Pittsburgh Station Square Neighborhood Featured Image

#15 Station Square

Pittsburgh’s Best Neighborhoods

Pittsburgh Station Square Location Map
Station Square is the North Shore’s little brother. It even has a stadium.

Station Square Neighborhood Description

Pittsburgh’s Station Square has all sorts of positive urban assets at its disposal. Chief among them being transit access. Station Square is Pittsburgh’s best example of a transit-oriented development. Something us planners like to call TODs, and we also like to call them FUN because they’re wholistically site planned with transit as an anchor amenity. But it’s not just a light rail station that Station Square provides as a transit option, it also has the Monongahela Incline, which is the cooler and better looking sibling to light rail. The Incline opens up full access to Mount Washington from the neighborhood. Therefore, those that reside in Station Square have access to Mount Washington, downtown, and the South Side with minimal effort and no vehicle required. All told, the easy access to other high quality Pittsburgh neighborhoods provides Station Square with virtues that few other areas can compete with.

Neighborhood Ranking Criteria

A Front Door

Pittsburgh Station Square Neighborhood Gateway Sign
The gateway into Station Square is boring.

It doesn’t command respect, but Station Square’s front door is better than zero.

An Identifiable Center

Pittsburgh Station Square Neighborhood The Actually Square
This is the square in Station Square. It’s like 11:00 on a February, Monday morning when this photo was taken. I suspect its much more active during a summer evening.

The neighborhood’s identifiable center is the actual square behind the cluster of corporate restaurants, whereby revelers can mosey onto the river trail and take in the view of downtown.

Boundaries

Neighborhood boundaries are defined by the Mon River, the steep slope up to Mount Washington, and the bridges that bookend the other two sides.

Density

Pittsburgh Station Square Neighborhood Residential
Developers did a good job of maximizing housing density in the neighborhood.

All of Station Square’s housing is clumped into the large Glass House apartment complex, whereby the residents are treated to variety of easy access nightly entertainment options, among other things.

Detached Sidewalks and Street Trees

Pittsburgh Station Square Neighborhood Main Street
This is the nearest sidewalk to a detached sidewalk in Station Square.

There are only a few interior streets within the neighborhood. The sidewalks aren’t really detached but the whole of Station Square is well landscaped with a growing tree canopy.

Diverse Architecture and Buildings That Address the Street

Neighborhood architecture is fairly diverse with the historic Grand Concourse building anchoring the dynamic.

Mixed Land Uses

Station Square’s land uses are separated between commercial, residential, and hospitality but the neighborhood is so small it feels like they’re mixed.

Street Energy

Street energy in Station Square is limited to visitors seeking revelry from one of the corporate-chain hotspots.

Streets That Generally Connect

Of the three or four streets in the neighborhood, they all connect.

Transit Access

Pittsburgh Station Square Neighborhood Transit Station
This handy light rail station will take you into downtown or south bound to Mount Lebanon and Castle Shannon in just a few minutes.
Pittsburgh Station Square Neighborhood Transit the Mon Incline
The Mon Incline is the quickest way into Mount Washington. It’s also the sexiest transit around.

And here’s the category where Station Square shines. It is Pittsburgh’s transit-oriented development in its truest form. Historic Castle Shannon is a close second.

Walkability

Pittsburgh Station Square Neighborhood View to Downtown
The view from Station Square to downtown.

One can easily live in Station Square without a vehicle courtesy of its access to via transit or by foot to all the neighborhoods around it.

Opportunities for Improvement

Station Square is a redevelopment of the old Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Complex. Redevelopment is fairly simple when it comes down to it – come up with a plan, own the property, and then start marketing for tenants. Once you have a critical mass of tenants, otherwise known as pre-leases and pre-sales, your bank/investor starts releasing funds for construction. In Station Square’s case, the plan was successfully implemented by attracting corporate chain tenants en masse. The Hard Rock Cafes of the world define Station Square, which makes it feel less authentic than its nearest comparable, the North Shore, which has a few corporate chains but still predominantly feels local. Nevertheless, from a development perspective, Station Square is quite successful courtesy of all those high rent corporate tenants footing the bill. However, to the extent the neighborhood can achieve authenticity, it would be an improvement. Said authenticity can be had by attracting more locally owned small businesses.