Dec 7: Public Meeting on West Carson Street Changes

This topic contains 93 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by  paulheckbert 7 mos, 3 weeks.

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Dec 16 2011 at 2:39pm #

Oh well, things like that often don’t work out the way we hope. But, I appreciate that you’ll continue the dialogue when/where you can.

No loud noises? Must have been a GOOD party! I almost wish I had the ability to send a virtual cymbal crash, or something! Ohh, that’s mean. Maybe a virtual aspirin, would be better? With lots of water?


Private Message

Mar 22 2012 at 1:00am #

So I rode home today on West Carson right through the area that was discussed here (and I must say, completely uneventful). A circumstance has taken place that completely disposes the alleged analysis that was done by the Penndot “consultant”.

A section of the roadway under discussion has actually started to collapse, so someone’s department of public works installed a section of concrete Jersey barriers along about a 300 yard section, narrowing W. Carson to one lane inbound and one lane outbound. The consultants contend that a bike or multi-use lane could not be created through here because 2 outbound lanes are necesary to maintain traffic flow.

These pics are taken at about 6:00 pm, today, Wednesday, March 21, 2012.

1. Right before the narrowing, outbound:

2. A little closer to the barriers, see the traffic congestion? No? Neither did I. I actually had to wait a minute just to get some cars in the picture:

3. From the other side looking back toward town, shows a little better the setup:

The space you can see behind the jersey barriers could effectively be a ped/bike lane the whole way from the West End Circle to McKees Rocks. So how do we get this stupid design rejected and a decent plan put in place?????


Private Message

Mar 22 2012 at 1:32am #

why not have the residences and businesses along west carson petition the city and penndot to install on street parking?

every business loves more parking than they’ll ever need, and the installation of the parking will include a protected bike/pedestrian lane to the corliss tunnel. an at-grade lane and/or extended sidewalk on the business/residence side of the street would heighten the probability that it will be maintained during inclement weather.

from the tunnel to the west end circle, maybe a user actuated crossing signal to a widened sidewalk along the northbound side.

diverting the conversation away from strictly bike/ped infrastructure and towards parking and traffic calming will allow pennDOT an opportunity to work with the city in a manner we ultimately believe should apply elsewhere and throughout the city.


Private Message

Mar 22 2012 at 1:33am #

@edmonds59 — This is pretty much off the top of my head and may require further thought, but it’s out here for consideration.

PennDOT is all about safety and bureaucrats being bureaucrats. I’m sure that have a bazillion things to justify their decision, from AADT to who knows what.

I’d consider studying the materials and information they used to formulate the plan with the idea of critically debunking it. I’m guessing that info should be available to the public since they use it in their public hearings they do for work lie this. Then I would also develop the alternative plan and support it with what materials you can develop to back it.

Hopefully they aren’t too far into their planning process to be wedded to whatever idea they hve at the moment.

@swalfoort, can you give some practical advice to Bill and anyone else interested here?


Private Message

Mar 22 2012 at 1:40am #

@sloaps — an interesting idea. The one problem I see with it if I understand the street layout correctly is safety issues no matter which side you park on. If you put the parking on the river side, then you have pedestrian traffic trying to cross 2-3 lanes of traffic. If you put it on the land side next to the buildings, then you have cars trying to cross 2-3 lanes of traffic to park facing the traffic flow. I don’t think PennDOT would consider that “safe”. But if there is some way to address those issues, it might be possible to come up with something like you propose.


Private Message

Mar 22 2012 at 1:47am #

Now that I think back I realize I mistated the consultants proposal – their design is actually for 1 lane in, 1 lane out, with a center turning lane. However, that is exactly the design that Penndot used on Steubenville Pike through Robinson, right up the hill from my house, and it has absolutely not improved safety. In fact, cars simply use the center turn lane as an illegal high speed passing lane to get past cars turning right. It’s awful.


Private Message

Mar 22 2012 at 2:45am #

@edmonds59 — I think you may have just found one of your arguments against their proposal.

1. PennDOT may not even be aware that is how the Steubenville Pike plan turned out and might be amenable to changing this plan if they were made aware of it.

2. Again, I’d want to see the studies/info they worked with to see if it addresses the kind of design issue you described.


