Munhall, PA a Middle-Class Haven with Convenient Access to Downtown Pittsburgh

A large portion of the Homestead Works existed in Munhall. The borough was in 1901, out of a part of Mifflin Township. Its most noted landmark is the  Homestead Library  donated by Andrew Carnegie in 1896. Development picked up in Munhall in the late 1800s to early 1900s with the building of the northern half of Munhall closest to the Monongahela River and Homestead. The southern half of Munhall was developed between 1910s to the 1950s. Munhall’s population peaked at around 17,000 in 1960 and has slowly declined to its current population of 11,000 souls.

Munhall is an inner ring suburb attractive to middle income families desiring to purchase an affordable house with some walkability, convenient “driving” access to the expansive Waterfront Lifestyle shopping center and close proximity to Downtown Pittsburgh. Main Street is the north to south spine that runs along the Ridge and provides a moderate level of neighborhood retail and amenities. Not much in the way of cultural amenities within Munhall, but easy access to adjacent Homestead where recent reinvestment to its historic Downtown along 8th Street is bringing many new restaurants bars, art galleries, and nightlife options.

Additional medium density mixed-use  in-fill along Main Street would go a long way to increasing vibrancy in Munhall and helping to stabilize its population. Not much else can be done to increase urbanity here unless the borough completely rewrites its zoning codes and the Port Authority brought better transit service to the community.

Click here to view my full Munhall album on Flickr.

URBAN STRENGTHS

* Good access to downtown via driving and even decent commute biking (using the Allegheny Passage Trail).
* Very low crime rate.
* Recreation in Munhall consists of several sport field clusters around Munhall schools and several more traditional parks near the Homestead Carnegie Library.
* Great Tree Cover.
* Munhall hosts some “light” retail along its traditional Main Street (drug store, banks, restaurants, bars, liquor store, flower shop, barbershops, nail salons, and a post office). The bulk of its retail are located in the brownfield redevelopment, the Waterfront straddling the border of Munhall and Homestead. While a very auto oriented shopping center it includes several supermarkets, Target, Lowes, Dicks, and many retail chain stores.
* Several medium to well rated schools within Munhall that are pretty walkable. 

URBAN WEAKNESSES

* Sub par public transit for an inner ring suburb, although the north half of Munhall is served well.
* Because of the very hilly terrain, about 1/4 of residential streets don’t have sidewalks. Even the traditional business district running along Main St. generally doesn’t have ADA compliant ramps.
* Bike infrastructure limited to the Allegheny Passage Trail running along the Mon River.
* Not a ton of rental product, but generally in the lower moderate range. The limited 1-bedroom product rents between $500-$800. 2-bedrooms around $850. And whole houses anywhere from $1,000 to $1,600. Higher prices in south Munhall.
* For sale prices are very moderate ranging anywhere from 50K to 200K.
* Cultural amenities consist of only a handful of American restaurants and bars. But Munhall has convenient access to Homestead which hosts more diverse cultural amenities including a cineplex.

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