Brookline Boulevard on January 17, 2013,
one month before the start of the long-awaited reconstruction project.
The sequence of photos below
shows the progress of the Brookline Boulevard reconstruction project from the time
it began in February 2013 through the end of September 2013.
images for larger pictures
Introduction February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013
June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013
Brookline Boulevard Reconstruction Photos
(October 2013 - July 2014)
It's Been A Long Time Coming
With the exception of changes to the storefronts
and the occasional repaving of the street surface, the look of Brookline Boulevard has
remained essentially the same since 1966, when the trolley tracks that dissected the
roadway were covered over or removed. The four-lane boulevard went nearly fifty years
without any major improvements.
At the dawn of the 21st Century, efforts
were launched that would one day transform Brookline Boulevard into a modern
thorofare. Design plans were introduced in the Spring of 2000 and federal funding
was obtained by then-District 4 councilman Michael Diven.
Hopes were high among community advocates
for a major multi-million dollar reconstruction of Brookline Boulevard, which is
traveled daily by over 4000 vehicles and hundreds of pedestrians. Despite their
enthusiasm, the project never developed beyond the initial planning phases
and sat in a state of political limbo for several years.
Sketches of the Pioneer Avenue/Brookline Boulevard
intersection both before (left) and after planned reconstruction.
In late-2008, the South Pittsburgh Development
Corporation, the Brookline Chamber of Commerce and the Brookline Area Community Council
came forward in a joint effort to resurrect the project. With help from State Senator
Wayne Fontana, State Representative Chelsa Wagner, and Pat Hassett of the City of
Pittsburgh, the long-stalled initiative gained momentum.
An open meeting was held on May 5, 2009,
where the residents and business owners of Brookline, had the opportunity to express
their thoughts on the new Brookline Boulevard design plans. Subsequent meetings with
the City of Pittsburgh, the Maguire Group, and Baker Corporation got the project back
Sketches of the view from Stebbins Avenue, looking
towards Flatbush, both before (left) and after planned reconstruction.
After design plans were resubmitted, the
project would consist of improvements to a 1/2 mile section of Brookline Boulevard,
from Pioneer Avenue to Starkamp Street. The proposed improvements would include the
- Geometric improvements to the intersection of Brookline Boulevard and Pioneer Avenue.
- New curbs and sidewalks on both the residential and business side.
- Intersection improvements including bumpouts, new curb ramps, and new traffic signals.
- Mill and overlay of existing roadway pavement.
- New signing and pavement markings.
- New street lighting, parking meters and drainage inlets.
- New landscaping and streetscape.
- Conversion of parking on Chelton Avenue from angled to parallel.
The $5.35 million funding was in place by the
Fall of 2011, and the The final design plans were approved in the Spring of 2012.
Groundbreaking was in late-February of 2013. It was originally estimated that the
entire reconstruction effort would be complete in one construction season.
Baker Corporation was selected to engineer the project.
Facchiano Construction was awarded the construction contract, and Lindy Paving was later
selected to do the road resurfacing when the many infrastructure improvements were
This sign, posted near the Brookline wall
on the Boulevard loop,
announced the start of the construction project.
Construction work began on February 25, 2013.
Engineers encountered several stumbling blocks along the way, causing delays in
the pavement scheduling. Facchiano fell behind in the timetable, and by September
were still working on the sidewalks, sewers and lights between Flatbush and
Adjustments in the pavement construction
process had put the project back on the fast track. Most of the sidewalks and infrastructure
would completed before the onset of winter, but the street work would have to be
put off until the following year. The paving of the rapidly deteriorating boulevard
road surface was now scheduled for May of 2014.
On February 25, 2013, the barricades
went up for the first time in the long-awaited boulevard reconstruction project.
The first section to be worked on was the 500 block, beginning in front of the CVS
Pharmacy at Pioneer Avenue.
The sidewalks, pavement and trees were
removed. New underground electric was installed and the sewers were upgraded.
This required coordination with the various utility companys.
Aside from the many challenges to be
encountered along the way from an engineering perspective, perhaps the biggest
challenge was to maintain the free flow of customer traffic to and from the various
merchants whose businesses were in the path of the construction zone.
The result was a labyrinth of wooden plank
walkways that extended from the roadway to the business entrances. As construction
proceeded, this maze of walkways was constantly being altered. But despite the
difficulties and continual adjustments, these makeshift walkways served their
purpose and, provided access to the boulevard businesses.
