Forest Hills, PA an attractive Pittsburgh bedroom Community

I included the pre WWII portion of Forest which starts at Vine Valley and moves towards the eastern border. I also excluded anything south of Lincoln Hwy. The borough was named after Forest Hills Queens New York.

This is an attractive bedroom community where half of the Borough developed before WWII (the portion I am evaluating) and the other half developed primarily in the 50s & 60s. While Lincoln Highway is mostly auto centric, it hosts a couple blocks of cohesive urban commercial with several diverse store fronts. Unfortunately there are no traffic calming features here to provide a more pleasant experience for pedestrians who are forced right up to the curb. Other attractions to Forest Hills are its affordable homeownership quality parks & recreation, and convenient access to Downtown and Oakland.

Other than improving the quality of its modest commercial district I ‘d love to see more bike and retail amenities in Forest Hills. It would be great if a concerted effort went into expanding the existing urban commercial area with quality in-fill. This could be a very attractive urban node. 
Click here to view my full Forest Hill album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Good access to downtown about a 20 minute drive and 40-45 bus ride. About the same distance to Oakland.
* Mostly middle class households here but good economic diversity. Over 50% of households are families but very old median age.
* Lots of affordable for sale options here ranging from 50K to the low 200Ks.
* Excellent tree cover.
* Decent parks and recreation including a playground. several ball fields. Lots of recreational amenities on the periphery of this study area as well.
* Pretty safe community overall with limited blight.
* Sidewalks are pretty consistent throughout but up to date ADA curb ramps is rare.
* Attractive historic retail and residential architecture.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Bike infrastructure in Forest Hills.
* Racial diversity it limited.
* Some rentals available and generally pretty affordable.
* Cultural amenities are limited to a handful of restaurants and bars, and the Eastside Gallery.
* Retail amenities is a bit better with a modest array of amenities along the two block urban business district on Lincoln Hwy. Chain amenities further down in the Ardmore strip mall (Aldi’s, drug store, bank, Sherwin-Williams etc.). Also a public library in Forest Hills.
* No schools within walking distance of the urban portion of Forest Hills. There are however several schools within a 5-10 minute drive.
* While there are a couple blocks of decent urban form along Lincoln Highway sidewalks are right next to a highspeed Blvd. The blvd quickly becomes autocentric outside of this two block area. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s