The purpose of this chapter is to build a shared understanding of the most important stage of all plans – the realization of the vision through action. Neighborhood plans should purposely include actions to implement within the first one to two years. These short-term actions build momentum and capacity for larger efforts. The plan should also identify mid-term actions that require three to five years before full development is realized. Finally, it should identify long-term actions where advocacy and capacity are needed over time before the outcome is achieved. Shorter-term actions are important to build momentum for the successful launch of a project, such as the creation of a “Friends Of” organization, studies, design exercises, partnership building, temporary or tactical installations, etc.
The implementation process for programs, projects, and partnerships can vary widely based on the scale and complexity of the activity, how the project is funded, and the partnerships needed to see them through. How the action is funded will often decide the timeline for implementation.
If City budget funds are used, it is important to understand that City departments draft budget requests for the following year in the late spring. Departments ask for funds for a variety of projects, and these requests go through a 6-month process of reviews including by City Council and the Mayor’s Office before a final budget is approved. Examples include operating funds for park master planning at DCP or capital funds by DPW to initiate construction. The City also has standards for procurement and the inclusion of minority- and women-owned businesses that require additional reviews at the contracting stage. Many projects are partially or wholly funded by state and federal grants and/or foundation money. Each of these sources of funding are highly competitive and have their own fixed application cycles throughout the year.
The City Zoning Code regulates the private use of land. Changing these regulations is a common way to implement the vision of the plan by allowing certain uses in specific areas and specifying characteristics about building design and performance. Changes to the Zoning Code take at least 6 months and requires review by the Planning Commission who recommend the amendment on to City Council for adoption. Complicated or divisive proposals can take substantially longer. Public notices are required before hearings at Planning Commission and City Council and cover the area to be affected by the change.
Art in the public realm can be on public property, or by an arts organization, developer, or foundation when on private property.
Improvements to the street can vary widely from replacement of damaged sidewalks, the cartway, furnishings such as street lights, or traffic lights. While most of these actions are a matter of budget and design, traffic signals and changes to the flow of traffic can be made only following a detailed analysis where certain standards called “warrants” are met. While a plan may call for a new signal, it is unlikely to be installed if the analysis does not show that it meets the warrants. Additionally, the importance of curb heights, awareness of stormwater/ sewer infrastructure (catch basins and manholes) and the proper milling and paving of streets to ensure proper flow of stormwater should be considered.
Creating a new park where none exists can be a long proposition due to the complexity of creating a park that serves everyone’s needs, the fact that it is usually publicly funded and therefore subject to procurement and budgeting considerations, and that it incorporates a large number of stakeholders.
District energy systems can refer to thermal heat and cooling or to renewable electricity generation into a grid. The generation of energy and its distribution is regulated by the State Public Utilities Commission.
Improvements to the water and sewer conveyance system including replacing lead lines, installing new water mains, relining or replacing sewer mains, replacing old or installing new catch basins, stormwater systems, green infrastructure, etc. all fall within the purview of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA).
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