Bellevue, PA- Pittsburgh Ohio River town with a Bright Future

The land on which the borough currently sits was once part of the Depreciation Lands reserved for Revolutionary War veterans. Bellevue was incorporated as a borough independent of Ross in 1867 after a dispute with the Township over developing along the Venango Rail line (now route 19). Development came slow at first to Bellevue with only 300 residents around the Civil War, but quickly accelerated in the late 19th century jumping to 3,500 in 1900, 8K in 1920 and peaking around 11,500 in 1950.  Bellevue’s population started to drop in the 1970s along with the rest of the Pittsburgh region and only recently has showed signs of bottoming out with only a small population drop between 2010 and 2020. The Borough now sits just above 8,000 residents, which for Pittsburgh standards is pretty good!

From an urban perspective Bellevue is a fairly compact inner ring suburb with good transit access, a pretty well maintained main street (Lincoln Ave) with a good number of retail still open, good housing diversity, and the typical suburban amenities of good schools and safety. For Bellevue to reached its urban potential it needs more population, a complete urban rehaul of I-65 (an auto centric disaster) better park & bike amenities, some improved sidewalk and ADA curb infrastructure, and key missing retail like gyms, clothing stores, and more higher end retail. But buzz is certainly building for Bellevue as trendy new businesses have recently opened up along Lincoln Avenue and homes starting to sell over 300K. Hopefully this positive trend can continue without significant displacement.

Click here to view my Bellevue Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Solid urban density.
* Convenient access to Dwtn. Only 10 min drive and 30 min bus ride. Not great bike connection.
* Solid diversity esp. generational and economic.
* Several walkable schools in Bellevue, generally rated well, and good mix of private and public.
* Good mix of affordable and moderately priced for-sale housing. Very limited 1-beds but lots of 2-beds ranging btwn 100K-300K, 3 & 4 beds sell btwn 85K-350K.
* Decent # of rentals and pretty affordable. 1-beds lease btwn $800-1K, 2-beds btwn 1K-1.5K, 3-beds in the 1Ks. Also a good amount of dedicated affordable housing.
* Thanks to generally leafy streets and lots of hillsides, Bellevue has a solid tree canopy.
* Good cultural amenities including lots of restaurants, bars, a brewery a couple cafes, an art gallery, a couple local theaters & live music venues, a couple historic sites.
* Solid retail amenities including a couple supermarkets & drug stores, a hardware store, a couple of consignment stores, several gift stores/creative shops including a Hallmark, a couple family dollars, lots of salons/barber shops, several dessert joints, a historic library, and several churches, a major hospital, and several doctor’s offices.
* Overall a safe community.
* Most of Lincoln has seen a streetscaping refresh and is good urban form.
* Solid historic architecture both residential and commercial. Some homes date to the early-mid 1800s.
* Buzz in Bellevue is certainly bldg although I won’t consider it trendy yet.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Most streets have sidewalks but about 10% are missing them. Modern ADA curb cuts existing in about 65% of all intersections. Hills in spots make walking more challenging.
* Really no bike infrastructure here.
* Bayne Park is a nice centralized medium size park but only a handful of other smaller parks in the Borough limits. Several larger park sit outside of the Borough but not very walkable to most Bellevue residents.
* Missing retail amenities include a gym, clothing stores, post office, other high end retail.
* Very auto centric road along 65 but at least it has sidewalks in most spots.
* In-fill is limited to most auto centric crud on 65.

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