Project 19/65

PROJECT 19/65 (

Manchester Reunited: Reconnecting Manchester to The River and The Region


Since the dawn of the civil rights era, Manchester has had strong community leadership that continues today. In recent years, Manchester completed a comprehensive and tactical planning that position it to redevelop with equity at its foundation. Essential to the success and future strength of those efforts is the equitable and multimodal reconnection of the Manchester and Chateau neighborhoods across the Pennsylvania State Route 65(PA-65) corridor. To advance this critical project, the City of Pittsburgh (COP) and Manchester Citizens Corporation (MCC) request a grant from the Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) program to support an initial feasibility study and alternatives analysis. This project will focus on ways to functionally reunite Manchester and Chateau while ensuring the safety and connectivity of all PA-65 corridor users.

Manchester is a majority Black neighborhood in Pittsburgh and home to a rich history of Victorian architecture, productive riverfronts, and community organizing. When urban renewal threatened it in the mid-twentieth century, Black residents banded together to fight large-scale, modern development blocks. While some housing was saved, the neighborhood’s business districts and continuous street grid were lost to a combination of government demolition, riots, and the construction of PA-65. Manchester had been one community as far back as1843 but, as a result of this new highway, it was divided in two, with the land west of PA-65 named Chateau.

PA-65 began construction in 1960. The highway was built on a viaduct that stands as tall as 40 feet above the surrounding streets and only has two openings for east-west travel between the two neighborhoods. Parallel to the highway itself is a pair of one-way streets that range from two to four lanes wide; together, these roads create a 275-foot distance from sidewalk to sidewalk. Utilizing this corridor is unsafe for all modes given current conditions.

Community-driven planning efforts in the Manchester and Chateau neighborhoods have focused on ways to reunite the neighborhoods. Both the city-adopted 2019 Manchester-Chateau Neighborhood Plan and the 2021 Manchester (Re)united Transit Revitalization Investment District study explicitly call for lowering the road to reestablish a unified neighborhood and connected street network. In 2020, an EPA Greening America’s Communities grant helped COP and MCC identify mid-term improvements to key connections in Manchester and Chateau. And in 2021, Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT) released a long-range plan identifying the corridor of PA-65 and parallel surface streets for future rapid transit service.

This RCP grant will allow COP, MCC, and their many local partners to begin a data- and community-driven exploration of how the PA-65 corridor in Manchester could better serve the people that surround it. While neighborhood residents have a desired outcome, we must take an unbiased approach to this exploratory process. There are many operational, structural, budgetary, and political conditions – both local and regional – that are critical considerations in developing alternatives. As such, the initial feasibility study and alternatives analysis completed with RCP support will take a neutral approach to planning outcomes in the corridor.

This planning process will allow government and community-based project stakeholders to understand what could be changed to improve east-west access in Manchester and Chateau, what costs and benefits are associated with various approaches to resolving current access challenges, and which approaches best meet the goals of all interested parties. COP and MCC seek to use this process to position priority alternatives for the project development process.

Manchester is home to 2,864 residents; Chateau adds just 7 more for a total of 2,871 people living in the community.[1] The data show 75% of residents are people of color and that population is overwhelmingly Black (71% of residents).[2] The median age is 34 years old, comparable to the citywide median of 33,[3] and the median household income (MHI) is $40,323, which is below Pittsburgh’s MHI of $50, 536.[4] The population today is notably different than it was prior to urban renewal efforts and the construction of PA-65, with a shift from a majority white to a majority non-white population between the years 1950 and 1970 as business districts crumbled and the remaining uses were separated.

PA-65 stretches 51 miles from its southern terminus at I-279N to the City of New Castle. Throughout its long length, PA-65 is only a limited access highway for the section located in Pittsburgh (approximately three miles).Accordingly, the federal function class for PA-65 from I-279N to the McKees Rocks Bridge is “Other Freeways and Expressways” and from the bridge north, it is “Other Principal Arterial Highways.” According to PA Department of Transportation data, the annual average daily traffic on PA-65 within the City of Pittsburgh ranges from 7,619 to 13,283 vehicles in a 24-hour period, depending on the segment.[5]

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Manchester Citizens Corporation
1319 Allegheny Avenue, 1st Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15233

Phone: (412)-323-1743
Fax: (412)-322- 6448