Meeting 3 occured on August 26, 2019 in the first new location, New Kensington, and thanks to New Ken Mayor Tom Guzzo and City Clerk Dennis Scarpiniti for welcoming their Alle-Kiski Valley colleagues.
The August 26 event was focused on the survey results and areas to preserve, enhance, transform in the Alle-Kiski valley. The group continues to reimagine the Alle-Kiski local government community! The slide presentation is available here. Check back for more news and information about the subjects covered.
You may RSVP now to attend September 23, 2019 at 6:30 at West Leechburg Fire Fireman’s Recreation Hall, 1116 Gosser St. West Leechburg, 15656. See you there!
With college students returning to campuses across the country this month, many are moving into a new dorm or have made the switch to an apartment or shared house off-campus. Many will find their choice matched their needs perfectly. Let’s consider two students at the same college who made two different choices. We’ll call them Samantha and Davis.
Samantha wants to be close to campus owing to her job at the computer lab. She also wants to be close to coffee shops, a laundromat, friends and of course, the neighborhood business district. Choices to get around, either by foot, bike, car, bus or ride-share are plentiful in this close-in neighborhood. With more choices of transportation, more choices for housing, jobs, friends and activity become possible. In this neighborhood, access to choices is much greater. It’s more difficult for her to travel very far outside of town, unless she rents a car or gets a ride from a friend. Samantha chose the ability to access lots of places close-by.
Samantha's Place may look like this.
Photo by Westmoreland County Planning
Many others will find they made a choice of mobility over access. Davis needs to make the two hour drive home on weekends to help care for his aging grandmother, so he’s able to find an apartment outside of town, by the shopping center. Since he’s removed from campus by a few miles, the bus doesn’t come when he needs to make it to class. Biking could be an option, but it isn’t very safe, especially when drivers can’t see him at night. Rideshare is available, but he can never be sure he won’t be stranded after 11 PM. He quickly finds that he needs to drive everywhere and take care of parking wherever he goes, except near the shopping center and his apartment. Davis’s need to travel farther on the weekends influenced his housing decision and traded access for mobility.
Davis's Place might look like this.
Photo by washcycle.com
In these two examples, we see how a community’s development pattern influences our future choices of transportation and vice versa. And in many ways the choices we make now, limit options down the road. This is the essential relationship between land use and transportation.
The question then, for the Alle-Kiski communities, is how do we balance access and mobility? The choices we make now, about growth and redevelopment, zoning, subdivision, land development, transportation investments and public sewer infrastructure tip that balance one way or the other. Now, we have an opportunity to describe a shared vision for areas of Preservation, Enhancement and Transformation. Creating that vision informs our decision making about the growth and redevelopment options before us. Creating that vision ensures we Preserve, Enhance and Transform the places that matter in our lives and continue to balance access and mobility in ways that are useful for our communities.
Thanks to the continued participation and dedication of municipal officials in the 11 municipalities of the Alle-Kiski area, the Alle-Kiski team is starting to take shape. With just two meetings completed, there has been solid representation from every municipality within the District. Through honest, facilitated discussion thus far, we are beginning to be able to answer the question, “Who is Team Alle-Kiski?” From this shared process, group voices are beginning to come together and the characteristics of team Alle-Kiski are starting to be teased out.
Although each municipality has its own unique and separate characteristics, many also overlap and inform the Alle-Kiski as a whole. At the July 29th meeting, we had asked municipal officials to participate in a team WIKI (“What I Know Is”) exercise where participants paired up to ask each other a series of questions. From this exercise, it is clear that Alle-Kiski team members share several of the same values, motivations, expectations of others, and limits.
The Alle-Kiski team is one that:
At the end of the meeting, compiling team statements helped to summarize what was learned about the team in the team WIKI exercise. These statements fall into four buckets: commitment to citizens, working together, ethical responsibility, and hardworking nature. Through the process of identifying team values, motivations, expectations of others, and limits, we have started to define how the Alle-Kiski team can successfully function together. As we move forward through this shared process, we will continue to tease out more values and characteristics, to fill these buckets and inform our reimagining of the Alle-Kiski region.
The second meeting of the Alle-Kiski Planning District was held on July 29, 2019, at Allegheny Township. Click here to listen to Deputy Director Brian Lawrence review the Alle-Kiski existing conditions. report. This information is important for officials in the Alle-Kiski region so that they can inform the Westmoreland County Planning Department of their concerns and priorities in regards to land use. Land use is inextricably intertwined with transportation, and the County needs municipal input to represent Alle-Kiski communities at the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission. By having a good sense of the places the region wants to preserve, enhance, or transform, efficient use of funding and overall stronger decisions can be made. At the end of the evening, the group was assigned "homework." Where are those places to preserve, enhance, or transform? What are those special places in the Alle-Kiski region? Where would you take an out-of-town guest? In this exercise, we focus on places, not just ideas! Bring your list of places to the next meeting, August 26, in New Kensington.