Above is a shot of 279 cutting right through East Allegheny. Highway construction causes obvious destruction of neighborhoods- The Avery Institute, founded in 1849 by philanthropist and abolitionist Charles Avery as a place where African-Americans could receive a classical education, was razed to make way for on ramps. But such construction projects also cause damage that lingers.
The highway created a border between the east side of town and the west with few conduits between the two. So while the west side of town experiences restoration and development, the east side is left to decay. Granted, the west side of town is closer to busier neighborhoods and has more businesses to anchor the area and make it more attractive. And to be sure, groups like the EACC surely don’t intentionally ignore the eastern part of East Allegheny. But redevelopment is largely built upon momentum and contagion, and four highway lanes between once-adjacent areas disrupt both.
Obviously, 279 has its benefits; I’m not advocating a city that’s impossible to get to or from. But eased traffic flow and greater suburban-urban access do come at a cost, and this cost is the tale of the two neighborhoods of East Allegheny.