Avalon, PA- A quaint Pittsburgh inner-ring suburb along the Ohio River

Avalon was incorporated as a distinct municipality in 1875 starting out as a small community of a couple hundred families. The City  was named after the legendary island of Avalon (“land of apples”) on account of there being several orchards in the area. By 1900 the borough reached 2,000 people and with the help of a streetcar and train line it reached 6,000 by 1940. Population maxed out at 7,000 souls in 1970 and Avalon has been losing people ever since and is down to 4,500 currently. Yet Avalon still feels very in tact and has been a recent destination of single family home renovations and strengthening real estate market.

Avalon also has decent main street buildings that with more investment in the community could lead to many more locally owned businesses and vibrancy. Other urban assets include: a good mix of affordable and moderately price rentals and for sale options thanks to the community’s flexible zoning laws, good tree canopy, solid parks, safety, excellent economic diversity, and decent historic architecture.

Urban areas where Avalon could improve include much more bike infrastructure, more retail and especially cultural amenities, and better urban massing along the state route 65, a very autocentric boulevard.

Click here to view my Avalon, PA album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Sidewalks are on 95% of the streets but ADA current ramps are more often absent.
* Overall a pretty safe community.
* Excellent economic diversity and very good generational diversity.
* Good access to downtown with both good driving and bus access.
* Decent rental options and affordable. 1-beds lease for $700-1K, 2-beds around $1,000s  and 3-beds in the low $1,000s.
* Good for sale diversity as well with a good # of 1 bed condos selling btwn 50K-125K, 2 beds btwn 75K and high 100Ks, 3-beds a bit more expensive extending into the low 200Ks, and 4 & 5 beds into the high 200Ks and low 300Ks.
* Great tree canopy especially in the hillside areas.
* Solid park amenities around Spruce Run.
* Pretty good historic architecture.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* No bike lanes infrastructure.
* Cultural amenities are pretty limited to several restaurants & bars, and some chain coffee stores, a small local theater.
* Retail amenities are a bit better including several clothing stores, a bank, a drug store, florist, a couple barbershops & salons,  several auto centric businesses on 65 and walkable access to a supermarket (and many other amenities) that’s located in adjacent Bellevue.
* Decent but not great schools access with one well rated elementary schools and the schools in Bellevue (some school district) are somewhat walkable.
* Some very crummy modern in-fill along 65 but some good modern apartments/condos.
* Urban massing is a mixed bag. Pretty awful along 65 as its a auto centric blvd but very good massing along Lincoln Ave.

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