Fresh Ideas

Government Feb23


When I moved to Pittsburgh, my husband and I lived temporarily with his mother in the South Hills until we could find our own place. My husband had already joined a Downtown law firm; he asked me to take the bus one night into the city to join him for dinner. He instructed me to get off at Fifth Avenue and Wood Street. But as the bus motored through Downtown, it passed intersection after intersection without any street signs. I ended up getting off several streets away from our intended meeting spot, totally lost.

I couldn’t believe a major city like Pittsburgh wouldn’t have street signs. The response? “Everyone is from Pittsburgh, so they know where everything is.”

It wasn’t until a few years later, after Sophie Masloff became mayor in 1988, that those handsome blue signs with clean white lettering began appearing at just about every street corner. Making the city more welcoming to everyone was one of her priorities.

Mayor Tom Murphy was not known as a skilled politician, but during his tenure from 1994-2006 he led the creation of 25 miles of riverfront trails and urban green spaces, rehabilitated the city’s playgrounds and spearheaded the development of PNC Park, Heinz Field (now Acrisure Stadium) and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Mayor Bill Peduto brought fiscal responsibility and upgraded technology to city hall and avidly pushed for creation of more dedicated bike lanes (even though he was assailed by some motorists who objected to sharing the road with two-wheelers).

Every new government leader, every new administration, every new CEO and every new president play a role in bringing fresh ideas that help re-energize and reimagine their sphere — and our region.

This is why the beginning of 2023 is an exciting time for all of us. As highlighted by “Power Shift,” Pittsburgh Magazine’s joint project with the nonprofit PublicSource on page 23, we’re seeing new leadership in more than 30 important positions — some for the first time in decades — in the region’s government, education, economic development and nonprofit sectors. The makeup of the new batch of leaders — from Mayor Ed Gainey to U.S. Rep. Summer Lee to Cultural Trust CEO Kendra Whitlock Ingram — is more diverse and inclusive than it has ever been. By early 2024, we’ll have a new Allegheny County Executive, replacing Rich Fitzgerald after 12 years.

VirginiathumbBut don’t just sit back and see what changes these folks bring. This is an opportunity for all of us to get engaged in our community — even at the grassroots level — so we can all work together toward a better future for Pittsburgh.

Virginia Linn can be reached at

Categories: Editor