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Opportunity for Input – Pocusset Street in Schenley Park

This topic contains 123 replies, has 34 voices, and was last updated by  Benzo 1 mo, 1 week.

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Swalfoort

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Aug 28 2013 at 4:01pm #

This came to me today. This looks like a great opportunity to provide input on an important ped/bike link:

This event is being sponsored by the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition in conjunction with the City Department of Public Works and Councilman Corey O’Connor.

Community Meeting to discuss
Pocusset Road Re-Use Plan
(Schenley Park segment only, between Pocusset Street and Greenfield Road) & Greenfield Bridge Replacement Update
* * *
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
7:00 p.m.
Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
Levinson Hall, Room 202B
5738 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15217
* * *
Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition
Council Representative Corey O’Connor’s Office
City of Pittsburgh, Department of Public Works
invite you for a community discussion of two important transportation issues:

1) Proposed conversion of Pocusset Road (the Schenley Park section between Pocusset Street and Greenfield Road) to pedestrian/non-motorized vehicle use for safety reasons.
?
2) Update on Greenfield Bridge replacement – scheduled closure October, 2015.

If you have questions in advance of the meeting, please contact:
Office of Corey O’Connor – (412) 255-8965
* * *
We need your help to spread the word!
Please share this notice with friends & neighbors
via your electronic networks and by handing out this notice to your neighbors.
Thanks so much!
5604 SOLWAY STREET • PITTSBURGH, PA 15217
TEL: 412-422-7666 • FAX: 412.422-8802
http://WWW.SHUC.ORGINFO@SHUC.ORG


jonawebb

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Aug 28 2013 at 4:08pm #

That’s interesting. I was wondering why they hadn’t opened that street. I’m guessing they decided they’re just going to let it continue to slide down the hill.


jeg

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Aug 28 2013 at 4:21pm #

1) On one hand that would be great, on the other hand it’s possibly an excuse for the city to stop maintaining the road properly.

2) Darn you people! I was strategically planning my several year absence from Pittsburgh to avoid all of that nonsense, and they keep changing their minds!

If I weren’t 4,000 miles away I’d definitely go to this!


Swalfoort

Private Message

Aug 28 2013 at 6:10pm #

Hey, JEG -
I think email still works from that distance. Corey’s email addy is above.

Oops, I lied. SHUC email contact information is available tho.

4000 miles in what direction? I’ve forgotten.


sarapgh2

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Aug 29 2013 at 9:11am #

Thanks for posting this, I’ll be there!


StuInMcCandless

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Aug 29 2013 at 11:15am #

jeg’s in Germany.

Meanwhile, this might be a good opportunity to revive the idea of installing a switchback between Saline Street and Greenfield Road. Seems to me that the idea of connecting a neighborhood with a major park would be an easy sell.

Having such a thing would make it far easier to get from SqHill to downtown without dealing with busy Oakland, too.

Map


Mick

Private Message

Aug 29 2013 at 12:18pm #

jeg wrote:it’s possibly an excuse for the city to stop maintaining the road properly.

Hiya, jeg!

This is actually a concern. There are bridal paths between Pocusset and the circle up at Prospect. But there are many felled trees blocking the path – it seems like someone went with a chain saw to deliberately block those paths.

Not sure if it would be the denizens of Prospect Circle preventing police raids, or inhabitants of the neighborhood trying to block the circle people, but it appears deliberate.


Mick

Private Message

Aug 29 2013 at 12:19pm #

StuInMcCandless wrote:Meanwhile, this might be a good opportunity to revive the idea of installing a switchback between Saline Street and Greenfield Road. Seems to me that the idea of connecting a neighborhood with a major park would be an easy sell.

That would be a great thing!


andyc

Private Message

Aug 29 2013 at 12:34pm #

There used to be a small footpath between Greenfield St and Naylor street in the run.

There also used to be a slightly larger switchback footpath from the Bridle Trail down to Boundary street.

