BikePGH!

List of Roads that could easily accommodate a bike lane

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czarofpittsburgh

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Jul 9 2013 at 10:00am #

Does BikePGH maintain a database of roads that are wide enough to accommodate a bike lane in one or both directions? Although this mayoral administration has not been bike unfriendly, the new one has been very public about a desire to rapidly expand bike infrastructure. If we could compile some sort of database of roads that could easily have a bike lane added, it could be very helpful towards seeing these projects put into place.

I am thinking of places not necessarily where sharrows are insufficient (like on West Carson or Forbes between Schenley Park and where the bike lane ends at the cemetary), but places that adding a bike lane would displace no parking and require no street widening. I mean places along major bike routes where the cost would only be the paint and the labor.

My first suggestion is Greenfield Ave between Saline St. in the run and Haldane St. headed uphill with sharrows headed downhill. The road is wide enough to add a lane going uphill. Schenley Drive is also wide enough to include lanes in both directions without interfering with any of the parking near Phipps. It would especially be nice if it were coupled with sharrows on Panther Hollow Road on the right-most lanes in either direction.

It would be great if we could come up with a large list of places like this.


jonawebb

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Jul 9 2013 at 10:17am #

Greenfield would be a great place for a bike lane, but I’m not sure there is enough space if you want to preserve parking, too. People park on the downhill side around 300 Greenfield and that probably takes enough space to make it not work. OTOH there’s some empty space near there, near the billboard, so if a parking lot could be built there as a substitute, I’ll bet it would work. And that would solve a big connection problem between the Eliza Furnace Trail and Squirrel Hill/Greenfield.


byogman

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Jul 9 2013 at 10:37am #

A lane on Greenfield avenue wouldn’t displace very much parking, but it would displace a little. I think it’s been on the wish list here for a lot of people, it’s certainly high on mine.

One thing I wonder about, and I hate to make plans based off bad inertia, I have a lot of misgivings, but I feel I should ask…

Given the lane being much wider on the downhill side and the newbie non-scary bike facility (the chute) running contraflow, what do people think of continuing on the same side and running the uphill lane counter to vehicle flow? For those going to squirrel hill you’d typically make a left-right-left across the Greenfield bridge at Winterburn->Alger->Bridge anyway. You couldn’t stop at Haldane obviously, and the further toward Winterburn you could run it the better.

Just saying though it would suck compared to a lane on the right side and create passing problems, it might serve a lot of folks and have the benefit of being decently doable in the here and now. Don’t shoot me.


erok

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Jul 9 2013 at 11:05am #

yeah, we have a running list, but most of ours are on streets that are officially on the “bike network” aka on our bike map.

There isn’t much of this “low lying fruit” left, but we are working with the city on striping a few more this summer. Brereton and Braddock come to mind.


RoadKillen

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Jul 9 2013 at 12:07pm #

If Braddock gets a bike lane I will poop a rainbow.


stefb

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Jul 9 2013 at 12:42pm #

Get rid if car parking on most streets and they are wide enough for a bike lane. Problem solved. If only…


byogman

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Jul 9 2013 at 1:06pm #

stefb wrote:Get rid if car parking on most streets and they are wide enough for a bike lane. Problem solved. If only…

You can narrow that statement a lot and still do a ton for the bike-ability of the city. Concentrate solely on the uphill side above a certain maximum grade and below a certain existing parking density and gradually start working that maximum acceptable grade down and the minimum bike lane blocking car parking density up as biking mode share in that area increases.


StuInMcCandless

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Jul 9 2013 at 1:21pm #

Is a lane, or even sharrows, necessarily the next thing to do on various streets? I like the ideas I’m seeing above about trying to resolve parking contention.

And as I’ve been saying since dinosaurs roamed the earth, anything that gets people to use transit instead of cars for routine trips will eventually make it easier for us all to bike. One car per household instead of one car per person, would make life a lot more livable around here. We’ve gone from the former to the latter in only a bit over a generation.


erok

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Jul 9 2013 at 2:08pm #

well stu, the original post was about just striping lines/sharrows on some of the wider streets.

once you mess with parking, it opens up a whole nother beast where you need to get the neighborhood involved and be “OK” with parking removal/consolidation. Not saying it’s not possible, just saying that as soon as you alter the existing plan so that it changes something that someone’s been used to for years and years, it’s wisest to get the people who live there involved. Even in a best case scenario, it takes time to get them to be on board (some neighborhood groups don’t meet often), and then time to draw up the new engineering docs.


byogman

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Jul 9 2013 at 2:21pm #

If nothing else, I think the idea of free parking that blocks a necessary bike lane is poison. Not that you can get away without talking to the folks in closest proximity, but their perspective is not all that matters, and basically if there’s so little demand for parking there that nobody is willing to pay to there vs. a block or two away on a side street then OF COURSE it should be on the chopping block.

