Mount Lebanon- One of Pittsburgh’s Ritziest Suburbs

Mount Lebanon was a bit of a late bloomer as inner ring suburbs go in Pittsburgh. The City was incorporated in 1912 but had just over 2K residents in 1920. By that time Mt. Lebo had streetcar service but it was the opening of the Liberty Tunnel in 1924 allowing easy automobile access to Pittsburgh that led to a real estate boom. Between the 1920s and 1930s, Mt. Lebanon skyrocketed from 2,258 to 13,403 residents. It then reached 26K by 1950 and maxed out at 39K in 1970. The City has seen a steady decline since but appears to be stabilizing at around 32,000 souls.

From an urban perspective about half of the City has a quality urban environment surrounding the two urban commercial districts along Washington Ave and Beverly Rd.  The T-Line (light rail line) also runs along this portion of Mt. Lebanon providing 3 stations. The southern half of Mt. Lebanon is more quasi urban. There are generally sidewalks here, but the commercial districts are rather autocentric, and home are also less dense and mostly single family.

Overall Mt. Lebanon excels at providing excellent schools, great parks, a very safe community, many wonderful tree lined streets, quality cultural and retail amenities, and a decent housing mix. Mt. Lebanon is, however, a lily white community, lacks much economic diversity, is hit or miss with ADA infrastructure, and doesn’t have great density for an urban area. I’d love to see this City welcome more people and loosening up its zoning laws to permit more multi-family housing.

Click here to view my album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Good public transit thanks to the line rail line running through the City and decent bus connections.
* Good access to Dwtn via transit or driving.
* Lots of family households here and good age diversity.
* Very safe community.
* Highly rated schools across all types. Most schools have at least decent walkability. Lots of options too.
* Decent amount of rental hsg and pretty moderately priced. 1-beds rent btwn 800K and the low 1Ks, 2-beds low to mid 1Ks, 3-beds 1.5K-2k.
* No spectacular parks here but just many small and medium sized parks are well spread throughout the City. The City’s best recreational facilities are located within Mt. Lebanon park and include a recreation center, indoor and outdoor pool, ice rink, major tennis complex, and soccer and baseball fields.
* Excellent tree canopy.
* Great historic architecture especially the residential homes.
* The Beverly and Washington Ave biz district are vibrant but the suburban ones aren’t and plenty of dead spaces in the residential areas.
* Good cultural amenities including a diverse array of restaurants, plenty of bars & cafes, a cineplex, several breweries and art galleries, a couple historic sites, and a couple bar/live music venues.
* Great retail amenities including several supermarkets & drug stores,  the Galleria Mall (a medium sized mall), a hardware store; decent # of boutiques & gift shops and  a couple book stores along the walkable biz districts; a public library and post office, several dessert options, St. Clair Hospital, and plenty of churches. Many stores are in autocentric settings.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Density isn’t great but not terrible.
* About 70% of City streets have sidewalks. Neighborhood clusters on the edges of town often are with out them and even some arterials. Many residential areas are also missing ADA curb cuts.
* Connectively not great although some assemblance of a street grid.
* Poor bike infrastructure. No dedicated bike stations and few dedicated bike lanes.
* Very lily white community as 95% of Mt. Lebanon is white. Economic diversity isn’t much better.
* Housing is generally expensive but a fair amount of affordable condos and some moderately priced SF homes. 1-bed condos sell btwn 60K-150K, 2-beds condos anywhere btwn 100K-300; 2-beds SF sell btwn 200K-400K, 3-beds are a wide range btwn 200K-800K depending on size and condition; and 4 & 5 beds btwn 250K and the low millions. Overall a decent variety of available for sale housing.
* Some dedicated affordable housing in Mt. Lebanon but not enough.
* Mix of urban and auto centric biz districts. The urban ones are along Washington Ave, Beverley, and park of Cochran. The autocentric ones are along Mt. Lebanon Blvd and Gilkeson.

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