APWA is very excited to be taking the 2012 Conference on Sustainability in Public Works to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – a city that has received worldwide acclaim for its livability and sustainability achievements while transitioning to a 21st century economy.
With its mild June temps, walkability, and wonderful conference facility at the historic Omni William Penn Hotel, attendees at the 2012 Conference on Sustainability in Public Works will find themselves enjoying a city steeped in tradition and respect for the natural beauty of its topography and committed to 21st century advancements in green technology and sustainable design and planning.
Pittsburgh has reinvented itself with one of the most dramatic environmental transformations in the world. Over the past half-century, this one-time poster child for industrial pollution has emerged a clean and green city. In fact, this former "Smoky City" now ranks among the top 10 cities in the United States for certified green building space. 
In its current issue, National Geographic Traveler lists Pittsburgh as one of the world’s 20 must-see places to visit. It is the only U.S. city listed and just one of four cities on the entire planet (along with London, England; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Dresden, Germany) – November / December 2011
Sustainable Pittsburgh www.sustainablepittsburgh.org 


Pittsburgh has eliminated its infamous smoke problem and has invested in restoring its natural resources. They have nursed their rivers back to health and created some of the most popular outdoor recreational areas in the eastern United States. For example, Western Pennsylvania has become one of the nation's best examples of rails-to-trails conversion with hundreds of miles of rail trails, including the Great Allegheny Passage. This trail links Pittsburgh with Washington, D.C., and stands out as one of the country's great trail systems.


It's fitting that Pittsburgh, the birthplace of renowned environmentalist Rachel Carson, is today a national leader in the environmental movement and a green model for cities all over the globe. Pittsburgh is proud to be home to more than 30 certified green buildings, including the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, the world's first and still one of the largest green convention centers. The facility has earned LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for leadership in energy and environmental design. Pittsburgh also is home to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which is pursuing a net-zero energy and water designation as a "Living Building." In addition, Downtown Pittsburgh's Cultural District is part of the city's inspiring story of renewal. Once a blighted part of the city, the Cultural District now includes several theaters, numerous galleries and scores of eateries. Its successful renaissance has spurred development in other parts of the city as well. Information provided by Visit Pittsburgh. Please visit http://www.pittsburghpa.gov/green/ for information on City of Pittsburgh sustainability initiatives. 

Public Transportation

From the airport there is bus service for as little as $2.60 each way and SuperShuttle is $18 each way. www.supershuttle.com
Port Authority of Allegheny County is the public transit agency of the greater Pittsburgh area, providing bus, light rail, incline and paratransit service to approximately 200,000 riders daily. Port Authority’s light rail system – commonly known as the T or trolley – serves Downtown Pittsburgh and destinations in many of the city’s southern neighborhoods and suburbs. The historic Monongahela Incline – an inclined railroad scaling the hillside to the city’s Mt. Washington neighborhood – is one of the system’s most unique transit offerings. With connections to numerous bus and T lines at Station Square, the incline is used by commuters and locals as well as by tourists seeking a skyline view.
Free Fare Zone: This includes the “Golden Triangle” of Downtown Pittsburgh bordered by the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers as well as 11th and Ross streets. Riding the T within this area is free at all times; travel by bus within this area is free until 7 p.m. daily – after that, bus rides within Downtown are $2.25 (adult cash fare).

Green Gears Pedicabs

Looking for an emissions-free form of transportation? Flag-down or call a Green Gears Pedicab! Serving Downtown, Southside, North Shore and even the Strip District on occasion, pedicabs offer an alternative mode of transportation. You can even schedule a personal tour using this unique mode of transportation. Finding your way around Downtown Pittsburgh is a breeze with the Wayfinder System. A network of over 1,500 color-coded signs divides the city into 5 districts, leading the way to the area's major attractions, libraries, universities, post offices, parks, parking lots/garages and related points of interest. 

Taxi Service/Zipcar

Taxi service is available by Yellow Cab or Checker Cab dispatcher, or the nearest hotel or Downtown cab stand. Average fare from the airport to Downtown is $35-$45. 
If you are a member of Zipcar, take advantage of the 50+ vehicles located in and around Pittsburgh during your visit. 
The Port of Pittsburgh Commission offers a water taxi service during the summer months, with stops at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, the Point area, PNC Park, Heinz Field / Carnegie Science Center, and Station Square


Pittsburgh is a very walkable city with a variety of flavors for every budget. There are more than 100+ restaurants within a 15-minute walk, 5 theatres within a 3-block radius downtown, and the ballpark, stadium, several museums and other entertainment options are within walking distance.


Known as a sports town, the City of Bridges is a naturally scenic location that also has friendly neighborhoods and vast entertainment options that help to make Pittsburgh a joy to visit. It is situated at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers, which meet to form the Ohio River. The city features 151 high-rise buildings, 446 bridges (3 more than Venice, Italy which historically has been known as the City of Bridges), two inclined railways and a pre-revolutionary fortification. 
During the late 2000s recession, Pittsburgh remained economically strong, adding jobs when most cities were losing them, and becoming one of the few cities in the United States to see housing property values rise. This story of regeneration was the inspiration for President Barack Obama to personally select Pittsburgh as the host city for the 2009 G-20 Summit.
Many of the city's neighborhoods are steeply sloped. The names of more than a quarter of Pittsburgh's neighborhoods make reference to "hills", "heights", or other indicators of topographical complexity.
The Cultural District comprises a 14-block area of downtown along the Allegheny River, and provides patrons with a large variety of theaters and arts venues.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction & Recycling

Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan.  The goal is to reduce the Green Gas levels from 2003 by 20% by 2023, currently already 50% there and expect to reach goal by 2015.  The entire plan can be found at: http://www.pittsburghclimate.org/documents/PittsburghClimateActionPlan.pdf

Environmental Recognition

  • The EPA gave the City of Pittsburgh a Green Power Leadership Award in 2009.
  • PA Department of Environmental Protection Energy Conservation Award in 2009.
  • Pittsburgh is one of only 25 U.S. cities to be named a Solar America City through the Department of Energy.
  • Pittsburgh has become a leader in the new energy economy with green jobs and innovations in alternative energy technology.

Points of Interest

In Allegheny County:
  • Allegheny Green, County green roof and rain gardens.  
  • David L. Lawrence Convention Center – Greenfirst, the first green convention center and the only Gold LEED certified meeting venue
  • Rachel Carson Institute and/or Homestead, celebrating 50th anniversary of Silent Spring in 2012
In Westmoreland County:
  • Westmoreland Conservation District, Greenforge
In Butler County:
  • Cranberry Highlands golf course, Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary