BikePGH!

A Different Idea….

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ericf

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Aug 5 2013 at 9:49am #

When I drive around town, I am always on the lookout for better ways to get around by bike. One thing that stands out to me (bear with me before you start yelling please) are the miles of deserted sidewalk.
There are certain areas where I think a shared sidewalk would be a much safer route for bicycles. These areas are not residential, or commercial, with a few if any curb cuts.
These observations are from the East End / suburbs:
One Wild Place from the bottom, to Negley Avenue
Negley Run from the bottom, to East Liberty Blvd.

Is this kind of thing done officially? Instead of sharing the road, why not share the sidewalk?


Mr. Destructicity

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Aug 5 2013 at 10:06am #

You’re totally allowed to ride on the sidewalk, as long as it’s not a “business district.”

http://www.shippd.org/pa%20titles/PAbikelaws.pdf (Section 3508, on page 3)

Having said that, a lot of Pittsburgh areas have really narrow sidewalks and many of the cyclists I see using them completely fail to yield to pedestrians the way they’re supposed to.


jonawebb

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Aug 5 2013 at 10:07am #

You are certainly allowed to ride on the sidewalk in those areas. It’s allowed everywhere but in business districts. But I generally prefer the road, because the sidewalks are narrow and often have things that slow you down — light poles etc — and there is also the risk of pedestrians.


Kordite

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Aug 5 2013 at 10:07am #

To the best of my knowledge, the legal prohibition concerning bikes on sidewalks is for commercial areas. Residential areas are exempt so, in these areas, bikes on sidewalks is legally acceptable so people can ride those sidewalks nw

But, I also know that declaring a sidewalk as multi-use for both bikes and pedestrians, has some design prerequisites. I don’t know the details but I think it has to be a certain width and perhaps other criteria before you can start putting up signs and laying down pavement markings.


rsprake

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Aug 5 2013 at 10:13am #

You can do it, just don’t be a jerk. Go slow if there are people around.


ericf

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Aug 5 2013 at 12:26pm #

I understand the rules as far as not in a business district, etc. I was thinking of an official designation with signs and markings, along with a no bikes on the road restriction in these areas.


jonawebb

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Aug 5 2013 at 12:28pm #

ericf wrote:along with a no bikes on the road restriction in these areas.

You just touched the third rail…


reddan

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Aug 5 2013 at 1:21pm #

along with a no bikes on the road restriction in these areas.

I think your avatar is very appropriate in this context. ;-)


JaySherman5000

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Aug 5 2013 at 1:30pm #

ericf wrote:I was thinking of an official designation with signs and markings, along with a no bikes on the road restriction in these areas.

Have you seen the roadways in Pittsburgh, with the potholes, cracks, and whatnot that create hazards? In most of the areas you’re talking about, the sidewalks are even worse: 50 year-old trees have cracked the sidewalks and in some cases created cliffs between adjacent blocks of pavement high enough to repel down. In my neighborhood (Regent Square) the sidewalks are generally a mish-mash of well maintained by responsible homeowners and downright abused sections of concrete that are jagged and crumbling. And don’t even get me started about what happens when it snows….

I appreciate someone trying to think outside the box to create a workable solution, but banning bikes from the roadway shows a clear lack of creative thinking and is tantamount to caving into the auto-centric way of life that ruined cities to begin with.


StuInMcCandless

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Aug 5 2013 at 3:21pm #

I would much rather see replacing a parking lane with about 400 traffic cones to make a two-way cycle track, than to intermix cycling and pedestrians on a sidewalk.


ericf

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Aug 6 2013 at 6:18am #

I expected but don’t understand the negative response. Maybe this isn’t creative thinking, just common sense thinking. If you offer me a protected multi-use path in exchange for a dangerous street, I will take it every time.


edmonds59

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Aug 6 2013 at 6:35am #

I am not willing to accept a “no bikes on the street” condition in trade for anything. Road and commuting cyclists travel anywhere from 15 to 30 mph, do not belong on sidewalks, and it would be an effective ban on them in those areas. And it is a dangerous precedent to set, if not on the street here, then why not there, and there………


Mikhail

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Aug 6 2013 at 6:50am #

ericf wrote:If you offer me a protected multi-use path in exchange for a dangerous street, I will take it every time.

