BikePGH!

Is PennDot obligated to have the sidewalk clear for pedestrians?

This topic contains 82 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by  buffalo buffalo 6 mos, 1 week.

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edmonds59

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Dec 12 2013 at 10:47am #

There is still a huge section of the fence missing in that stretch where a truck “lost control”, went over the sidewalk, and onto a parked car. Imagine being a pedestrian. If you’re not inside a motorized vehicle, PennDot doesn’t give a fuck about you.


Marko82

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Dec 12 2013 at 11:08am #

If you’re not inside a motorized vehicle anybody, PennDot doesn’t give a fuck about you.

Fixed that for ya edmonds.


edmonds59

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Dec 12 2013 at 11:18am #

Ha! That too.


pinky

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Dec 14 2013 at 7:52am #

@salty – the sign went away and came back for the new project.

I don’t take this route often anymore, so it’s fallen lower on my list of “things I feel like fighting with.” But yeah, I need to get writing to my reps. They tend to be pretty responsive.


jonawebb

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Jan 8 2014 at 1:34pm #

BTW, I drove past this Saturday, and I think it’s fixed — right? It looked to me that the base of the sign was now a single pole with sandbags around it, blocking the sidewalk a lot less than it used to.


byogman

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Jan 8 2014 at 2:19pm #

I wonder if you could find any motorists that would shrug and say the same about a partial roadway obstruction.

Just sayin’, we have LOW standards.

Maybe that’s the only way to bike and be sane. Or maybe that’s something that needs to change. Or maybe (ok most likely) both, but with narrow exceptions the time for the change is in the future, with more people are on bikes.


Steven

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Jan 9 2014 at 12:16am #

FWIW, part of West Carson has a substandard lane width during construction, so buses don’t fit on it, and I assume it requires slightly more care from car drivers. (But do drivers shrug, or bitch about it?)


jonawebb

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Jan 9 2014 at 8:31am #

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Chris Christie’s entire Presidential ambitions are being upended because he (or his staff) closed two lanes of the entrance to the George Washington bridge for four days.


edmonds59

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Jan 9 2014 at 9:21am #

Steven wrote:FWIW, part of West Carson has a substandard lane width during construction, so buses don’t fit on it, and I assume it requires slightly more care from car drivers. (But do drivers shrug, or bitch about it?)

This is the sort of thing where those bus drivers earn my respect, esp the articulated drivers. I come through there on the G2 and there is about 12 inches max to the concrete barriers on either side!!! Most car drivers couldn’t identify where the corners of their vehicles are within 12 inches to save their lives (literally).


HiddenVariable

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Jan 9 2014 at 9:45am #

edmonds59 wrote:This is the sort of thing where those bus drivers earn my respect, esp the articulated drivers. I come through there on the G2 and there is about 12 inches max to the concrete barriers on either side!!! Most car drivers couldn’t identify where the corners of their vehicles are within 12 inches to save their lives (literally).

unfortunately, that also gives them the confidence to pass those of us on bicycles with a foot or two to spare. which is terrifying.


edmonds59

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Jan 9 2014 at 9:59am #

True.


byogman

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Jan 9 2014 at 10:02am #

Fear not!

While doding potholes, etc.. you simply must never move more laterally than one foot (and have skillz to recover from the draft from the passing bus so you don’t get blown into a parked car).


jonawebb

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Jan 9 2014 at 10:41am #

Take that lane!


gg

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Jan 9 2014 at 10:54am #

jonawebb wrote:BTW, I drove past this Saturday, and I think it’s fixed — right? It looked to me that the base of the sign was now a single pole with sandbags around it, blocking the sidewalk a lot less than it used to.

No it’s not fixed. The base is huge and takes the whole sidewalk. I believe the city took over that construction project after the bridge and they did a VERY good job. They even have a button to press to make the signal change to cross the street. It is PennDot that could care less about anyone trying to cross the Highland Park Bridge.


byogman

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Jan 9 2014 at 11:02am #

Bus drivers move over as much as is convenient to them, not necessarily into the next lane. Even if you take the lane. In that regard they’re worse than most motorists who do respect taking the lane. That said, I generally take it anyway, as then I at least get more space to the right to bail toward.

The worst behavior, the closest passes tend to be right before bus stops. Obviously they have to be in the right lane, but it’s ironic since the amount of time they’d have to spend spent rolling along more slowly to hang back safely is so short in these cases.


jonawebb

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Jan 9 2014 at 11:10am #

gg wrote:It is PennDot that could care less about anyone trying to cross the Highland Park Bridge.

