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Comment on preliminary plans for Bakery Square 2.0


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Walnut Capital, the development company behind Bakery Square and now Bakery Square 2.0 is asking for the bike community’s feedback on preliminary designs for the new Bakery Square 2.0 Development. The timing is good falling closely on the heels of the paper street article that talks about the “Great Northeast Passage” that everyone would like to see saved and made better/safer. You’ll see from the preliminary designs that better connections are made into Shadyside, and a new bike/ped connection is being added (lime green line). However, the biggest change is that they now want to eliminate a large section of the bike trail (dark green line) that runs parallel to Penn in favor of a slow/shared street through the middle of the development (turquoise line). Please comment on these plans below and we will make sure Walnut Capital receives them.

20 Responses to “Comment on preliminary plans for Bakery Square 2.0”

  1. rsprake says:

    If anything the existing path on Penn Ave should not be removed but improved and extended to Penn Circle.

  2. mat says:

    This is much needed. I bike from Oakland to Bakery square and back almost daily via Ellsworth and the area between where the path on Penn Ave ends and Ellsworth begins is a nightmare. My options when biking from Bakery Square are to either cross Penn and bike with traffic for 3 blocks then turn onto Shady ave across two lanes of heavy traffic and onto Ellsworth or ride the sidewalk where the path ends and cut through the Giant Eagle parking lot to Ellsworth.

    Both of these options are terrible, riding on Penn for those 3 blocks is a nightmare with traffic congestion and riding the sidewalk/parking lot is difficult with pedestrians and bus stops. I love this proposed bypass as it will make this ride much easier, however, I wish it went to Ellsworth instead of down to Denniston St.

    I also agree with the previous commenter that it would be nice to have a path up to Penn Circle from Bakery Square as this proposed route will make that commute harder than it already is if they eliminate the section of path along Penn Ave.

  3. Beth says:

    Well this plan is
    better than no plan, But, it would be nice if the Mellon Park path continued along Penn instead jogging behind the buildings. Like the comments above, I too would like to see a path all the way up to Penn Circle and safe connection to Ellsworth.

  4. Pseudacris says:

    I am thrilled to see Social Way preserved and a bike thru-way, presuming it is public 24-7.

    The transition from bike trail to on-street bike route at the corner of Penn Ave & Putnam seems like it could be a dangerous mix for Cars, Bikes & Peds: lots of right and left hooks waiting to happen, possibly frustration on the part of drivers presuming bikes are leaping off the sidewalks.

    This whole zone is a critical link up between Ellsworth /Penn Circle/Reynolds/Hamilton/Beechwood/Walnut.

    The paths are going to vary depending on if the cyclist is going to work, home, shopping, school, church or gym/recreational facilities.

    Perhaps the “Major Pedestrian Intersections” would be a good area to field test separate lights for cyclists and cars, too?

    A big thanks to Walnut Capital for consulting with Bike Pittsburgh and the cycling community about the design.

  5. unicyclemike says:

    Indianapolis uses some stained concrete through their downtown to have a great multi use sidewalks along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

    http://tinyurl.com/indy-shared-sidewalk

    This might be a good way to continue the trail from Mellon Park to East Liberty Blvd. Hopefully they won’t get rid of this small section of bike path.

  6. salty says:

    The existing bike path has some serious issues: crossing Putnam is already a hazard, it’s difficult to safely transition to/from either ELB or Penn, and if there’s a way to extend the path further west without putting Penn on a road diet (which could also solve this problem) I can’t see it.

    That being said, we don’t have much separated bike infrastructure to begin with, this path is a well-used connection and there has to be a better solution than eliminating it. I’d imagine people will continue to ride on the sidewalk both because it’s the shortest path and because the fact you’re supposed to loop around behind the buildings might not be apparent.

    Otherwise, I’d really like to seea pedestrian connection in the southwest corner, on Denniston/Aurelia where the gate is now.

  7. jonawebb says:

    When I travel this way I’m heading down Penn to get to East Liberty shops from Shadyside. I don’t see the benefit of the diversion of the bike trail through Bakery Square. The existing trail/sidewalk is not great but at least it’s a straight shot.

  8. Astrobiker says:

    I’m very glad to see the significant focus on making a good connection to Shadyside from Mellon Park.

