West End/Elliot- West Pittsburgh’s most urban neighborhoods

West End Village (originally named Temperanceville) was founded in 1860 as a dry town. It was annexed into the City of Pittsburgh in 1874. The village was founded on the valley floor through which Saw Mill Run flows toward the Ohio River and between the Coal Hill end of Mt. Washington and River Hill. This is a very curious spot hidden in what I would call a Pittsburgh “holler” yet only 2 miles from Downtown Pittsburgh. It also is located in a flood plain. This along with being a victim of blight and abandonment have nearly decimated the village’s historically high population of 2,000 residents in 1940. Now just over 200 souls remain here. Fortunately, much of the neighborhood’s historic commercial remains in-tact forming a decent main street. Some businesses have set up shop here but much vacancy still remains.

Just up the hill from the West End westwards along the Ohio River is the Elliot Neighborhood. It was annexed into the City of Pittsburgh in the early 20th century. The neighborhood grew rapidly in the early 20th century  due to its proximity to downtown Pittsburgh and direct access to several arterial roads and streetcar lines into a pretty dense and walkable community. Sadly like many districts in Pittsburgh, it faced decline following WWII and has never really recovered. But unlike other distressed Pittsburgh communities, Elliott’s housing stock is mostly in-tact and boasts high densities, albeit without the walkable amenities it used to have.

Given their very convenient access to Downtown via transit and of course driving, there’s no reason these two urban communities should remain stagnant. Hopefully the City of Pittsburgh gets its act together in cleaning up the blight of these neighborhoods. Elliott could easily become a walkable community again with a decent mixed use district along Chartiers Ave. With appropriate investment the West End Business district could be thriving again but with dense housing surrounding it.
Click here for my West End Album and here for my Elliott Album


* Excellent public transit access and very convenient to Dwtn and Oakland via bus and car.
* Very high level of family households and solid racial and economic diversity.
* Good park access with several small parks well dispersed in the community. Westend Overlook provides excellent views of Downtown.
* Excellent tree canopy due to all the hills and valleys.
* Good historic architecture in the West End biz district. The residential architecture is blander worker housing.
* Pretty good massing in the West End’s urban biz district.


* Decent bike connection into the West End via the West End bridge, but limited bike infrastructure outside of this.
* Housing is very cheap. High end of the market is in the low 100s. Fair amount of housing selling below 50K.
* Rentals are pretty limited and generally pretty cheap.
* Cultural amenities are limited but some good stuff including a local theater, a handful of restaurants and bars, a cafe, a couple art galleries. While not walkable the plethora of cultural amenities downtown and in the side are nearby.
*Some nice retail amenities (mostly in West End). This includes a post office, library, hardware store, a handful of boutiques, and lots of construction supply stores. No grocery or drug store nearby.
* While most structures are still standing  (esp. in Elliot) lots of vacancy and blight.
* No schools within the district and only a handful in nearby neighborhoods.
* Sidewalks are largely in tact but current ADA ramps is rare except in the core biz district of the Westend.
* Streetscaping is pretty uninspiring and outdated but not terrible.

Jefferson- A stable working class neighborhood on Cleveland’s Westside

Jefferson is a staple middle/working class district on Cleveland’s Westside with relatively good occupancy and in tact urban form. It is also a very affordable neighborhood  attractive to immigrant groups and one of Cleveland’s most diverse areas. About 14% of the population is foreign born and over half of the population is a minority. One can find an array of ethnic restaurants, bakeries, markets, along Lorain and West 105th Street.

The district also excels at great transit access and park recreation. It has decent walkable schools. ADA infrastructure, historic homes, and connectivity. My hope is that the general revitalization of nearby Cleveland westside districts (Lakewood, Kamm’s Corner, and Detroit Shoreway) will arrive in Jefferson. The neighborhood has good urban form but has remained in a similar place for many decades leading to a static maintenance of existing homes and commercial fabric with very little new urban infill. The biggest urban areas to improve include: urban infill long Jefferson’s commercial districts and more cultural and neighborhood amenities.
Click here to view my Jefferson Album on Flickr


* Highly diverse neighborhood including sizable Middle eastern and Hispanic community. Considered the center of Middle Eastern community at Lorain and West 117th in Cleveland. Also great economic and generation diversity. Lots of families here.
* Excellent public transportation access especially along Lorain and near the Red Line Transit Stations.
* Many attractive brick and wooded streets with solid owner occupancy.
* Recent streetscape investments on Lorain west of W. 117th including mid-block pedestrian crossing.
* Several great park assets pretty well distributed throughout the neighborhood including Gunning Park Recreation Center, Jefferson Park, Halloran Park (includes an indoor ice rink), Mohican, and Worthington Park.
* Pretty good pre WWII architecture mixing in brick and woodframe styles. Historic commercial is mostly 2 story brick structures.
* Good Tree canopy.
* While not all the schools are highly rated, good mix of walkable schools including several grade schools and the John Marshall High School focusing on engineering.
* Culturally a wonderful array of ethnic restaurants, several diverse bars, and some cafes. Not much else culturally.
* Good array of retail amenities although much of them are auto centric. This includes a target, office max, tons of ethnic grocerias, a couple supermarkets, several drug stores, post office,  a hardware store, and other typical neighborhood retail.


* Rentals are kinda limited but generally very reasonably priced.
* For Sale product is stable but pretty inexpensive. Most homes sell between 75K-150 and are 3 & 4 bedrooms with decent sized yards. Great neighborhood for a starter home. Some nicer product between 150-200K. But sale prices are too low for any quality new in-fill. In-fill is generally crummy auto centric stuff.
* Some blight in the neighborhood especially along the commercial districts where there is a fair amount of unoccupied store fronts
* Limited bike infrastructure.
* Urban form of commercial district is a mixed bag. Decent stretch along Lorain between W 136 and 117. The W 117 & Lorain node has the best form. Some very auto centric areas near Lorain and W 140th. parts of W 117th, Puritas, and W 150th.