Pittsburgh: through the eyes of our crossing guards

They are friendly. They are focused. They are the gatekeepers of our city’s intersections. Here’s a look at the public servants helping Pittsburgh safely cross the street.

by Aadam Soorma
April 17, 2019

You can also find this video on our Facebook page here

During a recent brainstorming session, our team of storytellers had a very meta moment.

We asked ourselves: Who could we turn to (as writers and creatives) to have a thoughtful conversation about what makes this city uniquely Pittsburgh?

Our discussion traversed the hills and valleys until a slow drizzle crescendoed into an idea shower.

Sure. We’ve all interacted with therapeutic bartenders, chatty Lyft drivers, fiery sports coaches and whimsical artists. We’ve been inspired by the nonprofit community and wowed by technology leaders.

Folks who keep Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh

But what about a group of Pittsburghers that touches the lives of ALL people; of all ages? A group that is seemingly ready to spring into action, right when you need them. A group that exudes its own vibe: friendly, but focused.

Our aim is to share the stories of Pittsburghers who keep Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh. The folks who do what they do every day and often don’t get the credit they deserve.

So, we continued with our list: baristas, receptionists, tree trimmers, the crews who fix the potholes…after we filled a whiteboard or two, the answer was clear.

Helping Pittsburgh cross the street

Very Local is a website dedicated to telling local Pittsburgh stories. We want to make it easier for you to cross a bridge or a street and explore something new in your hometown.

So we had to start with the Pittsburghers who are already helping us cross the street.

We decided to tell the story of Pittsburgh through the eyes of our city’s crossing guards.

Our team caught up with crossing guards in the Hill District, North Side and Sheraden to capture a confluence of narratives that we felt converged on the one thing we all share in common: Pittsburgh.


A huge thank you to the City of Pittsburgh’s public safety office for helping to make this possible. And a special hat tip to our featured crossing guards for sharing a few moments at their intersections with us.

In 2012, Aadam moved to Pittsburgh. He's currently parked (sans chair) in Lawrenceville and plans to stay a while. On the weekends, you'll find him driving a small green bus (Porter Tours) as he leads tours at local breweries. Got a fun story idea? DMs are open: @asoorma.

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