One Wild Place — going up is pretty slow but still around 8-9 mph for me and I am slow/ Some people are going like 15 mph. Going down… I easily hit 35 without pedaling. There is no problem to keep with traffic on West Liberty Ave (like ajbooth told) and speed limit is 35 but traffic goes 40. There is no way it’ safe for pedestrians.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe

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Aug 6 2013 at 7:10am #

One Wild Place is so wide throughout much of it, PAT buses often idle on it. I’d rather see bike lanes at the bottom and sharrows at the top. Plus, the sidewalk is just on the one side. Transitioning from sidewalk back to street would be tricky in a plan like what OP proposes – could create a more dangerous circumstance. (Not to mention there is a bus stop on the sidewalk that somehow sees a lot of use).


Marko82

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Aug 6 2013 at 7:35am #

I think the idea of multi-use sidewalks on streets like One Wild Place is a good one. It would allow people who don’t feel comfortable riding in traffic the ability to ride to places where they probably wouldnt. I guess I only take exception to the ‘bikes not allowed in the street’ portion of the plan. But that doesnt stop the multi-use sidewalk from being a decent idea. I saw a lot of these in DC the last time I was down there, and would be interested to know how useful & safe they are for both cyclist and pedestrians. How these sidewalks are maintained would also be an issue.


Drewbacca

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Aug 6 2013 at 7:53am #

Mikhail wrote:I easily hit 35 without pedaling.

Pictures, or it didn’t happen! You must butter those bearings daily! :P


ericf

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Aug 6 2013 at 8:14am #

Just like any other multi-use path, there would be a speed limit. The burden would be on cyclists to watch out for pedestrians.
As far as “giving up the road”, safety is the reason. Negley Run in particular is a race track. I don’t care how much cake you eat, you are not keeping up with traffic there.
Not to single out anyone, but I see quite a few racers on the way to the oval mixing it up there and frankly it is not safe. They create a hazard.
The sidewalk on the one side goes the whole way from the intersection at Washington Blvd to East Liberty Blvd. bike lane. There would be no transition back to the street. There is also an underpass that crosses E.L.B., but I don’t know where it comes out.
One Wild Place is different, as stated above it is wide, and traffic is much slower there. To me it is just easy fruit, in that it has limited curb cuts, and goes the whole way to North Negley from the bottom, again with no transition back to the street.
Both of these areas are probably 1/2 mile -1 mile long, restricting road access is not going to slow anyone down enough to make a difference in their commute.


edmonds59

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Aug 6 2013 at 9:13am #

“Not to single out anyone, but I see quite a few racers on the way to the oval mixing it up there and frankly it is not safe. They create a hazard.”
Except you got this exactly backwards. That is kind of a surprising interpretation of the situation. The “racers” are utilizing the road in an entirely legal manner, and they are not the ones creating the hazard.


ericf

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Aug 6 2013 at 10:13am #

@Edmonds59,
Although “the racers” are legally using the road, and they do so in a safe manner, most drivers react poorly to cycles in heavy traffic.
I say cyclists should ride wherever they want, but when the idiot driving beside me is freaking out, slamming on brakes in the middle of 2 lanes of traffic, because a cyclist choose to ride in the left lane of 2 lanes full of traffic, then the cyclist is causing the hazard.


Mick

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Aug 6 2013 at 10:23am #

I can’t see having a downhill like One Wild Place or Negley Run where the bicyclist are limited to the sidewalk. The speeds bikes tend to go would be unsafe toward pedestrians – and even for the bikers.

I would be totally OK with uphill travel on One Wild Place being sidewalk only, although I’m guessing some might object.

With Negley run? There is this little parklet off of it that I checked out at about 9 am one day. Filled with broken bottles and lots of little emply crack bags. I want to be out on the street if I go near there after dark.

Um… and “idiot drivers freaking out” is not caused in any way by bicyclists. Plenty of drivers shouldn’t.


jonawebb

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Aug 6 2013 at 10:28am #

PA 3301(c) makes clear that cyclists shouldn’t be in the left lane unless they are planning on turning left.


