Bates Street

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Jul 23 2010 at 6:31pm #

Ok, so I live in Oakland, and make frequent trips to the South Side. Since I live in South Oakland, going all the way to Neville is worse than just riding my bike down the sidewalk on Bates Street. HOWEVER, Bates Street is stuck in the 1960s and has handicap-INaccessible curbs on the off-ramp from 376 inbound. Therefore, the curb drops off and begins again.

My question, how does one go about getting a handicap-accessible curb put in? Is 311 the only answer? Is there a more direct or louder way?

Nick D

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Jul 23 2010 at 7:23pm #

Why don’t you ride on the street? I could understand riding on the sidewalk up, but down, I don’t know why you wouldn’t


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Jul 23 2010 at 8:23pm #

Raphael, it’s interesting that you bring this up. I’m actually working as an intern at the Pittsburgh City Planning Dept. and I’m working with a few people on the issue of Bates Street accessibility.

One of the pressing issues as hand is that the Eliza Furnace Trail bridge over Bates Street is slated for reconstruction soon due to overhead clearance issues. Currently, full-size buses and trucks cannot use Bates because of this. The issue with this is that the unofficial trail access right there from Bates street will be rendered physically impassable and there are no new planned access to the trail facility at Bates. The traffic plan thus forces all bikes and peds to cross Second Ave at the light at Bates, and in my opinion totally renders the Hot Metal Bridge overpass over Second Ave. useless to those in Oakland.

Our intent is to make the city aware of these issues, like the two non-ADA-compliant curbs along the Bates sidewalk, as well as possibly allowing for a new trail access point at Bates.

In the interim however, I would take Nick’s suggestion that it would be easier to ride down Bates on the street itself and ride uphill on the sidewalk. As for the curbs, use discretion based on the traffic (either totally stopped or light) as to whether you should either dismount at the curbs or use the driveway cuts to briefly and semi-illegally ride on the edge of the street in the opposite direction. I know I do the latter in some cases when safe, but please use caution.


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Jul 23 2010 at 8:55pm #

good news that the trail overpass is being looked at. every time I go under it I think it’s about to fall apart.


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Jul 23 2010 at 9:10pm #

When I lived at the posh palace at bates and the

blvd, there would be a big truck stuck under that

thing like 5x a year. That bridge is ready to come



Private Message

Jul 24 2010 at 1:19am #

Like Steevo, I’ve seen several trucks stuck under that bridge and now I’m scared to even run over it. Seriously scary.


Private Message

Jul 24 2010 at 3:21am #

What can we/BikePgh do to preserve trail access from Bates St. It would suck to lose it – after Ian pointed out to me how out of the way Junction Hollow is compared to Bates (not to mention dealing with the abysmal connection to the EFT), I take Bates a lot more often now.

I agree, ride down the hill on the street, ride up the sidewalk. And that first missing curb cut sucks bad – the second one is pretty easy to hop but the first one is a little too tall for comfort.


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Jul 24 2010 at 5:01am #

Some might see the height restriction as a “feature” (reducing traffic) rather than a “bug” to be fixed. Is the bridge actually structurally unsound? Wouldn’t such a span have to be in pretty terrible shape before it couldn’t support the weight of bikers and joggers?

I definitely want to keep the Bates-Jail Trail link between the trail system and the city streets system, and am glad to step up and join in with others who feel the same way.

the unofficial trail access right there from Bates street will be rendered physically impassable

Pretty awesome how the city puts up directional signs on unofficial routes. Do you think we could get some of those on Sylvan Avenue, or over the train tracks at the end of the Jail Trail, or maybe “bike trail” signs right next to the “no bikes” signs at the south end of the Hot Metal Bridge?


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Jul 24 2010 at 7:19am #

“Since I live in South Oakland, going all the way to Neville is worse than just riding my bike down the sidewalk on Bates Street.”