    I’m opposed to giving up the Mellon Park bike path between Putnam and East Liberty Blvd. I fear that it’s symbolically and practically giving up on the idea of extending good bicycle access from Bakery Square to the East Liberty Transit Center and the general area of Centre Ave and Penn Circle.

    If the loss of the bike/ped path were combined with actual work on a connection between East Liberty Blvd. to Shady Ave and eventually Penn Circle, then it would be a fine tradeoff.

    I share the concerns about the Putnam – Penn Ave intersection. In either configuration, this is going to need some good planning, design, marking, signing to ensure safe access and use by all.

  9. Deraillipede says:

    I don’t come down this way very often, but the few times I have, that bike path that parallels Penn Ave has been really helpful. I wouldn’t eliminate it. Penn Ave is pretty dangerous and I appreciate any alternative to it.

  10. I hope someone will actually enforce that the trails are bike/ped trails and not parking areas. As Salty and others have discussed on the board, during games and other events at the park, the ends of both trails, along Penn and behind the baseball diamonds, are used as overflow parking. That needs to stop.

  11. William Lovas says:

    I bike between Shadyside and Bakery Square daily, and

    (a) I would *love* to have a real bike/pedestrian connection between Shadyside and Larimer, something that’s always been lacking,
    (b) I’d especially love reopening the gate at the end of Marchand St, behind Reizenstein’s parking lot (echoing salty’s suggestion?) — that always used to be the best way, before the school closed (though I’d grant that it might not make sense as part of the redevelopment) — and
    (c) I’d hate to lose the beautiful Penn Ave bike route — although it’s short, it feels like a stronghold and a seed for growth, and i’ve always been proud of the city for having it there.

    I’m a little confused that the “Proposed Bike Connector” on p. 5 coincides largely with the “Pedestrian Way” on p. 6 — will there be some separation, or is the plan to make the path wide enough to accomodate both foot and bike traffic, like the city’s river trails?

    Whatever happens with the connector, it’s got to be better than the current solution of punching through the hole in the fence at Social Way and Festival Way and riding through hazardous rocky gravel and broken glass.

    Thanks to Walnut Capital for seeking input and taking cyclists and pedestrians seriously!

  12. mar says:

    The bike path along PENN should stay as is and KEEP the trees in place. Right now the broad tree lined path is a safe and straight connection up pass Mellon Park. Having to turn into the new complex is confusing and would also require sharing the road with cars.

    An overhead pedestrian bridge should be added to connect people between the two campuses. All parking for the new offices / commercial / retail shops is planned to be in the current parking garage. There will be an increase in the people traffic across Penn between parking and the new complex. Much safer and easier with a enclosed overhead bridge for people to walk OVER Penn.

  13. paytonc says:

    The trouble with having bikes continue along the south side of Penn Ave is that soon there will be sidewalk-facing retail on that stretch. Plus, a trail there wouldn’t connect to any facilities on its west side.

    That said, I’m not so sure about sending bikes through alleys. I personally use alleys all the time (and would be terribly tempted to cut through that townhouse alley to get to the park at right), but most alleys have poor sight lines. The site plan they’ve presented doesn’t offer any alternatives, though: only 19 of the 90 townhouses appear to even have front doors facing a street; the rest seem to only have rear doors. Sure, I like courtyards, but this arrangement seems to guarantee that people will only ever drive in & out of their houses.

  14. bakerysquare says:

    Thanks for all of the great comments. We are looking at creating separate bike and pedestrian paths, clearly marked to cross through Bakery Square 2.0 providing a connection with Shadyside, Larimer, and East Liberty. No design will ever be perfect, it always involves a weighing of the “pluses and minuses”. We do believe that it is critical to create a bike link between Bakery Square and the new East Liberty Transit Center, along Penn Avenue, and we are working with the URA and Mosities Company to include this in their designs. Stay tuned for more design updates as we are further refining our connections. Be assured the whole team is very bike friendly and are frequent users of these bike route for commuting and recreation. Keep giving us good comments!

  15. scott says:

    Thanks to everyone who has already weighed in. It would be great to get another handful of comments so please don’t be shy.

