The age of the City of Pittsburgh, coupled with the limited infrastructure investments in recent decades, has led many of its sidewalks to fall into disrepair. While downtown Pittsburgh is very wheelchair-friendly, sidewalks outside of the city center may pose challenges in certain areas. Fortunately, few barriers are truly impassable, and most wheelchair users will have little trouble navigating the city on wheels.
Wheelchair Accessibility of Pittsburgh Sidewalks
In considering how to rate the accessibility of sidewalks in Pittsburgh, I considered those that I encountered while navigating the downtown and tourist areas of the city – the routes most likely to be taken by visitors like you. My overall conclusion was that Pittsburgh sidewalk accessibility is moderately good, and the photographs below provide an illustration of what I saw.
The Best in Sidewalk Accessibility
The following series of images represents some of the city’s most accessible sidewalks:
As you can see, many of the major tourist routes, including those in downtown Pittsburgh and across the city’s popular bridges, have wheelchair-friendly sidewalks and crosswalks.
Some Pittsburgh sidewalks may pose challenges for wheelchair users
Many of Pittsburgh’s sidewalks are old, making them vulnerable to potholes, cracks and other barriers to those of us on wheels. In certain rare circumstances, a sidewalk may not have a curb ramp, or the curb ramp that does exist may be too steep. The following images highlight a selection of issues I encountered while rolling around Pittsburgh.
Despite these barriers, there is always an alternate route. When I encountered a downtown crosswalk without a curb ramp (pictured above), I simply rolled to the next intersection and used that crosswalk, which was accessible. Impassable obstacles are rare. But the city should invest in sidewalk repair and resurfacing to make getting around easier for wheelchair users. Fortunately, the city has just received $1 million from the state government to do just that (source).
Reporting sidewalk barriers to the city government
The City of Pittsburgh operates a 311 Response system, allowing members of the public to alert the government of non-emergency issues and concerns. Following my Pittsburgh trip, I submitted several sidewalk repair requests via the 311 Response web form.
I will report back here once my submissions have been addressed, and I hope you too will utilize Pittsburgh 311 to report any obstacles you encounter when visiting the city!