I also think under-utilized very nearby paid parking is also a clear indicator that the on street parking that most would assume can’t be sacrificed, indeed can be. With this in mind, I’m going add an unlikely sounding road to the list, Murray Avenue. I regularly ride Murray between Douglas and Beacon claiming the lane and with a trailer, but that’s just me. Not an option that many cyclists would consider. For them, you need a lane. And it’s quite doable.

Just off Murray avenue there’s the close to empty lot on Phillips, and on the other side of the road, the less empty but still mostly empty lot just behind Parkvale bank off Beacon. These are not out of the way places… another 50 or 60 yards of walking maybe. And having a more central connection between parts north and south in squirrel hill would be a big win in terms of connecting the large-ish community better. A man can dream I guess.


jonawebb

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Jul 9 2013 at 2:25pm #

In “Straphanger” Grescoe talks about how they removed parking in Copenhagen. The trick is to do it gradually, so that businesses see increased customers from cyclists at the same time as reduced traffic from motorists. In residential areas of Pittsburgh, I think you’d need to provide substitute parking and not reduce overall spaces at all. E.g., the redesign of Louisa street replaces parallel on-street parking with angled on-street parking and moves things around some. If you don’t provide parking equivalent to what is actually in use, residents will object, and then you’re stuck, apparently. OTOH since this is based on what is actually in use if you do it gradually and provide superior transit options people will gradually change and auto parking spaces can gradually disappear.


Lou M.

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Jul 9 2013 at 2:25pm #

North Negley all the way to Friendship Ave. More than enough room here.


erok

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Jul 9 2013 at 2:49pm #

yeah, negley is something that needs to be explored, but again, it going to take more than just stripes. it’s 4 lanes at times, and it will need a road diet, which i think is doable some day, especially if the city increases it’s bike budget.


Benzo

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Jul 9 2013 at 3:00pm #

@jonawebb – is that angled on-street parking proposed on louisa pull in (front of vehicle to curb) or back in (front of vehicle to street)?

I’m no fan of the pull in parking they have on bigelow blvd by the cathedral of learning, it’s really hard for people trying to pull out of the spots to even see a car approaching, let alone a cyclist. Back in angle parking seems to be very bike friendly since it doesn’t require blindly backing in to an active traffic lane.


jonawebb

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Jul 9 2013 at 3:02pm #

It is pull in. I’m not sure right now if backing out would interfere with bike traffic.


WillB

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Jul 9 2013 at 3:09pm #

How about Smallman from 36th to 21st. I don’t know if there’s actually parking along all of it (I don’t see cars parked during my commute, but maybe they’re there during the day), but the existing lanes seem really wide. And if you could get rid of the stop signs (while implement some other type of traffic calming) it could be a great bike boulevard-type street, and certainly would be safer than Penn.


Marko82

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Jul 9 2013 at 3:09pm #

*Irvine Street from the underpass to Hazelwood Ave. – plenty wide with practically no parking issues. http://goo.gl/maps/3oeQR

*River road on nothside – leave the trail for newbs & walkers. http://goo.gl/maps/Sqiay

*I also suggest putting sharrows on all downtown bridges. There are usually too many pedestrians on the sidewalks , and seeing sharrows will let cars & cyclists know that it’s ok for bikes to use the roadway.


Benzo

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Jul 9 2013 at 3:23pm #

Second ave, pretty much from 10th st bridge to greenfield ave. It’s nebulous whether it’s a 4 lane or a 2 lane in places.

Same with Butler St from about the auto bathhouse (after 57th st) to one wild place.

These are likely penndot controlled, which means they are likely more difficult to get changed. Hell, I don’t even care if they put in bike lanes as much as I’d like them to mark the edges of the traffic lanes by painting some shoulders or something.


Marko82

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Jul 9 2013 at 3:24pm #

I also think that some streets that are not wide enough for a formal bike lane could be drastically improved with a simple right lane stripe that would help keep cars away from the curb and would give us some space. This is basically what we have going up Shenley Drive through the golf course. http://goo.gl/maps/uL0On

*Greenfield ave
*18th street
*one wild place
*Perrysville ave


Marko82

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Jul 9 2013 at 3:25pm #

@Benzo, we’re on the same wavelength….


erok

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Jul 9 2013 at 4:10pm #

Second ave, pretty much from 10th st bridge to greenfield ave. It’s nebulous whether it’s a 4 lane or a 2 lane in places.