Instead of going all the way to Neville, you could try Dawson south to Swinburne, then Greenfield and onto the trail. Not as direct as Bates, but better than going all the way up to Neville.

It’s probably not the weight of joggers, but the weight of the bridge itself (plus maybe snow and ice). And the trucks that keep hitting it.


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Jul 24 2010 at 11:24am #

A little embarrassing that the planning department is working on access along the Bates corridor. This should fall to Public Works to assess, design and construct improvements for the corridor. And why the planning department and not the URA, who funded the design and will fund the construction of the new bridge?

Is there triple redundancy in city government, or do we simply need to eliminate the URA and send the people to planning and public works?


Private Message

Jul 24 2010 at 3:43pm #

I don’t think it was the URA who funded either design or re-construction of the bridge. This was on the SPC’s TIP, and is funded with federal $$. If you want more information about the design for the overpass reconstruction, contact Mavis Rainey at OTMA. I haven’t seen the plans myself, and don’t know if they include bike access to the trail or not. Mavis is also the person to ask about accessibility and curb-cuts in sidewalks in Oakland.


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Jul 24 2010 at 4:49pm #

Also, I don’t ride in the street on Bates because there is either bumper-to-bumper traffic or people go like 60. When it is the latter, I even feel unsafe walking because the curb is about 1cm higher than the street. It wouldn’t take much to get plowed over by a car who goes like 1 foot off the road.


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Jul 24 2010 at 9:32pm #

The bridge is being funded by either PCTI dollars from PennDOT or stimulus funds (can’t remember). Anyway, the reason to redesign it is solely to allow tractor trailers more clearance. The last I heard they weren’t planning to shut off trail access there, but I can find out.


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Jul 25 2010 at 9:45pm #

depending on how the lights hit i take 2nd ave to the hot metal bridge about half the time… if i see the light turn red then i take the trail, if i don’t i just continue down to 2nd ave… it really isn’t that dangerous compared to bates, you just wait on the left side of the left lane and cut over to the sidewalk and take the ramp up, if there were a bike lane at that intersection i think that would be a fine replacement for people going to the southside, and a little inconvenient for going into downtown.


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Jul 25 2010 at 10:34pm #

It just seems to me that the whole idea of doing this project had its roots in trucks not being able to get through there, and if it were up to just the trucks, they’d just have the whole bridge busted up and never mind anyone else and who gives a crap about bicycles fercryingoutloud. Well, it’s not like they need to worry about holding up train traffic anymore, which is why this bridge wasn’t fixed in, say, 1967.

OK, this is 2010. So trucks need to get through there. The question I want to know whether or not this is being addressed is: In the design of what we’re going to end up with, to what extent are bicycles and pedestrians being considered? That would include:

— Continued access once construction is underway.

— Access to the trail from above (Bates) and below (Second Ave or Technology Dr).

— Exposure of bicycles and pedestrians to increased truck traffic.

I want to know whether we got any more than a throw-them-a-fish paragraph in some traffic study (e.g., “cycling access will be maintained”). As others have pointed out in this thread and others, this is a major entry point to Oakland.

One thing I would like to see included in any traffic study is the Nobody Dares Think About This Question question: What if gasoline goes to $10/gallon in today’s dollars, and a whole helluvalot more people (like an order of magnitude more) are getting around by bicycle? What does that do to your traffic study?


Private Message

Jul 25 2010 at 10:37pm #

Or what if pat cuts their bus service and more people are getting around by bike?


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Jul 26 2010 at 12:30am #

Stu: they are going to detour bike traffic onto 2nd ave.

A previous thread on the subject:


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Jul 26 2010 at 2:55pm #

To clear up some information about the subject…

From what I’ve gathered, the planned detour (and what’s apparently claimed as future Bates Street-to-trail access) will be the small entrance about 1000 feet west along 2nd Ave. from the Bates Street intersection. It has 3 steps and a ADA compliant ramp, however, it is most certainly not ADA compliant from that ramp along 2nd Ave. to Bates Street, as there is no real sidewalk and instead all that’s there currently is this hokey Belgian brick surface between the road and the trail wall.

