Mt Lebanon Pittsburgh Neighborhood Washington Rd

#30 Mt. Lebanon

Pittsburgh’s Best Neighborhoods

Mt. Lebanon Pittsburgh Map
Mt. Lebanon is the heart and soul of Pittsburgh’s “South Hills.”

Mt. Lebanon Neighborhood Description

Mt. Lebanon is the best of Pittsburgh’s more suburban municipalities. For those who grow up in the Pittsburgh metro, Mt. Lebanon has the general distinction of being a coveted location that locals aspire to live in. Perhaps because it’s chalk-a-block with mansions and rolling acres of upper-income households; or perhaps because it’s a classic streetcar suburb (even to this day), Mt. Lebanon has notes of historic Pittsburgh development patterns spiced with an emerging suburban development dynamic that continues, erroneously or not, to call to the natives as an escape from the overcrowded river bottoms. The trouble with Mt. Lebanon’s reputation is now the overcrowded river bottoms are the best part of the metro and inner ring suburbs like Mt. Lebo find themselves in the precarious emotional condition of separating historic pride from contemporary realities. Whereby once Mt. Lebo was a dream destination, the market has shifted away from inner ring suburbs and back to the inner city. Classic neighborhood centers matter, and Mt. Lebo has them. Urban character matters, and Mt. Lebo has it. Nevertheless, Mt. Lebo is less than. It’s a cheaper version than Pittsburgh proper. It’s the difference between Nordstrom’s and Macy’s. Target and Walmart. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. The lesser product is perfectly serviceable, but everyone knows Pittsburgh proper is Lebo’s superior.

Neighborhood Ranking Criteria

A Front Door

Mt. Lebanon has no dominant front door. If approaching the borough from north of the rivers, you’ll likely be taking Banksville Road, which is a strip mall strewn man-made disaster zone just after navigating the Fort Pitt Tunnel. Thus, as far as front doors to the suburbs go, Banksville Road is an appropriate marker that you’re transitioning into a more suburban neighborhood.

An Identifiable Center

Mt Lebanon Pittsburgh Neighborhood Beverly Road
Beverly St. is a traditional neighborhood center that doesn’t get enough credit as far as neighborhood centers go around Pittsburgh, but it can compete with the best of them.
Lebo Homes for Sale
Washington Rd. is Mount Lebanon’s primary neighborhood center.

Mt. Lebanon has two distinguishable centers – Washington Road (the image atop this post), and Beverly Street (above). Washington Road being the dominant neighborhood center and Beverly being its little sister. There’s also a lame Galleria with few shopping choices and several clustered restaurants, which one could argue is a third center. I am not that one, however.    


Aside from its legal description on paper, Mt. Lebanon’s boundaries are nonexistent. Neighborhoods and commercial areas and other munies blend into Mt. Lebo with no distinguishable character changes. One has no idea whether you’re in Mt. Lebo, Castle Shannon, or Brookside, or whatever, which is a testament to the turf-centric nature of PA inter-municipal politics. Some proper gateway signage would serve Lebo well and help better establish a sense of place distinguishable from its neighbors.


Mt Lebanon Pittsburgh Neighborhood Residential
Density around Mt. Lebanon increases around neighborhood centers.

Lebo is one of the largest neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Parts are low density with rolling greens and opulent mansions. Parts were constructed for middle/upper income households with relatively larger homes on larger properties. Parts were constructed for the blue-collar worker with tightly packed single-family housing, many with slim garages and narrow properties. And the neighborhood centers have plenty of multi-family apartments and condos to choose from. Therefore, whatever your density preference, Mt. Lebo can accommodate.

Detached Sidewalks and Street Trees

Mt. Lebanon has sidewalks throughout, which is something to brag about. Lots of streets have detached sidewalks. Top marks. Mt. Lebanon does fairly well in the street tree department, as well. There are many well-manicured streets with uniform trees.         

Diverse Architecture and Buildings That Address the Street

Mt Lebanon Pittsburgh Neighborhood Beverly Rd
More than just post WWII bungalows, Mt. Lebanon has an architecturally diverse supply of homes.
Mt Lebanon Pittsburgh Neighborhood Addressing the Street
These balconies do a great job of keeping eyes on the street.

Leb’s architecture is as diverse as about 1946 onward. It’s not bad, but it’s no Flatiron Building. It’s a post WWII development mentality that manages to preserve a Pittsburgh flavor. Leb’s is an above average Pittsburgh neighborhood, and by above average, I mean about 51st percentile. Mt. Lebanon was developed as a streetcar suburb and maintains a street facing urban design dynamic.

Mixed Land Uses

Let’s just say Mt. Lebo is still beholden to a Euclidian development code, which is a different way of saying Lebs has some room for improvement. It’s tricky, though, because Mt. Lebanon has a few critical intersections that are high density and mixed use – elements that place Lebs on the right side of dope. Additionally, cutting the T light rail line through Lebs took a degree of courage. Light rail is not cheap. But for every $20-ish million per track mile, multipliers in transit oriented developments are created, a hip factor that can only be bought in track miles, and a feeling of security that you just made a sound investment into your future.

Street Energy

Mt Lebanon Pittsburgh Neighborhood Washington Road
Not a lot of action on Washington Rd. during a warm Saturday afternoon.

There is street energy in Mt. Lebo so far as there is street energy in all Pittsburgh inner ring suburbs. Like the rest of Pittsburgh, Lebo is a daytime hours sort of town. Places in the metro tend to close around 5:00 PM, be they in Lebs or Pitt proper or wherever. It’s a cultural thing, and Mt. Lebanon is no exception.

Streets That Generally Connect

Being a streetcar suburb, Mt. Lebs does well with streets connecting. There are no gratuitous cul-de-sacs or lazy dead-ends. A cultural trait of metro Pittsburgh, alongside drop ceilings and faux wood paneling, we are dogged around insisting that all streets connect despite topography. Lebs is an inner-ring suburb that should, according to the textbooks, be in love with cul-de-sacs and random dead-ends. Instead, to their credit, Mt. Lebanon has minimized said liabilities and chose instead to dismiss nonsense from the “Standard Traffic Engineer’s Code of Urban Design Crap and a Half” to pursue street connections along steep hillsides and rugged terrain.   

Transit Access

Here’s where Mt. Lebanon shines. With Pittsburgh’s light rail system serving the borough and destinations further south, Mt. Lebanon Station anchors a dense, transit-oriented development just off Washington Road in the heart of the community.


Can one live in Mt. Lebo without a car? Yes, but be close to a grocery store despite all of the grocery stores being located in less walkable parts of the city. Nevertheless, Lebo scores points for transit access and having sidewalks throughout the majority of the city. Leb’s Neighborhood centers are also dense enough to support walkability.

Opportunities for Improvement

The largest challenge with Mt. Lebanon is its Mt. Lebanon. How does an inner ring suburb become cool? In the history of urban planning, all inner ring suburbs have struggled with this question. Lebo’s willingness to support light rail, as well as recognizing the value of quality neighborhood centers sets it apart from more contemporary suburbs like Cranberry and Robinson Township. For Mt. Lebanon to stay competitive, ensuring the zoning code reflects current best practices and not the predominant thinking from 1982 is an easily overlooked fundamental that many inner-ring suburbs neglect to nurture. Mt. Lebanon has several metro competitive advantages – being seen as an exclusive suburb being one of them – but the soul of the community lies with its clusters of density and its willingness to embrace the general urban character of Pittsburgh as opposed to strip malls and big box stores that are more central to the outer ring suburbs.

*Map boundaries are an approximate and not identical to Mt. Lebanon municipal boundaries.