Tunnel Street

From Pittsburgh Streets
Tunnel Street
Neighborhood Central Business District
Origin of name Pennsylvania Canal tunnel
Fate Eliminated in 1981

Tunnel Street was a street in the Lower Hill District, where the DoubleTree Hotel and Crosstown Boulevard (Interstate 579) are today.

In 1827 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was in the midst of building the Pennsylvania Canal, and the Board of Canal Commissioners, acting on a resolution by the Pittsburgh city councils, recommended that the western terminus be located on the north side of the Allegheny River opposite Washington Street (today 11th Street). From there the canal was to be carried "by an aqueduct over the Allegheny river to the eastern line of the city of Pittsburgh, thence by a tunnel through Grant's hill, to terminate in the Monongahela, at the mouth of Suke's run . . . ."[1] The 1830 map of Jean Barbeau and Lewis Keyon shows the canal, aqueduct, and tunnel; Tunnel Street ran on the top of the hill above the tunnel (hence its name).[2][3]

Tunnel Street was eliminated in 1981 in the Grant Street East project, part of Mayor Richard Caliguiri's Renaissance II. This project, which included the construction of a 54-story skyscraper (today BNY Mellon Center) and the Steel Plaza subway station, produced a new street configuration designed to simplify intersections, reduce odd-shaped blocks, and improve traffic flow.[4][5][6][7]

See also

  • 11th Street, once named Canal Street, which runs along part of the former Pennsylvania Canal


  1. By-Laws and Ordinances of the City of Pittsburgh, and the Acts of Assembly Relating Thereto: With notes and references to judicial decisions thereon, and an appendix, relating to several subjects connected with the laws and police of the city corporation, pp. 185–187. Johnston and Stockton, Pittsburgh, 1828. Google Books sfxOAAAAYAAJ, 3n9hAAAAcAAJ. [view source]by-laws
  2. Jean Barbeau and Lewis Keyon. Map of Pittsburgh and Its Environs. N. B. Molineux, Pittsburgh, 1830. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0576; https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/36c3ab00-57aa-0136-8f4f-08990f217bc9. [view source]barbeau
  3. George T. Fleming. "Incidents in Dickens' travels unearthed: The English genius brought a secretary whom he paid $10 a month—'Q,' who was a Bostonian, wrote interesting account of trip here: Hotelkeeper tries to feed hungry party on 'potpie'—crowds greeted noted author at every step—story of Mr. Irwin's departure." Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Sept. 2, 1917, sec. 5, p. 3. Newspapers.com 85845789. [view source]fleming-dickens-incidents
  4. Carl Morris. "Grant Street project agreement clears way for construction." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oct. 16, 1980, p. 4. Newspapers.com 88792311. [view source]grant-agreement
  5. Carl Morris. "Grant St. project wins test." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oct. 23, 1980, pp. 1, 10. Newspapers.com 88792554, 88792563. [view source]grant-wins-test
  6. David Nilsson. "Council OKs redesign of Grant St. traffic." Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 22, 1980, p. A-2. Newspapers.com 146936107. [view source]nilsson
  7. "Paving the way." Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 23, 1980, p. A-16. Newspapers.com 146938162. [view source]paving-the-way