Politics, police, playoffs, and more.
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🤔 5 big questions for Pittsburgh in 2021

Politics, police, playoffs, and more.

It’s officially 2021! 

While there were some bright spots in 2020, we’re happy to bid good riddance to that hellacious year and hopeful for what’s ahead.

What will this year hold for Pittsburgh? It’s impossible to say for sure, but if we look into our crystal ball, we have a few ideas of the stories we’ll be following.

Read on for the five big questions we expect answers to in 2021.

We’ll be back with a full edition tomorrow, and we can’t wait to kick off another year of The Incline with you.

Crystal ballin’ 

Flash-forward. | Tag #theinclinepgh to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @majokophoto

We’re starting the new year with a look into our crystal ball — sort of. 2020 is done, but many of its biggest stories are just getting started. That got us wondering: What 2020 local questions could find answers in 2021? 

Come with us for a glimpse of Pittsburgh's future … 

  • What will Year Two of the COVID-19 pandemic look like? The biggest news story of 2020 is likely to also be the biggest of 2021, with the pandemic's impact on schools, small businesses, renters, and more continuing to unfold. Underpinning all of that are concerns about the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Pennsylvania and the years it would take to vaccinate every resident of the commonwealth at our current pace. Here's more on the holdup, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. And here's a look at the demand being seen at the county's new distribution sites, via TribLIVE.
  • How will this presidency end? Challenges of November's election results continue in the new year, with the president still refusing to concede and some Republican lawmakers planning to defy the electoral college, all with weeks left before President-elect Joe Biden is to assume office and become the second-ever president from the Keystone State. A second-of-its-kind ballot audit is now underway in Pennsylvania, but Biden would still have enough electoral votes without the commonwealth. Meanwhile, all eyes are on Congress and any last-ditch efforts in D.C. to keep him from taking office.
  • How will Pittsburgh weather the financial storm? Pittsburgh is facing a $55 million budget hole with traditional streams of revenue — think parking, tourism, and live entertainment — severely disrupted by the pandemic. Local officials are looking to the incoming presidential administration for help. Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald discuss the "great uncertainty" facing the city and county in this interview with 90.5 WESA.
  • Will the seeds of police reform bear fruit? Pittsburgh joined a nationwide protest movement in 2020 following the police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, among others. City officials have made reforms and promised more. They've also shifted funding from the police to community-based initiatives, though not nearly as much as activists wanted, and a November ballot referendum giving more power to an independent oversight group was overwhelmingly approved by city voters. But what comes next for that measure is uncertain, with a possible legal challenge looming and questions about the measure's efficacy lingering. Here's our look ahead.
  • Will. They. Go. All. The. Way? A perfect start to the Steelers season gave way to a messy second half, but the Steelers are officially in the wild card race as they prepare to face the Browns, again, later this week. The Steelers are favored to win Sunday's home game against Cleveland, but the odds go steadily downhill after that. Here's more on the outlook from Behind the Steel Curtain.

About that last round of projections … 

We did something like this last year in outlining five questions we expected answers to in 2020. Here's a quick update on each. 

  • What’s up with the Downtown sinkhole? The sinkhole that gave us a beloved — and tattoo-worthy — namesake is now gone. But Pennsylvania's aging infrastructure (and unique geology) mean it's unlikely to be the last.  
  • What’s next for the Tree of Life synagogue? The synagogue remains closed two years after it became the site of the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history. But work is underway to rebuild and reopen the landmark with celebrities like Tom Hanks and Joanne Rogers lending their support. A trial date still hasn't been set for the suspected gunman, Robert Bowers.
  • Who will turn out for Trump? We now know how the swing state swung. Exhibit A: Here's a breakdown of Biden's "unusual, historic performance in Allegheny County" from PublicSource.
  • Will the BRT become a reality in 2020? Design work for Port Authority’s Bus Rapid Transit line is almost done and construction work could begin this year, with service starting in fall of 2023. Here's an update from the Post-Gazette.
  • Is 2020 (finally) the Pirates’ year? No, it wasn't. And 2021 isn't looking much better

💥 Help us reach our 2021 resolutions

In 2021, we want to cover more news, host more events, build community, and continue growing a business that gives back to our city every day.

So what do you say? Become a member today to help The Incline elevate the news in Pittsburgh.

Things to do 

Submit your events to our calendar.


✏️ Learn to draw zentangle after first learning what zentangle is in this class on the relaxing and meditative art form from Monroeville Public Library — multiple dates (Online

🦔 Meet some of the feathered, furry, and scaly members of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s living collection while learning about animal habitats, interesting behaviors, and exciting scientific studies — multiple dates (Online


📖 Indulge your biophilia and bibliophilia with this exploration of the connection between literature and our view of the natural world (Online)

🥁 Catch jazz legend Roger Humphries performing live for the August Wilson African American Cultural Center’s free Studio Sessions series (Online)

🐦 Learn how National Aviary specialists in Pittsburgh are helping to protect birds in the Mariana Islands from the Brown Tree Snake, an invasive species blamed for the extinction of twelve native species in Guam (Online)


🎭 Tune in for performances, interactive workshops, and more with EQT Children's Theater Festival @ Home — multiple dates (Online)


💡 Bring your words, ideas or just listen and offer your thoughts at the return of The Poetry Atelier, a weekly and free Zoom event — multiple dates (Online)

Wednesday, Jan. 13

🎹 Explore the people, places, and stories that make Pittsburgh unique with jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams in this event for early learners (Online

Thursday, Jan. 14

🔮 Take on the new year with a free vision board workshop from the Pittsburgh Professional Women group (Online)

Friday, Jan. 15

📣 Join Pennsylvania's Second Lady, Gisele Fetterman, and The Ellis School for a discussion about activism and high schoolers making authentic social change (Online)

Wednesday, Jan. 27

🌱 Explore the many options for bringing more plant-based ingredients into your cooking and baking with this lunchtime webinar from Phipps and the Pittsburgh Vegan Society — multiple dates (Online)

One more thing ....

What big questions do you see for our city in 2021? What do you want to see us write about this year? 

Hit reply or send us a note at

See you back here tomorrow.

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