Confused — are we talking about the same place? I was referring to the detour sign on West Carson, near the West End Bridge.


HiddenVariable

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Jan 9 2014 at 4:43pm #

jonawebb wrote:Take that lane!

i do, when it’s suitable. but this most often happens when i’m heading down liberty in (near) the “bike lane”. i ride either at the very left edge of the lane or in the auto lane, and i’ve been beeped at by at least one bus, and buzzed by untold millions (i exaggerate) of them.

i sure do hate that bike lane. luckily, traffic is generally sparse, and my speed is good, so it doesn’t always present a problem. but it’s hard to blame confused drivers, sitting there thinking “there’s a bike lane right there! why aren’t you in it?”


gg

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Jan 9 2014 at 7:37pm #

jonawebb wrote:Confused — are we talking about the same place? I was referring to the detour sign on West Carson, near the West End Bridge.

Oh, I just assumed we were talking about the Highland Park Bridge, since it is what the OP started this thread about.


fultonco

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Jan 25 2014 at 1:55pm #

I do take that lane on W Carson. It is unsafe and drivers don’t like it very much, but that sign and the overall condition of that sidewalk is terrible.

It was mentioned that the sign was there in 2009. I believe it was there in 2006 also. Perhaps not all during that time period, but it seems to be there quite a bit of the time.

I’m concerned about what I was told that only sharrows will exist all the way out to McKees Rocks, when the construction is complete. Is this really considered to be safe and viable for bicyclists on that road? Why was this the solution, especially when there are sidewalks along the southbound side that are in deplorable condition?


gg

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Jan 25 2014 at 4:47pm #

As I was driving home today crossing the Highland Park Bridge, the moron from PennDot had his plow down going really close to the edge to throw the snow up on the sidewalk. That is were we are in the pecking order. Really nonexistent. Now there will be car parts, glass, nails, refrigerator parts, some utensils and who knows what else on the sidewalk. I clean it usually each Spring, but I am getting tired of doing it. I didn’t do it this past year. Sure is a drag. That sidewalk will be a mess for a long time now. Probably have to walk my bike across it.


edmonds59

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Jan 25 2014 at 4:50pm #

“I’m concerned about what I was told that only sharrows will exist all the way out to McKees Rocks, when the construction is complete.”

Ding ding ding! Correct!!

“Is this really considered to be safe and viable for bicyclists on that road?”

No!! Penndot doesn’t give a rat’s ass about bicyclists on that road! You are at best a joke that they hope will pass sooner rather than later. Or die. Either way.

“Why was this the solution, especially when there are sidewalks along the southbound side that are in deplorable condition?”

Because, Penndot, duh. Here’s how this works: Penndot is required by law to produce engineering “studies” before they put any road projects out for construction. An outside engineering firm gets a juicy contract for said study, to meet the letter of the law. During the course of the study, Penndot gently implies the end result of the study that they would like to see OR they bury the study under an Augean stable of bureaucratic reviews and re-reviews OR the engineering firm in question somehow doesn’t ever get any future juicy contracts.
Clear?


stefb

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Jan 25 2014 at 6:39pm #

I have a fat bike for the HP bridge sidewalk, but it can’t magically pass through that truck detour sign they stuck right in the middle of the sidewalk. Thanks, penndot.


pinky

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Jan 26 2014 at 9:28am #

@fultonco – these threads provide some history about the West Carson project, the bike community’s herculean effort to make reasonable changes, and how PennDOT slammed the door in our faces.

http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/dec-7-public-meeting-on-west-carson-street-changes/

http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/west-carson-outbound-to-close-july-29th/

The whole thing still burns me up – and I suspect edmonds shares my frustration :)


fultonco

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Jan 26 2014 at 9:41am #

PennDot’s process, as explained, is woefully lacking.

That needs to change. That West Carson project is going to be poor result.

With the proper plan, it could have been a truly multi-modal route from Pittsburgh to the western suburbs and the Montour Trail/GAP Trail system. Instead, we will have business as usual with no safe ways to travel and continued gridlock.

Stu had mentioned that critical mass in this town is dying. These kinds of situations call for resuscitating that movement. A decent sized group of cyclists at rush hour would get some attention. As would a group going out to shovel off the bridge.

There is a fellow who rides south on West Liberty Avenue almost every day during the afternoon rush hour. He is getting no help from anybody, but people do change lanes, relatively orderly, to get around him. I was told that sharrows could not be placed in that right lane because people park there after rush hour. Is there a prohibition against sharrows in a parking lane or alternatively, can one not park in an area where there are sharrows? It would seem to me that when there are parked vehicles, a bicyclist could go around them. The value of sharrows and share the road signage would open up that corridor for other than gasoline powered vehicular traffic.

