PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Immaculate Heart of Mary Church has been watching over Polish Hill for more than a century, but people living here need more than prayer to calm the traffic that makes this neighborhood a convenient cut-through.
The Polish Hill Civic Association has been lobbying the city for ways to slow traffic down.
“Surprisingly, when you think about it between Oakland and Downtown on Bigelow Boulevard we are the only way to drop down towards the Strip,” says Leslie Clague of the Polish Hill Civic Association.
A recent entry in the Civic Association’s “Blogski” points to an intersection at Melwood and Finland as one trouble spot, “where residents have been suffering the impact of speeding and careless drivers for years.”
Paulette Khouri has a handsome home but is moving because it’s not safe for her son Elias.
“We have a lot of concerns – a lot of us who live on this street,” she said. “Our car’s been hit three times since March.”
So you can imagine neighbors’ surprise when a crosswalk mysteriously appeared at Melwood and Finland earlier this month. Not the city’s work, but a Good Samaritan with a paintbrush.
“It really says a lot about our neighborhood – it’s a really do-it-yourself attitude around here,” says Eric Woodward holding his daughter Molly Jean.
The phantom painter’s identity is unknown, but locals love the spirit that the crosswalk represents. One posted note reads “Dear Crosswalk Vigilantes: Thank You! You Made My Day.”
Says, Cindy Hickman, “I’m afraid if the city removes these they’ll just be painted back because they’re not listening to us.”
Public Works says the crosswalk is illegal and has to go.
“Situations like this – there’s a liability issue,” Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski said.
However, he said Polish Hill will get the needed crosswalks by next week.
“Actually not only a crosswalk, [we’re] gonna come in and install 30-inch stop signs to try to make the people aware of it,” he added.
Leslie Clauge is grateful for, “anything to slow people down and honestly make these shortcuts unattractive.”