This comes up a lot, and i never really understand why, and goes to why we try concentrate on the roads on the bike map. is this something that we should put our limited bike money and resources to? probably not. I still can’t come up with a good reason to ever ride this section of road, with the jail trail right there. i know it sounds like something someone on the PG comments section would say, but there’s nothing to go to down there. if we have 5 apples per year to spend on bike infrastructure, i can’t say that this should be 1-2 of them. but you’re right, the road sucks.


melange396

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Jul 9 2013 at 4:22pm #

is there any precedent for getting a bike lane put in on a one-way road that provides travel in the opposite direction?

in my ideal world, we would have those on castleman st and westminster pl so you can get to walnut st and the rest of shadyside from cmu on nice quiet roads.


ieverhart

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Jul 9 2013 at 4:39pm #

in my ideal world, we would have those on castleman st and westminster pl so you can get to walnut st and the rest of shadyside from cmu on nice quiet roads.

+1 on those roads, and/or Pembroke Place. These are frequently used unofficially anyway, and only one block long of one-way streets is probably easy to manage.


StuInMcCandless

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Jul 9 2013 at 4:53pm #

< grouse > Wabash Tunnel < /grouse >

(sorry, I’m in a mood right now…)

But now that I think about it, Woodruff Street, all the way up.


Steven

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Jul 9 2013 at 4:55pm #

There’s a block of Allegheny Avenue in Glassport that’s one way for cars, two way for bikes. It’s part of the Clairton Connector from the GAP to the Montour. There’s no bike lane, but it’s very quiet and doesn’t really need one.


erok

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Jul 9 2013 at 6:56pm #

is there any precedent for getting a bike lane put in on a one-way road that provides travel in the opposite direction?

Contra-flow bike lane. Not in the city. we’ve been pushing this for a few locations, but the engineer is really reluctant. It’s something that “isn’t reallyin the book” so it’s been difficult.

@steven thanks for sharing that glassport st, didn’t know it existed


erok

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Jul 9 2013 at 7:01pm #

can’t really see where it says bikes are allowed. is it marked anywhere?


salty

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Jul 9 2013 at 7:20pm #

2-way lanes on Castleman/Pembroke/Westminster would be cool, although that area is littered with rich people who have a way of preventing cool things from happening (like the Amberson busway station).

I would love an uphill bike lane on Wilkins Ave, although that means getting rid of some parking. But, my best guess is most of the parking is not used by residents, I think it’s mostly students, contractor trucks, people using it as a park and ride, etc.


Ahlir

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Jul 9 2013 at 7:35pm #

All suggestions in this thread sound good. I would trust BikePgh to develop a systematic approach.

But, hey, this is a public message board…

I would repeat my own suggestion that all 4-lane roads at minimum get sharrows in the right lane. This sounds (relatively) low-cost and it would do a lot to improve the perceived balance between cars and bikes. (Bikes must have the right to be on this road! After all why would they paint those bike chevron thingies?) Drivers are reasonable; they will respond to signage. It doesn’t solve the problem but it does set expectations.

The whole issue could be approached empirically by simple doing a census on candidate roads and get started on fixing the ones with the most cyclists. (Yes, there are probably better criteria; the main thing is getting some hard data.)

Finally, if I could sneak in one of my own pet peeves, I would love to see Melwood sharrowed between Herron and Baum. Especially that stretch in the middle, which tends to make me nervous (what with those occasional Walter Mitty race-car drivers).


byogman

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Jul 9 2013 at 7:38pm #

erok wrote:Second ave, pretty much from 10th st bridge to greenfield ave. It’s nebulous whether it’s a 4 lane or a 2 lane in places.

This comes up a lot, and i never really understand why…

Three reasons I can think of. Access to the 10th street bridge itself, the annoyance of the access to the EFT trailhead at the other end, and annoyance at riding the EFT itself (because of meandering joggers I’d guess mostly).

For the first, I’m curious if maybe instead of worrying about the length of 2nd ave you can just concentrate on the tiny section between the parking lot (which you can use to connect to/from EFT) and the 10th street bridge.

For the second, I think we all agree that the EFT trailhead access is, to avoid profanity, I’ll just allude to it feeling like a dog thrown the least tasty leftover scraps from the table. I rather wish with the Swineburn bridge work being done this could be the time to cut this gordian knot, but I suspect there is no vision on the part of the people controlling the purse strings here. So this stays on the someday list.

For the third, yeah, it’s summer, it can be crowded sometimes.