The pedestrian walkway itself was moved
out onto the former street surface, which was narrowed to one lane. The sidewalk
was a path between the jersey barrier and the construction fencing.
While vehicles and pedestrians passed
by on their daily travels, the Facchiano Construction crews set about their
task of transforming Brookline Boulevard.
The view on February 25 looking from Pioneer
Avenue along the construction fencing outside the CVS Pharmacy.
The new pedestrian walkway was between the
jersey barrier and the fence.
Old granite curb slabs are piled in front
of the American Legion Hall. The slabs are over 100 years old. The belgium
blocks that formed many of Brookline's streets were chiseled by
hand on location from large slabs like these.
The first sidewalk to be demolished. There
was plenty of sidewalk demolition to come in the seventeen months.
Work along the business side of
the 500 and 600 block of the boulevard continued, eventually stretching
the entire length from Pioneer Avenue to Castlegate. Crews also began
work on the 800 block, from near the Flatbush Avenue intersection to
The maze of wooden walkways
that led to the doors of the various businesses was in daily movement as
the construction moved along the block. This caused some confusion among
store visitors, wondering which path to take on any given day.
The project engineers also ran
into some difficulties with the abundant underground store vaults. This
led to delays in the construction timetable.
Most boulevard businesses on
the low side of the street at one time had service chutes that led
from an opening on the sidewalk down to basement storage rooms. Over
the years, many of these were removed and paved over.
Under the sidewalk, however,
the entranceways to the basements were often just boarded over or
haphazardly sealed off. When the engineers were removing the sidewalks
they found several of these vault openings that needed to be shored
up properly before their work could proceed. The resulting delays
While the project continued
along the low side, work was begun on the residential side of the
boulevard. Utility lines needed to be replaced before the actual
reconstruction work began.
Looking down the main street from above
the intersection of Brookline Boulevard and Pioneer Avenue.
Wooden bridges were built in front
of each business and the walkway was moved out into the street.
The labyrinth of wooden walkways was
in constant motion as construction moved along the boulevard.
The sign says "Sidewalk Closed -> Used
Walkway" and another busy day along Brookline Boulevard.
The rows of parking meters and green
utility poles would be removed during construction. New digital parking
meters would be installed and the light poles were replaced
with decorative black street lights.
A shopper makes her way down the temporary
sidewalk and a row of bridges await consumers on the other side of
While work proceeded on the business
side or the street, utility lines were replaced along the residential
Facchiano Construction did there best
to provide access to boulevard merchants during the construction
Traffic flows through a construction
bottleneck along Brookline Boulevard on March 21, 2013.
The instersection with Stebbins Avenue
and the maze of wooden walkways along the 800 block.
Reaching a dead end on the wooden planks
and a detour sign for pedestrians trying to get from here to
Working outside the CVS Pharmacy and
"No Man's Land" between the wooden walkway and the street along the 500
While work proceeded in the two
construction zones while the project engineers struggled with the many
unforeseen challenges. While Facchiano had their hands full overcoming
these issues, other problems caused consternation among motorists.
Potholes began to form along the
roadway due to the change in the weather and the rising traffic in heavy
construction vehicles. City crews did their best to keep up with the rising
number of 311 complaints, but despite their best efforts, the roadway
continued to deteriorate.
Although it was still early in
the project, after a month of disruptions, irritation was on the rise
among motorists, pedestrians, customers and merchants. Signs were placed
along the fences by the Chamber of Commerce urging patience and support
during the construction period.
Public Works crews patching potholes
at the intersection of Brookline Boulevard and Glenarm Avenue.
There would be a lot of potholes to patch over the next several
Two views of the boardwalk along the
800 block of Brookline Boulevard across from Flatbush Avenue.
Motorists and construction vehicles move
along the boulevard while curbs are being formed outside Kribel's Bakery.
Patience. Our Community Is Being
Remodeled. Small Businesses Are Open For You.
The construction period would be hard on business owners and residents
The month of May saw some positive
changes. The new curbs and sewers were in place along the two sections
of the boulevard presently being worked on. The first sidewalk paving began
outside the CVS Pharmacy at Pioneer. By the end of the month, there were new
sidewalks installed all along the current construction zone.
