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07-13-2012, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by johnniewalker View Post
I wasn't around in the 50s, so forgive me the historical ignorance of this question. How is it that Wylie Avenue being cut off by the construction of the Civic Arena isolated the Hill residents from downtown? Today, Bedford Avenue and Centre Avenue are both major arteries into downtown which run parallel to Wylie Avenue and take you to directly to the heart of downtown. Centre Avenue in particular has public transit stops all along it which deposit you in the middle of the downtown area.

If residents are upset about the displacement of those who lived or worked where the arena site was created, then I understand that completely. Still, that happened 60 years ago. But it's not as though cutting off one avenue made it impossible for residents to travel downtown. There are countless ways for someone to get to downtown from there. It may have inconvenienced people, but it's certainly not anywhere near the issue that the relocation of those residents was. Also, a huge part of the reason for the Hill's decline was the riots that occurred for over a week after Martin Luther King Jr was shot in 1968 that resulted in an enormous amount of property damage in that neighborhood. It was a tragedy that he was killed, but burning down the neighborhood in which you live solves nothing.

Here is a view of the Hill District from downtown, for people that don't live here. The Civic Arena is in the lower left, and the Hill District is just beyond it in the upper left. Bedford Avenue runs along the left side of the Hill and past the left side of the arena. Centre Avenue runs along the right side of the Hill, and past the right side of the arena. Wylie Avenue is the one that runs parallel to those, through the center of the Hill, with a bend in it shortly before it comes to a stop in the middle of the arena site.

I obviously wasn't around when all of this went on, but I have talked to my Dad and Grandfather about it and essentially what I've taken away from conversations with them is this.

Go to Shadyside. Take away Walnut St. What are you left with?

Go to Southside. Take away a huge chunk of E Carson St. What are you left with?

Wylie Ave was an artery into the Hill. It connected them to Downtown, and made transportation easier. I don't know what happened to transportation before the Civic Arena, but I do know that the construction of it didn't make anything easier. I also know that everything along Wylie Ave was demolished, and that a lot of the public housing was moved, which ran down other sections of the city. I want to say it was Hazelwood, maybe, who received a lot of the project housing?

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