing is that it’s pushing people without luxury salaries out of the neighborhood. The pattern seems to go: build luxury housing with the maybe promise of mixed income housing, rebrand neighborhood, change mind about mixed income thing, and displace people from original neighborhood disregarding the fact that the original people from said neighborhood are the heart and soul of said neighborhood (See: Lawrenceville and East Liberty).
Pittsburgh is on millennials’ radar but Pittsburgh isn’t exactly their first choice. Yes, the affordability will make you feel spoiled after going elsewhere. Yes, there’s marketing enticing Californians to come to Pittsburgh for tech jobs. My $1100 Queens’ rent was insanity but in return, I got culture, nightlife, and amazing public transportation. As Dallas was cheap but wasn’t great public transportation. Denver really has this public transportation thing figured out but that’s neither here or there. Pittsburgh is rebranding itself from being a Steel City to a cultural and tech forward city but it has to be careful as that freshness could sour quickly if taken in the wrong direction.

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