Pedestrians and customers still had
to navigate along the jersey barriers and through the fencing surrounding
the construction area, but the labyrinth of wooden planking was removed and
there was a clear path of freshly laid concrete in front of the
Despite the ongoing construction,
the annual Memorial Day Parade was held on Monday, May 27. Facchiano and
the Public Works Department did a marvelous job clearing out the work
zone so that the parade procession and the crowd of patriotic onlookers
could pass along the boulevard without interference. The following day it
was back to business as usual.
The new concrete curbing is in place along
the 800 block of Brookline Boulevard.
The curbs will extend two feet under the normal street surface.
PNC Bank and Antonio's Pizzeria were
ready to serve the banking and culinary needs of the Brookline community.
The intersection of Flatbush Avenue (left)
and Wedgemere Avenue. The new curb bump outs at crosswalks
would be a new feature on Brookline Boulevard, designed with pedestrian
safety in mind.
The construction zone along the 500 block of
the boulevard a view towards the Pioneer Avenue intersection.
The fresh concrete being smoothed over on
the first of the new sidewalks in front of the CVS Pharmacy.
It was still quite early in the game but
it felt good to see that first sidewalk being put in place. The sewer grate
and the newly constructed curbing along the 500 block were
more signs of good things to come.
Work continues in front of the PNC Bank
and a busy afternoon along Brookline Boulevard.
The new curb along Stebbins Avenue, from the
boulevard to the alley, and utility line work at Chelton and Queensboro.
Looking towards Pioneer Avenue from the walkway
in front of the Brookline Medicine Shoppe.
The new sidewalk along the 800 block between
Stebbins and Flatbush is looking nice.
The space in front of the cannon was turned
into a temporaty staging area. Soon the crews would begin working here.
The brown granulated sections provide a nice contrast to the concrete sidewalks,
but they are rather slippery when wet.
Heading towards the red awning and Antonio's
Pizzeria for a warm slice of pie with cold cheese on top. While waiting
for the order, it's often interesting to just sit and watch life
pass by outside the window.
A long view of the new sidewalk from Flatbush
to Stebbins. There's still a lot to do, but it's looking better every day.
Looking along the sidewalk from near the Post
Office railing towards Pioneer Avenue. Fresh sections of concrete
have been laid in front of the buildings near the Moonlite Cafe.
The sign should say "Welcome To Brookline.
Enter At Your Own Risk." These were wild and crazy times for pedestrians
and motorists. Markings were painted along the temporary walkway
showing which fence opening led to which store.
The Stars and Stripes flutter in front of the
Post Office and Kribel's Bakery is open for business. Kribel's has been
in operation on the boulevard since the 1940s. To the right is a
view from Stebbins towards Flatbush.
The Memorial Day Parade
- May 27, 2013
The boulevard on May 26, the day before
the annual Memorial Day Parade. The roadway had seen better days.
Facchiano Construction and the Pittsburgh Public Works crews did their
best to clean it up for the big day.
Vintage U.S. Army vehicles stand across
from the Veteran's Memorial and the Stars and Stripes were everywhere.
The parade procession passes Glenarm Avenue
(left) and Flatbush Avenue on its way towards Mount Lebanon.
Cub Scouts from Resurrection Pack #601 and
a view from Castlegate Avenue towards Pioneer Avenue. The crowd of
onlookers gradually increased as the procession moved towards Pioneer.
There was a lot of apprehension
about how the construction would impact the parade, but everything went
Work in the first two construction
zones was winding down. The sidewalks were now almost completely in place
and by the end of June the first of the new digital parking meters were
installed. The old utility poles were left in place temporarily and new
bases were installed to support the new poles when they arrived.
The fencing was taken down along
the completed sections and work moved to the 900 block, from Stebbins Avenue
to Queensboro Avenue. Having learned many valuable lessons over the past
couple months, construction on the 900 block went much smoother.
The labyrinth of wooden planking
was put in place to provide access to business customers, but the disruption
was minimal as work moved at a much quicker pace.
Also, work was beginning in earnest
on the residential side of the boulevard. Work on the utility lines was
completed and construction work commenced on the sidewalks from Wedgemere
Avenue to the intersection with Castlegate Avenue.
The intersection of Queensboro Avenue and
Chelton Avenue on June 6. Work had begun on the 900 block.