Not ideal by any means, but I agree, I don’t see that it really amounts to enough to prioritize the length of it given all the other things that aren’t moving this would divert resources from.


salty

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Jul 9 2013 at 7:41pm #

Melwood should get retractable bollards to allow people who actually live on that road to drive through while forcing non-residents to use Bigelow. They should have those on a lot of residential streets that people “shortcut” through. I saw them all over the place in Amsterdam (as well as many “one way – except bikes” streets)


Ahlir

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Jul 9 2013 at 7:54pm #

Bollards are great, especially the flexible ones stapled to the pavement (and therefore cheap to install).

Here’s an example from Montreal (per StreetView):

I lived a couple of houses behind on the right!
There are two sets of these on the block.


salty

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Jul 9 2013 at 8:13pm #

I meant like this:


Ahlir

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Jul 9 2013 at 8:45pm #

Have you seen this in this country?

You’d have to get the residents to pay for it. (And everyone on the street will need a gizmo to control the system.) Not to mention the maintenance. It makes it a gated community. Not urban. Yuck.
The idea may work for commercial streets where delivery and refuse are really the only legitimate motorized traffic (and actually I vaguely recall the barriers being down early morning, just for that purpose). But Morewood is a real street.

There’s no real reason to prevent vehicular traffic. Though there is a strong incentive to make it less desirable. The flexible bollard seems like a nice, low cost solution. (Well, maybe rock-throwing locals would work as well.)


RustyRed

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Jul 9 2013 at 8:56pm #

Ahlir wrote:The flexible bollard seems like a nice, low cost solution. (Well, maybe rock-throwing locals would work as well.)

Well-placed lawn chairs would work in Pittsburgh.


salty

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Jul 9 2013 at 9:25pm #

I was only being semi-serious, there are obviously practical issues with it – but it certainly wouldn’t create a “gated community”, it would just prevents cars from using that road as a “short cut”. Of course, the truth is, it’s not a “short cut” unless you speed, run the stop signs, don’t yield to peds, etc.

FWIW, blogski says it was closed to through traffic in the 80s: http://blogski.phcapgh.org/2012/06/therecent-accidents-highlight-the-problem-of-speeding-drivers-along-melwood-avenue-and-gold-way/

(bonus points for hit and run content?)


Steven

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Jul 9 2013 at 11:48pm #

can’t really see where it says bikes are allowed. is it marked anywhere?

I think there’s a little “except bikes” sign now by the one way sign. Not sure though.


HiddenVariable

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Jul 9 2013 at 11:57pm #

i ride melwood regularly, and it’s sad and weird how many people just fly through there, especially with bigelow to one side and liberty to the other, both of which have been dedicated more to automobile traffic than human traffic for as long as i can remember. i get passed while stopping at the stop sign on melwood at finland about once a week.

and it (melwood, not morewood) isn’t exactly “a real street” in my mind. most of it is either quiet residential (or should be, without enough room for two way traffic) or alleyway. i’m pretty sure the folks who speed through to avoid rush hour traffic on bigelow and liberty aren’t saving any time, but are harrying the residents.


HiddenVariable

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Jul 10 2013 at 12:08am #

also:

my pie in the sky plans for pittsburgh are to reduce parking on ellsworth and put in bike lanes, and to close penn in the strip to automobile traffic, especially on weekends.

ellsworth, between aiken and neville, has parking on both sides. underutilized parking, which could surely, i think, be consolidated to one side. it is already a wide street, and so by removing one parking lane, it should be easy to install (protected?) bike lanes on both sides. it’s crazy how many people on bicycles i see through this stretch, and yet how unfriendly to bikes it remains. traffic is regularly traveling high speeds, and the intermittent parking forces bicyclists into and out of the automobile travel lane at irregular and dangerous intervals. with all the people wanting to use this road for bicycles, it should be made considerably friendlier, and i think can be, if there be a will for it.

closing penn in the strip to automobile traffic just seems like a no-brainer to me. at least during the day time and especially on weekends. it already plays like a one-lane road, with folks double parking, and pedestrian traffic always taking up room in the outer lanes. we need a road that is pedestrian and bikes only; penn ave is screaming for it.


Benzo

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Jul 10 2013 at 7:10am #

erok wrote:This comes up a lot (2nd ave), and i never really understand why, and goes to why we try concentrate on the roads on the bike map. is this something that we should put our limited bike money and resources to?

it’s not something I think we should be focusing resources for bike/ped funding in there due to EFT access close by. However, I think other road funds should. it’s not that it needs bike / ped improvements alone, it needs general safety improvments for driver safety too. On roads like this that are too wide like this, traffic becomes a nebulous mix of people who think it’s a 4 lane road and some who think it’s a 2 lane road so in each direction there becomes a right most lane position, a leftmost lane position, and a middle lane position that takes up part of both the right and left lanes. I see this all the time here, on bayard st, and penn ave towards wilkinsburg. It’s unsafe for all users.

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