JaySherman5000

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Aug 6 2013 at 11:15am #

ericf wrote:I expected but don’t understand the negative response. Maybe this isn’t creative thinking, just common sense thinking.

Except that what you proposed is the opposite of common sense thinking. Instead of enforcing the traffic laws or treating those sections of roadway with the necessary implementations to stop the biggest threat to safety (cars) from acting unsafely, you want to move the group that does the least damage to roadway, and is arguably the safest group using the road, to the sidewalk like petulant children…



wait a minute

5/10 for getting responses. troll harder.


Marko82

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Aug 6 2013 at 11:37am #

jonawebb wrote:PA 3301(c) makes clear that cyclists shouldn’t be in the left lane unless they are planning on turning left.

Which you would be doing if you are coming down Negley Run and going to the Oval. So the question is how far from the intersection were the “racers”? And the faster the traffic, the earlier “I” would move over to the left lane. YMMV, but waiting to merge at the last minute is surely not the safest way to ride/drive.


Benzo

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Aug 6 2013 at 12:33pm #

jonawebb wrote:PA 3301(c) makes clear that cyclists shouldn’t be in the left lane unless they are planning on turning left.

The allowed amount of distance from the turn they are intending to make is not defined. I often ride the far left lane (adjacent to the bus lane on 5th ave) from bigelow blvd to meyran ave. Which is 4 blocks, so that I don’t have to try to merge through 3 lanes of traffic. Is this legal? I intend on turning left after a couple blocks.


Steven

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Aug 6 2013 at 1:13pm #

You can be in the left lane there if you’re “preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into an alley, private road or driveway” (3301(c)) or if it would be unsafe to do otherwise (3505(c)). Seems to me, both of those would apply, but you only need one to make it legal.


edmonds59

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Aug 6 2013 at 1:45pm #

ericf, nothing in your further elucidation of the conditions convinces me that the cyclists are creating the problem. As Marko said, if you are headed to the oval, you should be in the left lane at the bottom of Negley Run. It sounds convincingly like it is drivers driving inappropriately and too fast for conditions. I don’t mean to trivialize another serious circumstance, but your argument is not too much different from recommending that women not wear provocative clothing because men can’t control themselves.
If you really want to get to the root of the problem, one of the causes of the “conflict” is the design of Negley Run itself, that road needs to go on a radical road diet. There is no way it should be 2 lanes each way, that encourages driving faster than the 35 mph speed limit. That road need to be de-highway-ized.
If casual cyclists want to ride on the sidewalk there, that is entirely legal and fine. If we want to build more mixed use paths so less “hard core” riders feel more comfortable and ride more, that’s awesome too.
Trading off the right to use the road as some kind of bargaining chip to obtain those other measures is a step too far and unacceptable.


Mikhail

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Aug 6 2013 at 1:54pm #

Drewbacca wrote:

Mikhail wrote:I easily hit 35 without pedaling.

Pictures, or it didn’t happen! You must butter those bearings daily! :P

Well, we have to ask someone who rides with Team Decaf and has camera.

PS My weight is 250 plus two water bottles plus bike. That is enough to hit 25 mph on a small hill from HMB toward to Sand Castle. But it’s very hard to go up. :)


Mikhail

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Aug 6 2013 at 2:10pm #

ericf wrote:because a cyclist choose to ride in the left lane of 2 lanes full of traffic, then the cyclist is causing the hazard.
Quot

Left lane is for the reason (and it’s legal). They make left turn on Washington and then left turn again to the Oval. and it’s not th cyclists that causing the hazard — it’s a driver that cannot estimate his/her own speed, keep attention on the road and control the his/her vehicle.


Mikhail

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Aug 6 2013 at 2:13pm #

jonawebb wrote:PA 3301(c) makes clear that cyclists shouldn’t be in the left lane unless they are planning on turning left.

