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Frederick Law
report to the
Pittsburgh Civic Commission

Main Thoroughfares and The
Down Town District"

00 Cover Page

00 Contents

01 Down Town

02 Main

03 Surveys and
   a City Plan

04 Parks and

05 Special

06 Index

PART V: Special Reports
The Market and The Hump Cut

Pittsburgh: Main Thoroughfares and The Down Town District
Frederick Law Olmsted report to The Pittsburgh Civic Commission, 1910

page 123

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Special Reports


Two conclusive reasons point to the removal of the Diamond Square Market from its present site. First, it is an obstruction at a vital point to the development of the thoroughfare system of the city; second, it is too small and congested for the proper performance of its functions.

The ingenious proposition has been made, in order to secure more space for the business, that the whole of the square be excavated and a basement or underground market be built extending under the surrounding streets. This would permit the extension and widening of Diamond Street and Market Street through the square at the ground level, although these improvements were not contemplated by those who suggested the basement market. Such an arrangement, if not coupled with the erection of structures above ground in such a manner as to interfere with the free passage of the two streets through the space, would seem to meet the traffic problem; except that the massing of vehicles and people on the surface, in connection with the marketing, would be somewhat objectionable.

But from the market point of view such a solution seems wholly unsatisfactory and inadequate. There is no question that the space is now too small for handling the business in a comfortable, sanitary and decent manner, and the space now occupied is by no means confined to the two old buildings. The sidewalk stalls, so called, from which nearly half the rentals of the market are derived, occupy a large part of the surrounding streets, and at the busy hour there is hardly a square foot of those streets that is not in use by the dealers or their customers. To build a basement market occupying the whole of the square, after deducting the considerable space required for entrances, stairways or inclines, elevators, piers, ventilating shafts, etc., would

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Last modified on 22-Dec 1999
Design format: copyright 1997-1999 Bruce S. Cridlebaugh
Original document: Frederick Law Olmsted, 1910