Southside Neighborhood
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Southside Park

Project Description


South Side Park is located in the steeply sloped region of the M-16 combined sewershed, which services the slopes in the upper watershed, and the Flats in the lower watershed. M-16 outlets to the Monongahela River. Due to deferred maintenance, the inlets throughout the park are no longer effective at capturing and conveying stormwater and seeps away from the park. These conditions have resulted in severe erosion, which creates gullies that increasingly direct water away from the inlets. In other cases, sediment accumulation prevents runoff from entering the inlets, which perpetuates the problems with erosion.

The redesign of the park and implementation of green infrastructure in the Flats intends to address runoff, erosion, and issues of combined sewers. The team identified 12 seeps within the park, which were previously directed into the combined sewer system. The four most productive seeps will be removed from the sewer system and will instead flow through a series of naturalized surface conveyance channels. The team also recognized opportunities for underground stormwater storage in the park to reduce the strain on the combined sewer system. Green infrastructure in the Flats will capture, slow, and infiltrate runoff from the impervious surfaces. These strategies aim to improve the water quality of the Monongahela River.

Services Provided

  • Project Management
  • Conceptual Design
  • Costing / Performance
  • Stormwater Modeling
  • Site, Utility, Grading & Stormwater Design
  • Community Engagement
  • Plan Production
  • Specifications
  • Land Development
  • Environmental Permitting
  • Construction Administration
Plan image showing conceptual design of Southside Park

Master Planning

To address residents’ desires to return water to the surface, the master planning process incorporated a naturalized surface channel to convey water through South Side Park. The master plan also improved park entrances through the renovation of two existing entrances at 18th and 21st Streets and the acquisition of an additional lot owned by the URA at 21st Street. The acquired lot at 21st Street provides opportunities for stormwater management and visual connections between the park and the Flats.

Master plan by Studio Bryan Hanes


Hydrologic Assessment

By analyzing historic and current conditions, the team developed a deeper understanding of the movement of water through and around the site. This assessment included the identification of a historic stream, locating seeps in the park and measuring their base flow, and mapping the M-16 sewer system.

Southside Park Historical Stream

Historical Streams

This map from 1872 helped the team identify the location of the historic stream, which has been highlighted here in blue.

South Side Park Terrain with Historic Stream overlay

Terrain Analysis

Identifying the location of historic streams is important for understanding which locations should be included in the stormwater management strategy.


Plan Development

Using the master plan, the team developed the stormwater management components for the park and the Flats. The designs aim to incorporate effective stormwater capture into engaging public space.

Conceptual rendering by Studio Bryan Hanes


Improved Park Space

Based on input from community members and other stakeholders, these renderings target a few areas that will greatly benefit the user experience.  

Honoring Art, History, and Culture

A new trail segment along a coal seam in the park includes a coal car viewing deck to honor the importance of coal in Pittsburgh's history.

Conceptual renderings by Studio Bryan Hanes

Improved Play Spaces

The Discovery Garden creates an exciting new space for children after the community expressed that children rarely use the park.

New BMX Track

The park currently struggles with rogue construction of BMX tracks. To discourage individuals from building their own tracks in the park, this proposed track provides an approved space for BMX use instead.


Southside 21st Street Green Infrastructure Design Charette

Community & Design Partners

Studio Bryan Hanes

  • Master Planning
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Community Engagement

Pashek + MTR

  • Site Design Lead
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Community Engagement

Drummond Carpenter

  • Engineering & Hydraulic
    Modeling Support
  • QA-QC

Sci-Tek Consultants Inc.

  • Geotechnical
  • Environmental
  • Water Quality Sampling
  • Maintenance & Protection of Traffic

Urban Terrain LLC

  • Topographical & Boundary Survey

Skelly & Loy

  • Utility Coordination
  • Engineering Support

Alpine Allegheny

  • Cost Estimating
  • Constructability Review

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

  • Community Engagement
  • Interface with Friends of Southside Park

Related Work

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