And in this particular case — left and then left again.


jonawebb

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Aug 6 2013 at 2:14pm #

Hmm. OK, first of all your weight nothing to do with how fast you can go downhill, as Galileo showed. And while I can see topping out at 35 mph I don’t think you could go much beyond that, unless you’re incredibly aero. But maybe you are. I’m always amazed that racers regularly exceed 50 mph on downhill runs.
I don’t know Negley Run and have certainly been in situations where it was safer and better to take the left lane sooner rather than later. If there’s a lot of traffic in the middle lane, say, it can be really hard to move over, especially if motorists behind you start honking and passing on the left when you do. And I think cyclists have just about the best view possible of what condition the road and traffic are in, so they can be be the best judge. But I don’t think it’s the intent of the law to allow you to take the left lane well in advance of your turn — not that you’re likely to get a ticket for doing so. Maybe it would be good to consider — just consider — whether this is the best strategy; if it is, fine, go with it. If I could slow down closer to the turn and create a safe opportunity to move from the right lane to the left, I would do that instead.


Mikhail

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Aug 6 2013 at 2:21pm #

jonawebb wrote:Hmm. OK, first of all your weight nothing to do with how fast you can go downhill, as Galileo showed.

You forgot to tell “in vacuum”. In air — 9 gram bullet is gong to go down much faster than 9 gram geese feather. So for bicyclist you have to consider the sum of all forces. Taking into account that at 25 mph 85% of energy you produce is working against air resistance and that my Cd is not that larger than 150 lbs rider assuming aerodynamic position — as a result I have approximately 1.7 times more forces moving me forward in compare to 150 lbs bicyclist.


jonawebb

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Aug 6 2013 at 2:23pm #

And 1.7 times more momentum to overcome in moving you downhill…


Mikhail

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Aug 6 2013 at 2:30pm #

jonawebb wrote:And 1.7 times more momentum to overcome in moving you downhill…

And? Or you did not count air resistance?

Did you ever try to drop a piece of lead and feather of the same weight from, say, 1 meter down and measure the speed? Try it and you would be surprised. :)


Drewbacca

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Aug 6 2013 at 2:38pm #

Thread derailment: Successful. LOL

My top coasting speed is currently 39mph. I may have gone faster but I only recently started carrying a Garmin. That’s on a road that is longer, steeper, and straighter than One Wild Place. If you hit 35mph (coasting), then I’m desperately in need of new tires and a hub repack.


ericf

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Aug 6 2013 at 2:41pm #

I guess I just don’t get it. ‘Nuff said. Seems like some of you want everything without giving anything in return. More power to ya !
Road bans are already in place, on every interstate highway.


andyc

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Aug 6 2013 at 2:42pm #

Don’t forget about the strategy of crossing the intersection in the right lane, stopping, turning around on the sidewalk, and reentering the perpendicular road to go straight. This can be much less stressful.

I currently employ this tactic at 5th and Bigelow to get down to Schenley park. It’s much easier than getting out into the far left – especially with all the merging traffic due to construction there.


andyc

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Aug 6 2013 at 2:44pm #

wow – this thread really changed a lot between the time that I started writing, had some actual work to do, and then finished.


jonawebb

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Aug 6 2013 at 2:51pm #

@mikhail, heavier cyclists do have a (slightly) higher terminal velocity–at high speeds your airflow is non-laminar, so you’re dealing with a cubic relationship between speed and force. So I still don’t think you easily break 35 mph while coasting down One Wild Place, as you said.
@ericf, as I said, third rail. People here really don’t want to give up the right to ride on the road in exchange for well-designed separated cycletracks. Sidewalks, forget about it.


JaySherman5000

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Aug 6 2013 at 2:54pm #

jonawebb wrote:
…well-designed separated cycletracks…

now there’s an oxymoron if I ever read one!


Mikhail

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Aug 6 2013 at 2:55pm #

Drewbacca wrote:Thread derailment: Successful. LOL
My top coasting speed is currently 39mph. I may have gone faster but I only recently started carrying a Garmin. That’s on a road that is longer, steeper, and straighter than One Wild Place. If you hit 35mph (coasting), then I’m desperately in need of new tires and a hub repack.

My top coasting speed is 47. We specifically reset our bicycles computers on our PMTCC ride to Midland.

Just for the fun — today’s Team Decaf ride is going through HMB. I can show you my 25 mph at that small hill.

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