All the Pittsburgh News You Missed This Week (Feb. 22-Mar. 1) | Pittsburgh City Paper

All the Pittsburgh News You Missed This Week (Feb. 22-Mar. 1)

click to enlarge Cylindrical train cars all piled up along a railway, blackened with smoke billowing up from the wreck
Photo: Courtesy of National Transportation Safety Board
Train derailment in East Palestine, Oh. on Sun., Feb. 5.

ENVIRONMENT: Health experts reassure Pittsburghers over East Palestine risks

A panel of environmental and health experts convened by the Carnegie Science Center said Pittsburghers shouldn’t be concerned about the impact of the Feb. 3 train derailment on their health and well-being.

But closer to the crash site in East Palestine, Ohio, questions about the short and long-term impacts of air, soil, and water contamination remain unanswered. The panellists — environmental and occupational health scientists based at the University of Pittsburgh — recommended testing indoor air quality and taking precautions with using well water for anyone within close proximity to the site.

What is close proximity? While Pittsburgh is out of the danger zone, just how far the area of risk extends remains unclear.

“I think there is no magic number in terms of the distance,” said Peng Gao, assistant professor, environmental and occupational health at Pitt. “What I can say is just if you are closer to the accident site, you’ve got a higher chance of risk to the impact.”

click to enlarge Black-and-white photo of a business street with reto cars and old signs.
Photo: Pittsburgh City Photographer Collection
Beaver Avenue Business District on June 4, 1937

INFRASTRUCTURE: Reconnecting the North Side?

A $1.4 million federal grant will fund a study of ways to reintegrate the North Side’s Manchester and Chateau neighborhoods, which were severed by the construction of the Ohio River Boulevard nearly 50 years ago.

According to a press release issued by U.S. Rep Summer Lee (D-12) and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), the study will explore ways to “reunite Manchester and Chateau while keeping those who travel on PA-65 safe and connected.”

Before the highway was constructed in the 1970s, these historic neighborhoods were connected by a vibrant business district spanning Beaver Avenue. Lee says this is one of many instances of disinvestment that she’s working to reverse while in Congress.

"Black, Brown and working class communities in Pittsburgh have suffered from the legacy of redlining and disinvestment that’s left folks in our North Side neighborhoods isolated for far too long,” Lee said in a press statement. “I was sent to Congress to right wrongs like this one because our economic future depends on us building a Pittsburgh that’s livable, safe, and accessible for ALL people. I’m proud to partner with Senator Casey to deliver infrastructure investments that will make life easier for working families and small businesses here in Western PA.”