Those driving around New Castle, particularly downtown, may have noticed traffic lights are being installed on power poles.

According to city Administrator Chris Frye, the reason for this is simple — it’s the way of the future, at least according to PennDOT. Penn-DOT and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission are working to gradually replace all traffic lights over the next year with the lights on the poles.

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The group made up of a dozen-plus nonprofits and institutional partners has been listening to residents’ feedback and making plans to gather more data. Next up: a five-year plan to close the digital divide.

In April 2022, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission reported that residents in Allegheny County have both some of the highest internet speeds in the region and areas with inadequate internet speeds or few service options.

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For the first time in 20 years, Pittsburgh just got bigger. Well, the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area, that is.

The federal government added Lawrence County to the Pittsburgh MSA, in its most recent updates by The U.S. Office of Management and Budget. The entire eight-county MSA is now Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

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The Pittsburgh Robotics Network today announced the appointment of Jenny Sharpe as the organization’s new senior program manager of workforce development. “In this role, Sharpe will draw on her vast experiences in entrepreneurship, talent management, and community building to strengthen the dynamic nexus of robotics, education, and community that is rapidly transforming Pittsburgh,” it said.

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Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to Mayor Ed Gainey’s proposed new Office of Equal Protection, which the administration has said would help enforce civil rights and labor laws.

The office, as part of the wider mayor’s office, would be an “enforcement and compliance” body for matters such as the city’s paid sick leave and disruptive properties laws, said Zeke Rediker, an administration official.

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As developers await the stabilization of the office market, they continue to gravitate toward housing and other uses in the popular Strip District neighborhood.

With new housing comes new residents. In a recently released State of the Strip District report, Strip District Neighbors — a nonprofit dedicated to promoting economic development and quality of life in the neighborhood — indicate the neighborhood’s population is expected to double again within the next two to three years.

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Bike Share Pittsburgh, the nonprofit operator of POGOH bikeshare, is installing 22 new POGOH stations through July and is launching 154 new e-assist bikes and 66 pedal bikes into their fleet.

In addition to creating more connections within the current network, the new stations will connect several new neighborhoods, including Hazelwood, Larimer, Garfield, Upper Lawrenceville, Allegheny Center and Central Northside.

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