Jersey barriers, fences and wooden walkways
were installed along the 900 block of Brookline Boulevard.
After learning lessons in the previous two
construction zones, work on the 900 block went much quicker.
Rather than remove up the entire sidewalk at the beginning, it was taken
apart in sections.
While the tradesmen worked on, traffic flowed along the boulevard as
A view of the boulevard looking down from a
front porch near Flatbush Avenue.
Workers were constantly moving cones as the work
shifted from one location to another.
Two excavators sit idle outside Scoops On The
Boulevard after the day's work was over, and a view of
the nearly completed 500 block and one of the new digital parking meters.
Sections of the old sidewalk have been removed
outside of Hair By Conroy, and a view looking from Queensboro Avenue.
Forming the wall at the corner of Queensboro
Avenue, and a view of the small boulevard section of Chelton Avenue.
Taking a stroll on the temporary walkway along
the 900 block near the cannon.
Two of the store vaults that needed to be
shored up outside Armond's Frame Shop and A-Boss Opticians.
Repairing the many loading chutes caused delays in the construction
A view along the 900 block construction zone and
a view along the boulevard on June 10.
Working on the utility lines at the Flatbush
Avenue intersection and a view from inside of Cannon Coffee.
The intersection of Brookline Boulevard and Pioneer
Avenue. The engineers are sampling the road subase condition.
Work will soon begin from Wedgemere to Castlegate.
Tearing up the old sidewalk along Stebbins Avenue.
A PAT bus passes the staging area at the
cannon and a crew puts the asphalt coating over the completed utility line.
The western end and eastern end of the commercial
side of the boulevard on June 24.
Pouring the concrete for the sidewalk outside
Armond's Frame Shop.
Breaking up the remaining old sidewalk on the
900 block, and the old store vault outside Fox's Pizza.
Workers replace the belgian block on Flatbush
Avenue and a tree that will be removed to install the new sidewalk.
The gentleman sitting on the steps in the righthand photo was one of the
Looking towards the intersection with
Wedgemere Avenue and pumper truck of Brookline's Engine Company #26.
Facchiano Construction spent the
entire month of July working along the 900 block of Brookline boulevard.
The dog days of summer were upon them and temperatures soared into the
90s. By the end of the month most of the sidewalks were in place, the
sewers and electrical lines installed, and work was under way on the
curb bump out at Stebbins Avenue.
While crews toiled on the business
side of the boulevard, work was also moving along on the other side of the
road. The new concrete sidewalk, stretching from Wedgemere Avenue to the
Castlegate Avenue intersection, was completed. The results were
As the month drew to a close,
construction crews began working on Brookline's Triangle Park, home
to the Veteran's Memorial and the Cannon. There was still much to do,
but Brookliners could now see some of the benefits of the
Looking towards the intersection with
Sidewalk construction along the 900 block
New sidewalk on the Chelton Avenue side
of the cannon and a look down Queensboro Avenue.
New curbing and sewers along the 900
block in front of Chuong's Cleaners (left) and Mazza Pavilion.
New curbs, sewers and utility pole supports
at the bus stop across from Stebbins Avenue.
The corner of Wedgemere Avenue and a
view looking east along the new walkway.
Replacing a utility line to Scoops on
the Boulevard and one of the new mounting brackets for the light poles.
A manhole cover slated to be replaced (left)
and the new sewer lid outside of Fox's Pizza at the corner of Stebbins Avenue.
The curb bump out under construction across
from Glenarm Avenue.
A fire hydrant stands tall and new
vault covers along the completed sidewalk.
The concrete form of a new sewer and
sidewalk work on the elevated portion near Queensboro Avenue.
A view along Chelton Avenue and street
demolition outside the Veteran's Memorial Park.
Brookline's Veteran's Memorial Park has
been a community gathering place since 1934, when the park was dedicated.
The park is the site of the Veteran's Memorial and Brookline's iconic
A utility pole support and construction
work at the Veteran's Memorial Park.
M.A. Facchiano Contracting was the
primary contractor for the reconstruction project.
Work in progress along the 900 block
of Brookline Boulevard.
August saw the installation of many
of the new black utility poles along the completed sections of the boulevard.
A lot of people wondered about the size of the huge poles, which would hold
the traffic lights and street signage.
The poles looked like something more
appropriate for an interstate highway rather than a neighborhood main street.