So what we’re pressing over at the Department of City Planning is the fact that even if the new trail bridge were raised and moved closer to the parkway that in the area between the trail and 2nd Ave at Bates they could have accommodated for a ramp of sorts as there presumably would have been room (I haven’t seen the plans specifically). The second issue is that two other ways one could get to the trail: 1000ft west along 2nd Ave and the ramp to Hot Metal on the other side, are anything BUT ADA accessible (to get to from Bates at least) in their current form.

I believe this is a PennDOT project, but some aspects have Public Works involvement, like the reconstruction of the sidewalks at the Bates-2nd intersection that’s going on currently. Actually, on that note beware of the manhole-sized hole down there that could literally swallow a person whole.

I wanted to raise this issue to Bike Pgh and the community at large as I’m pretty upset about how bikes and peds were taken into account on this project. I’m guessing they have no idea how many people from Oakland actually use Bates Street and the trail access there to cross 2nd Ave. So, it is my hope that the plans could be slightly altered to accommodate for a new access point to the trail directly to Bates Street, because I can say that 90% of the time when I’m down there I use the dirt path to the trail rather than deal with 2nd Ave. and I cannot be the only one…

At the very least they could make alter the traffic light at Bates and 2nd to NOT involve having to push the friggin’ pedestrian walk button, given that increase ped and bike traffic would justify automated walk signals. Can you tell I hate those button-signals? The worst one I ever saw was at the intersection of Herron Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard.


Private Message

Aug 4 2010 at 6:09pm #

Hey, I just wanted to revive this thread to see if there were any new thoughts on the matter. I suppose I wanted to see if Scott or anyone else at Bike Pgh. was able to dig up any relevant information about the topic.

I suppose I’m just afraid of people having to deal with a crazy 2nd Ave. intersection when they JUST built a brand new overpass, but now suddenly people won’t be able to use that to cross to Bates. The whole thing just seems illogical and poorly planned.


Private Message

Jun 14 2011 at 8:52am #

Random thread bump…

In seriousness though, anyone check out the Bates St./2nd Ave. area lately? Lots of progress actually, especially with the new bridge’s three main beams. Alas, it looks like the battle to preserve trail access from Bates St. is lost: the old trail access was excavated and a new sidewalk built between 2nd Ave. and The Hideout. The only saving grace to that is that it does look like a new sidewalk is being built between Bates to the traffic light/trail access a few hundred feet west along 2nd Ave.

Anyone have a predicted timetable for this project? Any chance of seeing curb cuts on the sidewalk further up along Bates as well?


Private Message

Jun 14 2011 at 1:36pm #

A note on the city’s construction page from August 2010 says the trail will reopen in August of this year, and the project will finish up in September. More recent updates there haven’t mentioned a revised schedule.


Private Message

Jun 14 2011 at 7:25pm #

Update from one of the workers on the site:

New sidewalk will be open starting tomorrow.

His estimate when the whole intersection would be done checks out with the info in Steven’s link–sometime in September.

Still, Lord Almighty, I would 311 the entire sidewalk of Bates from the Hideout to the Boulevard of the Allies if I could. Is there any sort of say we as Bike Pgh have to make this Bates corridor a prioritized bike/ped corridor? I mean, it is nearly virtually the primary and most direct route between Oakland and South Side for bikes and pedestrians. I would absolutely love it if the Bates St. sidewalk could attain some sort of official “shared sidewalk” status.


Private Message

Jun 15 2011 at 5:59pm #

+1 impala26.

I always take the street downhill, but I hate being buzzed by parkway traffic on my slow^h^h^h^h stately way up the hill.

I guess bike traffic going down the sidewalk could get dangerously, obnoxiously fast, though. I always go down the street.

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