Bethel Park

Kevin Lynch’s essay “The City Image and Its Elements” focuses on the elements that comprise a city. Applying the same elements on a suburb is slightly difficult. Not only does a city and suburb differ aesthetically, but functionally as well. The culture of a city and suburb are marginally similar at best. I live in Bethel Park and it lacks many elements that make a city so welcoming to pedestrians and those who just like to walk around.

Bethel Park is not quite a city. It follows the same design of many suburbs and mostly consists of residential blotches accented with strip malls and other private entities. As a result, there is minimal foot traffic in the town. Pedestrains in Bethel Park are fairly uncommon besides the occasional group of kids without a car for the night, someone walking a dog, or commuters parking and walking to one of the T stations. The town consists mostly of commuters rather than explores. Despite its lack of smaller paths and openess for exploring, it still consists of nodes and landmarks. The most notable that I am closest to is Washington Junction. Hundreds of commuters from Bethel Park and other nearby towns come to this node.  Their main objective and commonality between these commuters obviously is to go the officies they work downtown. These T stations in Bethel Park are nodes that focus on moving people out of Bethel for their 9 to 5 and then carry them home afterwards. The other primary reason people conglomerate here from nearby towns, is to go downtown for entertainment after they have finished their job related work.

I take a literal path to get to Washington Junction to commute to the Allegheny CCAC campus. Only a few dozen people walk through it, but their objective remains the same.


The most significant part of this path is it connecting to a graveyard. This graveyard just happens to be the location where Andy Warhol is buried.

This is a landmark in the purest sense because you cannot physically go inside of the grave, naturally, but can only observe it. I’m not quite sure who, perhaps extended family or a caretaker, but someone decorates the grave for the holidays. Also, the grave is constantly monitored by two Earthcams that stream video of the grave


  The T is a major path in Bethel Park connects to another major station that just happens to be by the Library, Community Center and Police Station. These spots are hearts of Bethel Park in my own mind. The local stores are next to these T stops form a small districts. Dull strip malls are the closest thing that Bethel Park has to districts but they do nonetheless. The library and community center, just like other towns, are a concentration where members  can go to for really anything. Many locals host an array of public classes from yoga, zumba, and I even taught fencing there as well. Despite the lack of hustle and bustle that makes a city interesting, Bethel Park is still a great place.


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