This is another area where there are sidewalks that are never heavily used. Could such an area be planned to eliminate the sidewalks and create bicycle/pedestrian lanes? Doing this would create a bicycle/pedestrian artery to 51. Then doing the same along 51 to the Wabash Tunnel would pave the way for a truly viable route from South Hills to Pittsburgh.

Finally, on a previous post, I had mentioned a study done by Penn Futures that recommended multi-modal transportation corridors instead of the Mon-Fayette Expressway. My post didn’t receive very much attention, but I believe this study has tremendous value and should be re-visited. It addresses a number of the kinds of transportation issues that are discussed in this forum and solves a number of problems. It is the way we should start doing business around here.


gg

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Jan 26 2014 at 8:54pm #

stefb wrote:I have a fat bike for the HP bridge sidewalk, but it can’t magically pass through that truck detour sign they stuck right in the middle of the sidewalk. Thanks, penndot.

Maybe someone needs to heave it into the river. F that sign!


jonawebb

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Jan 27 2014 at 8:46am #

gg wrote:F that sign!

Has anyone tried reporting it to http://www.dot.state.pa.us/penndot/districts/district11/d11ccc.nsf? I’m asking because I really don’t know. It might make a difference.


Swalfoort

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Jan 27 2014 at 10:52am #

@fultonco – I would be happy to share with you, in great detail, the many, many efforts of the bicycling community to alter the outcome of the West Carson Street design. The issue here was not the quality or the quantity of the input from the cycling community. PM me to set up a time to chat.


Benzo

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Jan 27 2014 at 11:41am #

One guess on east carson st, is that they did the design, then showed it off and asked for comments, and then when comments came in contrary to their design, they just said that we can’t change it, since it’s already designed.


jonawebb

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Jan 27 2014 at 12:19pm #

They are required to have public hearings and ask for comments. They are not required to do anything about them. The same thing happened with the Blvd. of the Allies redesign, which was a golden opportunity to create a bike-friendly route between West Oakland and Downtown — people raised the issue, but PennDOT did not listen. We really need someone at PennDOT who cares about non-motorists. This would be a good issue to raise with the Democratic candidates for Governor, since one of them will be taking office next year.


rgrasmus

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Jan 27 2014 at 3:23pm #

jonawebb wrote:This would be a good issue to raise with the Democratic candidates for Governor, since one of them will be taking office next year.

I like this idea. I wonder if BikePGH has sent out a version of their mayoral/city council questionaire to the current candidates?


StuInMcCandless

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Jan 27 2014 at 10:03pm #

My official rant on the West Carson project.

And the official response:

RE: Allegheny County
S.R. 0051, Section A63
West Carson Viaduct Project

Dear Mr. Strickland:

Thank you for your email of May 30, 2013, regarding the S.R. 51, West Carson Viaduct project. The District understands your concerns and has designed substantial improvements into the project to address them.

This project was initiated to rehabilitate the structurally deficient West Carson Street Viaduct that carries a portion of the northbound travel lanes. Currently, the poor condition of that structure has caused the Department to restrict traffic in the northbound direction. In addition the sidewalk has been closed for years due to its deteriorated state.

As the project advanced through the design stages, we saw an opportunity to enhance the pedestrian facilities, as well as bicyclist accommodations throughout the corridor. By means of a “Road Diet”, reducing the number of through lanes to just one in each direction, we were able to develop a “Complete Streets” project that not only accommodates all modes of travel, but does so safely. Through this reallocation of space, we are able to incorporate a 5 foot sidewalk through the length of the corridor, include a 10 foot wide turn lane for motorists making left turns into side streets and driveways and also obtain the additional width required for a 14 foot wide shared use lane in both directions to accommodate both vehicular and cyclist traffic.

Reviewing the latest five-year crash data revealed a significant number of vehicle crashes through this corridor. These crashes were predominantly rear-end, angle and head-on sideswipe accidents. After reviewing that data, it was determined the only practical way to mitigate those accidents was to include a center turn lane from the Port Authority Busway to Stanhope Street. The inclusion of the center turn lane will mitigate these accidents by providing a buffer for turning traffic.