    It seems so far that people really love that the Great Northeast Passage is going to become more legit. It also seems clear that people would love to see some type of bike facility continue in front of BkSq 2/alongside Penn. @unicyclemike linked to a good photo describing how that could be made a reality. Here is another. This one is on the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland: http://www.nowpublic.com/world/marking-lanes-shared-bike-pedestrian-sidewalk.

    I also saw a good example of how to do this while I was in Long Beach, CA for the Pro Walk Pro Bike conference last month. All they did was stripe a bidirectional bike lane on top of a wide sidewalk. It worked great. As long as the sidewalk in front of the development is at least 12 feet wide this should be simple.

    Thanks so much to everyone for weighing in, and a BIG thank you to Walnut Capital for reaching out to us. Again, if anyone else has any ideas please comment.

  16. flyS564 says:

    I ride through there several times per week coming from or to Regent Square. I typically take Thomas Blvd the whole way down and cross Penn Ave and take the trail down to Bksq. This isn’t too terrible and I know I have the option of taking the route two streets down to come behind Bksq but I think my frustration is where I have to pretend to be a pedestrian in order to do anything safely. Bksq to Penn circle is where I find most of my frustration. I usually come down Center ave towards Target and ride Penn ave all the way to the trail where I have to deal with high speed traffic, patiently waiting for stopped busses etc. Once I get to 5th Ave, I cross the street like a pedestrian, then cross 5th ave and get on the road and head to Thomas.

    I’m sure if I went straight at Center ave and took the back roads behind target, I would be less frustrated but it just feels safer to stick to the main roads. That whole area from 5th to Penn Circle isn’t good for any cyclist, beginner or advanced.

  17. Benzo says:

    I use mellon park as a connector when coming from regent square to lawrenceville. I would really like the existing trail that enters from beechwood blvd to and connects further away from penn on putnam st to be preserved.

    I currently route from reynolds st, to beechwood blvd, through mellon park on the path further from penn ave, to the paper street which connects to howe st, to aiken ave, to liberty ave to main st.

    I think it would be better to have bicycle traffic entering the development area further away from penn ave for those who are using the development as a connector to east liberty boulevard and shadyside (via festival st/social way), as opposed to visiting bakery square, will help avoid conflicts at and around the intersection of penn ave and putnam st.

    Also, another bonus of using the path further from penn ave is that there are typically fewer pedestrians on this path, as they tend to stick closer to penn ave. Since the existing paths are relatively narrow, cyclists have to be much more cautious in respecting pedestrians right of way.

  18. JustRay says:

    Much like Benzo, I use this connector frequently, moving from Shadyside to the park, Regent Square, et al — and back again. It’s a vital link between those neighborhoods.

    The bike plan looks promising — you’ve got two good entrance points at Marchand and Social Way. This is a very good start, and to be honest, I think it could work. The biggest challenges I see, and these aren’t (and/or can’t be) addressed in this design are: keeping the trees on Penn Avenue and the condition of the social way from Denniston to the development.

    The trees really help cut down on the highway feel of that stretch of Penn Avenue and would be a great addition to the development. New plantings couldn’t achieve those goals, and the existing trees need to be kept.

    If you’re going to be encouraging the use of Social Way, who is going to be repaving/modernizing/lighting that section?

    And as you are indicating Social Way as a ‘Pedestrian Way,’ is the intent to close that stretch off to car traffic? That’s an interesting idea, but I’m curious how you’ll convince the property owners that it’s a good idea.

  19. pghec says:

    Having lived over 10 years near there, I really hope they don’t cut down all those majestic, mature, healthy beautiful trees along Penn Avenue. Please keep both them and the generous sidewalk beside them. A lot of us residents have lost a lot along the way including the pleasant scent of bread baking from the old bakery. Please don’t kill those trees!

  20. bakerysquare says:

    Not sure what you mean by “a lot of us residents have lost a lot along the way”.
    The development at Bakery Square has created over 1,000 new jobs, many high paying technology sector positions. Nabisco peek employment was never over 400 workers. The bike path, traffic signals and road improvements have benefited the whole community. Nearby residents now have more choices on where to eat, shop, stay and play. Bakery Square is a Platinum LEEDs certified building with one of the largest solar arrays in the City on its roof. We have created public open space, where none existed. Stop by on any weekend to see people enjoying the Coffee Tree’s outdoor seating. How have the “residents” lost due to Bakery Square.

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