Private Message

Mar 23 2012 at 9:39pm #


Agreed. I’ve heard stories from my parents and others that back in the day Route 22 from Murrysville to like Ebensburg was the exact same two lanes plus center turning lane. It was notorious as a “death stretch” for folks using the middle lane as a high-speed passing lane and that occasionally resulted in horrendous high-speed head-to-head collisions in this way.

There is no way that a design like that is anything but archaic and unsafe, and that’s just for DRIVERS!


Private Message

Dec 12 2014 at 1:41pm #

Story in PG today (gee, if only someone had thought of bike infra sooner)

McKees Rocks Chartiers Avenue revitalization nears construction phase…

The plan envisions better connections of the residential areas in McKees Rocks with the business district by adding new steps, walkways, and perhaps even a dedicated bike lane on West Carson Street.

“Bike infrastructure is critical to put us on the map,” Mr. Vrcek said.


Private Message

Dec 12 2014 at 3:12pm #

While it is hard to read this in 2014, I have to give kudos to McKees Rocks CDC for really coming to the table in a big way. They have some really interesting development occurring right now, and more just around the corner. Fortunately, they are active partners with the ORTC, the County, Bike Pittsburgh and others and are clear in their expectations that pedestrian and bicycle improvements are part of these revitalization designs. We’ll see changes, and improvements in the walking and cycling experience in McKees Rocks. West Carson Street inbound from McKees Rocks will remain a nightmare, but there’s nothing to be done there while construction is underway (ironically.)


Private Message

Feb 9 2015 at 9:11pm #

Re-reading this two months later, it occurs to me that not one but two of our own may have inside info on that proposal. I suspect that they’ve been sworn to radio silence. I won’t out them here, but it gives me joy to see the name of that design firm involved in the Rocks project.

That aside, the reason why I’m reviving this thread is that I thought of a very large idea that I’ve mentioned in other threads, which ties together some other large ideas that have been proposed. To wit:
* We’ve already discussed extending the Ohio River Trail from the Coraopolis end of the Montour Trail downstream. That’s a live project; no need to expound upon it here.
* We’ve also discussed at length, above in this thread as well as others, a means of getting from downtown to McKees Rocks along a not-yet-agreed-to routing, be it alongside West Carson or something else.
* I have previously proposed a trail from the south end of the Wabash Tunnel, to connect West Liberty Avenue and West Carson just downstream of the West End Circle.

To that, I further propose an on-street bike route from West Carson at River Avenue, through the Bottoms along Shingiss Street, continuing past the McKees Rocks Bridge along Nichol Ave, to Ohio Street, then crossing the abandoned footbridge across the tracks to Island Ave, where it would pick up existing routing over to Neville Island. The only real work would be in refurbishing the old footbridge. That it would bypass the main Rox business district could be a pro or a con. I see it as a pro, as it keeps bike traffic to low-use neighborhood streets

But if the whole thing was constructed:
* Ohio River Trail extension
* Trail to McKees Rocks
* Upper trail through McKees Rocks main business district
* Lower trail through McKees Rocks Bottoms
* Some sort of facility along West Carson
* Some sort of connection to upstream of 1600 WCarson, to GAP
* Path along old railroad right-of-way to south portal of Wabash, and to West Liberty Ave
* Bike access through Wabash
…then you have connected an entire quadrant of the county, with direct access to the city on two paths.


Private Message

Feb 10 2015 at 6:46am #

Is that all? “Some sort of facility along West Carson.” With current PennDot mentality that’s kind of equivalent to saying “all you need to get to Mars is, you know, some kind of rocket”.


Private Message

Feb 10 2015 at 6:23pm #

I was being intentionally vague, just getting a list made. My wording. My point was that I think there is value in having a bike path of some sort through the Bottoms and over that dead bridge. If that bridge can be rebuilt on the same foundations, it would provide a handy way to get cyclists through the Rox without having to deal with the congestion of the town center, the trucks on most of Island Avenue, and the screwy corner by the bridge.


Private Message

Feb 10 2015 at 9:10pm #

Opening that footbridge from Nichol Ave to Island Ave (Route 51) in McKees Rocks/Stowe would be great for bike-ped transportation! It’s currently closed at both ends, and quite overgrown with vegetation. It’s called the Preston Bridge:

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