Also, when reviewing the crash data, there fortunately was no record of any bicycle or pedestrian accidents throughout this corridor. Nonetheless, we believe it is imperative to enhance safety for these modes also. The mitigation of the vehicular accidents will improve safety of the corridor for everyone. We will construct a new 5?foot concrete sidewalk the entire length of the project for pedestrian use. We plan to provide bike sharrows and “Share the Road” signs to alert the motorists of bicyclists. In addition, highway lighting will be constructed along the entire length of the project which will improve nighttime visibility of the pedestrians and bicyclists.

Additionally, yesterday we met with various stakeholders and elected officials and reviewed all details of this project — it is already bid and going to construction in about 6 weeks. We agreed to investigate the addition of electronic speed devices and possibly enhanced crosswalks at intersections to improve visibility for pedestrians and cyclists.

We appreciate your interest in the transportation system and your specific concerns on this project. Our main objective is to create safe and accessible highways for all modes of transportation, within budget, and we believe this project best meets those requirements. If you have any questions, please contact Guy Rettura, P.E., Project Manager at (412) 429-3787 or Cheryl Moon-Sirianni, P.E., Assistant District Executive, Design Division, at (412) 429?5005.

Sincerely yours,
PENNDOT District 11
H. Daniel Cessna, P.E.
District Executive


stefb

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Jan 28 2014 at 5:46am #

The highland park bridge sidewalk was atrocious. Too bad the penndot concern form or whatever it is called doesn’t work on my phone.


gg

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Jan 28 2014 at 6:46pm #

stefb wrote:The highland park bridge sidewalk was atrocious. Too bad the penndot concern form or whatever it is called doesn’t work on my phone.

It doesn’t work on my Mac either. They probably do that for a reason. F’n a-holes!


jonawebb

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Jan 28 2014 at 8:14pm #

If you tell me where the sign is I’ll fill out the form. Maybe mark it on Google Maps and send me a link.


gg

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Jan 28 2014 at 8:37pm #

jonawebb wrote:If you tell me where the sign is I’ll fill out the form. Maybe mark it on Google Maps and send me a link.

It is on the Highland Park Bridge sidewalk. There is only one sign on the whole sidewalk. As soon as you exit the bridge you are in the city of Pittsburgh, where the city provided an unobstructed walkway AND a crosswalk with a button to cross the street. The contrast between the city and PennDot is amazing. They just plop a sign right in the middle of the sidewalk. What if a handicap person wanted to cross that bridge? They CAN’T. All because of ONE sign! ONE! There are countless poles to put the sign on and they have other signs clipped to the barrier. WHY did they have to put that ONE sign there?

Anyway, that would be great if you could fill it out. You need Windows I guess. I would expect nothing less from PennDot.

Thanks for any help.


StuInMcCandless

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Jan 29 2014 at 2:34pm #

FWIW, PennDOT worked on the McKees Rocks Bridge in 2009, but has yet to pick up the “Sidewalk Closed” signs from the Rt65 end.


gg

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Jan 29 2014 at 2:45pm #

StuInMcCandless wrote:FWIW, PennDOT worked on the McKees Rocks Bridge in 2009, but has yet to pick up the “Sidewalk Closed” signs from the Rt65 end.

They have had signs on the Highland Park Bridge sidewalk in the past. They used to remove the signs and leave the base so they could just put the sign back in the base. I kid you not! The bases have been removed as well as the sandbags by someone a while back. I wouldn’t mind clipping the signs to one of the many poles and make the sidewalk passable, but I suspect I might get in a bit of trouble for doing their job correctly. I really can’t stand PennDot due to how horrible they are to pedestrians and cyclists in general. The city did a really nice job in front of One Wild Place. I am impressed with what they did there. Good job Pittsburgh! I wish Penn Dot would be as considerate to their neighbors. Maybe they will change. ha, ha, ha


fultonco

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Feb 6 2014 at 6:09pm #

“Joy Ride” by Mia Burk, Cascade Press.


screbner

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Feb 7 2014 at 8:13pm #

Her name is Mia Birk (not Burk). The book is a great read for anyone who wants to change the status quo. So is what she accomplished in Portland; I’ve seen it firsthand.


gg

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Feb 7 2014 at 8:38pm #

The sign is now moved from the Highland Park Bridge sidewalk. Thank you for whoever contacted them. Also someone or some group shoveled the area past the Highland Park Bridge going towards the Zoo. That looked like a lot of work whoever or whatever did that. I wish they could have continued across the bridge, but I have no idea how it got cleared. I wish I could shovel the bridge, but I just can’t do that whole thing. It is just too big. Sadly it is going to be an icy mess for a very long time. I hate riding on the road across there. I just walked my bike both ways today.

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