Pittsburgh Manchester Neighborhood Liverpool St Featured Image

#16 Manchester Neighborhood

Pittsburgh’s Best Neighborhoods

Pittsburgh Manchester Neighborhood Map
Manchester is in the center of the metro and has access to all sorts of great amenities.

Manchester Neighborhood Description

From an urban design perspective, Pittsburgh’s Manchester neighborhood should be taught in a classroom because it illustrates significant variations of theming often times seen on the very same block face. Perhaps Pittsburgh’s most ornamentally beautiful street (Liverpool) is within Manchester (cover image above and a few more below). Conversely, there are also a handful of objectively less beautiful streets within Manchester. Eras of development are on full display in Manchester. The neighborhood has a split personality between densely built townhomes and suburban single family uses. Thankfully, townhomes are the dominant trait despite the development tension of trying to transition into a more suburban product. Manchester is also one of Pittsburgh’s more underrated neighborhoods as it quietly flies beneath the radar of other neighborhoods that don’t suffer from the blight of suburban development themes. Regardless of whether you live on Liverpool Street or in a split-level rancher, if you find yourself residing in Manchester, rest assured there are about 200 lesser neighborhoods in the metro that blush in the face of Manchester’s urban assets.        

Neighborhood Ranking Criteria

A Front Door

Manchester has no front doors, no proper gateways. Neighborhood and city leaders would do well to create some proper gateways to better define its sense of place apart from Allegheny West.   

An Identifiable Center

Pittsburgh Manchester Neighborhood Field
The civic center of Manchester is a ball field adjacent to an elementary school. They’re connected via this pedestrian only public space.

Commercial activities in Manchester are limited to its boundary of Allegheny Avenue and disconnected land uses that abut the North Shore. Therefore, there is no true commercial center within Manchester. That said, Manchester Field, which is also adjacent to Pittsburgh-Manchester Elementary School, together serve as the civic center of the neighborhood.

Boundaries

Pittsburgh Manchester Neighborhood Boundary
This hard wall creates a hard boundary for the Manchester neighborhood.

Boundaries around Manchester are well defined. Highway 65 provides hard walls to the south and west (image above), below grade railroad tracks to the north, and Allegheny Avenue, the softest boundary, to the east. 

Density

Pittsburgh Manchester Neighborhood Typical Street
Two, three, and four story buildings define Manchester’s residential density.
Pittsburgh Manchester Housing
There’s a few of these monstrosities that dot Pittsburgh’s north side, this one calls Manchester home.

Manchester is a transitional neighborhood from high density townhomes to lower density single family homes. Therefore, there are pockets of high density and pockets of relatively low density. Although the more dominant font is townhomes, each street within Manchester has its own unique vibe.

Detached Sidewalks and Street Trees

Pittsburgh Manchester Neighborhood Liverpool St
Liverpool is one of Pittsburgh’s great streets.

Manchester scores well in the street tree category. Although there are many gaps in the canopy, it’s fair to say it’s a tree-lined neighborhood. Additionally, the entirety of the neighborhood provides for sidewalks.

Diverse Architecture and Buildings That Address the Street

Proper Manchester Townhomes Pittsburgh
Townhomes in Manchester…. Dope.
Pittsburgh Manchester Neighborhood Split Level Ranchers
Split level ranchers set way back from the street in Manchester…. Less dope.
Pittsburgh Manchester Neighborhood Townhomes and Split Level Ranchers
Townhomes together with split level ranchers in Manchester…. Weird.

Manchester certainly has diverse architecture, that’s for sure. But for the most part, the architecture is brick-laid, ornate, and historic.

Mixed Land Uses

Pittsburgh Manchester Neighborhood Mixed Land Uses
Old storage buildings are being rehabbed into mixed uses on Manchester’s east end.

Mixed land uses can be found along the edges of the neighborhood. For the most part, the uses are anathema to the neighborhood – storage units, a couple fast food joints, a 7-11, etc. On the upside, along Allegheny Avenue one can find numerous larger historic structures being rehabbed into mixed uses, including residential.      

Street Energy

There’s not much street energy in Manchester other than casual strollers. Don’t be fooled, however, because the neighborhood is quite walkable to neighboring commercial centers.

Streets That Generally Connect

Manchester’s streets connect well with the exception of the northern railroad boundary that forces many of them to stub off.

Transit Access

Just regular old buses serve Manchester.

Walkability

Pittsburgh Liverpool St.
Oh, Liverpool Street, keep peppering my neck with those pursed, soft, and supple front porches.

One could live in Manchester without owning a vehicle courtesy of access to Allegheny East, Allegheny Central and Allegheny West, which all provide everyday shopping and social needs.

Opportunities for Improvement

Pittsburgh Manchester Neighborhood Mixed Architecture
There is a range of architecture on Manchester’s more historic streets.

Continued rehab and conversions of historic structures within Manchester is a good strategy toward improving neighborhood health. Placemaking with gateway signage and unique streetscaping along more congested corridors is also a good idea. Short of demolishing all the old and less sightly split-level ranchers that were built and presently subtract from the neighborhood’s cool vibe, perhaps a more creative thinker can dream up a way to make them a kitschy asset and not a liability. Nothing a robust artist community couldn’t solve.