It was going to take some time to get used to them. Not only were they large,
but they also jutted far out above the roadway, forever altering the wide-open
feeling of the boulevard.
Construction continued on the
900 block, where the curb bumpouts were completed, and at the triangle park
that stood between Queensboro Avenue, Chelton Avenue and the boulevard.
Crews also began to tackle the one remaining section on the business
side of the boulevard, along the 700 block between Castlegate Avenue
and the Flatbush Avenue intersection.
Sidewalk work also commenced on the
residential side from Pioneer Avenue to Wedgemere. Plans called for
eliminating the small transit island that had stood for years at Pioneer
and the boulevard. The sidewalk would be widened, with the creation of a
small landscaped area with benches and a few shade trees.
On August 9, Brookline Park was host to
the 32nd annual Brookline Breeze 5K Fitness Run/Walk. The route of the race went straight through
the heart of the construction zone. Once again, Facchiano and the Pittsburgh
Public Works Department did a fantastic job clearing the work area so
the 700 runners and walkers could pass through safely.
The small island and transit stop at
Pioneer Avenue and Brookline Boulevard would be removed during
The curb bump out at Stebbins Avenue
and the new sidewalk in front of Mazza Pavilion.
The construction fencing is coming
down along the 900 block near the Chelton Avenue cutoff.
The cannon is beginning to look like
it is sitting in a war zone while crews work along Queensboro
The Veteran's Memorial Park has been
turned into a construction zone.
The old sidewalks have been removed
from around the small triangle-shaped park.
From Queensboro Avenue (left) to
Stebbins Avenue, the sidewalks are complete along the 900 block.
An unfinished section of the curb bump
out near PNC Bank (left) and clearing debris from the finished 900 block.
Installing one of the black utility poles
at the corner of Brookline Boulevard and Queensboro Avenue.
The crane operator had to delicately
position the big poles on their supports. Sidewalk
demolition begins in front of the Carnegie Library on the 700 block.
The transit shelter has been removed and
sidewalk work is beginning at Pioneer Avenue. The new sidewalk
would extend much farther out than the before and there would be a
small landscaped area with benches.
The old sidewalks have been removed
from Pioneer Avenue to Wedgemere Avenue.
Cars pass by alongside the temporary pedestrian
walkway between Wedgemere Avenue and Pioneer Avenue, near the Sunoco.
The sign says "All Traffic Must Turn Right"
and the wooden walkways bridging the trench in front of the residential homes.
The new sidewalk from Wedgemere to Castlegate
Avenue. Work is beginning on the business side at the corner of Castlegate.
The vaults outside Party Cake Bakery and an
excavator stands outside the Carnegie Library.
Pedestians walk along the temporary sidewalk
outside the 700 block of Brookline Boulevard.
An old tree stump awaits removal and a view
towards the Flatbush Avenue intersection.
A shopper using the new digital parking meter
and a view from Mazza Pavilion towards the Glenarm Avenue intersection.
The curb bumpout at Glenarm Avenue and
work continues at the Veteran's Memorial Park.
A lone scarecrow protects the crab grass and
weeds growing in the planter outside the CVS Pharmacy.
The first section of sidewalk is in place
outside the cannon.
A sign instructs shoppers how to use the
new parking meters and a view of the cannon from Queensboro Avenue.
Some of the heavy equipment that became
commonplace along the boulevard and the vault outside South Hills Printing.
Work proceeded in the three main
construction zones at the Cannon, Pioneer Avenue and along the 700 block.
By now, the project was moving along at a rapid pace, but there was still
much left to do. Seven months had passed since the start of the project. Another
ten months would pass before the reconstruction of Brookline Boulevard
would be complete. It was a long ten months.
A crew is working outside Party Cake
Bakery and the Carnegie Library along the 700 block.
Lunch break for the weary workers. Sal
Bondi stands outside his family business, Sal's Barber Shop.
Working in the utility trench along
the 700 block.
The implements of the construction trade
and workers toil outside the District Justice's office.
A large utility pole extends above
the 700 block construction zone.
The shovel, probably the most important
tool in the construction workers arsenal. A roll of heavy duty conduit.
The tower of the firehouse stands tall
while new sidewalk goes in place in front of South Hills Printing.
Brookline Boulevard Reconstruction Photos
(October 2013 - July 2014)