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Bus Lanes

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Anonymous

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Dec 4 2012 at 7:51pm #

My apologies if there is a thread about this already (searched and found nothing), but what are the rules around riding in bus lanes?

If I am going from Downtown to the South Side, the fastest way is to ride in the bus lane down Smithfield, but I wasn’t sure if this is technically illegal.


rice rocket

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Dec 4 2012 at 8:06pm #

It’s not legal, but I feign ignorance sometimes and do it.

Shh, don’t tell.

That Smithfield lane is particularly annoying (as a motorist and a cyclist) because I assume it’s intentionally converted to a bus only lane so everyone else has to take the roundabout way so they can queue up more cars without having to back up the Blvd.


HiddenVariable

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Dec 4 2012 at 8:13pm #

and the roundabout ways are clearly only for motor vehicle traffic, unless you go all the way to grant and then come back just to go a block.


ajbooth

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Dec 4 2012 at 9:02pm #

I use the Smithfield St bus lane for one block at night, heading to the bridge. I was there waiting for the light last week, and a police officer on a motorcycle pulled up next to me. I nodded to him and said hello, and he said “be careful.” Not officially sanctioning, I guess, but he also didn’t say “You shouldn’t be here.”


Anonymous

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Dec 4 2012 at 9:17pm #

bus lane interaction is also dependant on where you are in downtown as well.

if you’re over near the convention center/ grehyound station: you can either take grant st or williampenn way (which becomes cherryway after it crosses under macy’s) all the wat to fort pitt bvd and you’re right next to the smithfeild bridge & you skip the block of bus lane alltogether.

if you’re coming from the point, ride up the boulevard of the allies, then usethe short bit of bus lane over to the bridge, or cut over to ft pitt bvld and then make the right onto the bridge.


Anonymous

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Dec 4 2012 at 9:26pm #

Technically it isn’t legal, but I have used that bus lane to get on the Smithfield St. Bridge as well. Safety is my top priority for myself. I won’t cut off a bus or travel in front of one. I would wait if I saw one, because I respect the idea of bus lanes. I ride it if it is clear.


ajbooth

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Dec 4 2012 at 9:28pm #

I do take William Penn Way across town, but not to Fort Pitt Blvd. It becomes a small alley once you pass Blvd of the Allies. The traffic on Fort Pitt is heavy at rush hour, and it is not cycle friendly. I take the alley, turn right on First Ave for one block, then left into the bus lane on Smithfield. Have not had a problem doing that, and have done it for five years.


Anonymous

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Dec 4 2012 at 11:07pm #

Hm, how do we know if legal or not? I saw cops pulling bicyclist off.


buffalo buffalo

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Dec 5 2012 at 12:02am #

I’ve also used the Oakland bus lane, but usually only late at night; otherwise, I’ll cut back down Craft to Forbes. I do use the lane between Birmingham and Craft almost every time I’m going that way, because the alternative is to cross 70+ mph traffic on the ramp from 376 to Forbes, and I’m neither fast enough nor dumb enough for that…


Marko82

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Dec 5 2012 at 1:39am #

^ chicken chicken (sorry it was too tempting)

Yeah that stretch of 5th from the bridge up into oakland needs to have the sidwalk fixed and marked as dual use.


salty

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Dec 5 2012 at 2:00am #

It is most certainly not legal to ride in a bike lane. http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/75/00.033.009.000..HTM

http://www.portauthority.org/paac/RiderServices/BikesonTransit.aspx

also, rehash… http://bike-pgh.org/bbpress/topic/legality-of-riding-in-a-bus-lane


Anonymous

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Dec 5 2012 at 12:26pm #

@buffalo buffalo

Can you clarify what route you take? I always fear going from Downtown to Oakland on that route.


boostuv

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Dec 5 2012 at 2:20pm #

Elmo, I commute from Oakland to Duquesne Univ. and back to Oakland. My route to Uptown is Blvd -> Craft -> 5th -> Cut across to school. Way home I ride Forbes -> Jumonville -> 5th Ave. -> 5th Ave bus lane -> Craft -> Blvd.


buffalo buffalo

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Dec 7 2012 at 4:18pm #

Coming from Downtown to Oakland, I basically follow the 71* route: Forbes, Jumonville, Fifth, then back down Craft to Forbes.

I’ll take the sidewalk from Jumonville to the Bridge, but as long as the City and Authority consistently fail to enforce sidewalk-parking prohibitions against the car dealership and childcare center that perpetually block the sidewalk there, I have no problem using the bus lane when it is otherwise unoccupied. (I’ll often get back on the sidewalk after the childcare, but it’s in pretty bad shape between there and the Boulevard ramp and between the new building and Craft.)


Anonymous

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Dec 7 2012 at 5:17pm #

I ruled out this overall route because of the sidewalk issues mentioned. I know I could ride in the bus lane safely (with a rear view mirror and healthy deference), but a vague sense of unease/wrongness got me started on jail trail instead and since I start west of the access and am heading further east so it makes a smaller distance difference for me.

It’s a shame because this still would be my most direct route and the one with the shallowest slope. I’d take it every day.

I’ve considered making a stink about it, but, with debate on a real route, have held my tongue to avoid clouding the issue… while better than what we have now, sharrows down and mixed use sidewalk up will bring in none of the “interested but concerned” potential riders.

What’s the timetable on hearing something fairly definite about actual dedicated set of lanes or cycletrack along this corridor anyone know? Can the acuteness of the need be any more obvious?


jonawebb

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Dec 7 2012 at 5:28pm #

According to the Gettherepgh.org site they’re currently evaluating the results of their community meetings etc. I think a bike route between Oakland and Downtown is planned in some of the BRT designs.

The milestones are at http://gettherepgh.org/get-where/steps-to-completion/


boostuv

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Dec 8 2012 at 11:00am #

Line of sight is so good on the 5th Ave bus lane that you can be well aware of any upcoming buses. See one, hop on the sidewalk, wait for it to pass and continue on.


edward m

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Dec 13 2012 at 12:24am #

Not legal to cycle in a bus lane but that law is not strictly enforced. I been scolded by PAT police for cycling on the Smithfield Street bus lane.

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