I have not taken either in a long time so I’m not sure if they still exist.


byogman

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Aug 29 2013 at 12:53pm #

This is an interesting angle on making the greenfield avenue climb more bike friendly. While I’d decidedly enjoy a no-traffic route for the climb, take it every day in fact, and the greenfield bridge being out for a year and a half is, ahem, an annoying prospect, I’d really be just as happy with an uphill lane on Greenfield in the long term.

But this would be a bigger benefit than that to those who aren’t really comfortable with that sort of climb on bike if you could also presumably run stairs with a bike rail directly along the steepest part of the gradient… thereby making a time efficient and easy route for the sort of riders who prefer to walk the bike up Greenfield today instead of huff and puff and more accessible one to those who might consider biking but for whom the climb is a deal killer.

Of course, there’s still a little work to do on Greenfield Rd. and then Hobart, and my very favorite, the left from Hobart onto Beacon. But it’s an important start.


andyc

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Aug 29 2013 at 1:13pm #

There are stairs from the church in the run up to the school in Greenfield. I’m not sure exactly what state of disrepair they are in.


JaySherman5000

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Aug 29 2013 at 1:36pm #

Swalfoort wrote:Hey, JEG -
I think email still works from that distance. Corey’s email addy is above.

sometimes, there is a limit on how far you can send emails.


Pierce

Private Message

Aug 29 2013 at 2:15pm #

@andyc

They’re non-existent past the houses on the bottom end


Swalfoort

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Aug 29 2013 at 2:56pm #

@Jay – That is hilarious! Thanks for posting that.

Leave it to the geostatisticians to highlight the exact nature of the problem!


erok

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Sep 4 2013 at 3:45pm #

1) On one hand that would be great, on the other hand it’s possibly an excuse for the city to stop maintaining the road properly.

That’s a fine reason to convert or right-size a road. city saves money, street is no longer used as a speedway/cut thru, and there’s another non-motorized connection


Lee

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Sep 5 2013 at 10:11am #

pocusset bike boulevard and a saline st. switchback up to greenfield road would make it possible to use junction hollow trail to get from squirrel hill into oakland. i wonder if the residents of that little neighborhood would oppose. seems like a sleepy little hollow that might have grown comfortable with its isolation.

pocusset will become a mess when they close the greenfield bridge if they leave it open to car traffic. i can’t imagine it being the official detour, but people will seek shortcuts. it’s sketchy to walk or bike it now. absolutely nowhere to get off to the side and many turns let traffic creep up on you.

i’d even settle for one or the other actions. the switchback or pocusset closure. but climbing the rubble hill up to greenfield road AND dealing with pocusset or going around via hobart into sqhill south is too much.

the highway ramped speedway through schenley park and screwy dangerous intersection at its junction with greenfield is the real problem. you can’t bike back from oakland to squirrel hill on it and even if you’re willing to take the sidewalk or gravel trail in the park, they’re on the wrong side of the road to access and then rejoin traffic at each respective end.


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Sep 5 2013 at 11:49am #

That part of Saline St would still be isolated from car traffic. The only through traffic would be cyclists. I cannot see why that would be objectionable.

Two big plusses would be that residents could then gain easy access to Schenley Park, as well as easy non-motorized access to the Squirrel Hill business district. Closing Pocusset to motor traffic makes that even more desirable, in my book.


jonawebb

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Sep 5 2013 at 11:56am #

I don’t think a switchback ramp is on the table in any case. It would cost millions of dollars. What is the funding source? It maybe could have been included in the Greenfield Bridge reconstruction, but that ship has sailed, I believe. At this meeting the city will be talking about closing a street to car traffic; not any new construction projects.


Lee

Private Message

Sep 5 2013 at 1:04pm #

even a dirt trail instead of a hillside full of vw beetle sized rocks would be nice. but yeah, jon i was just dreaming along on here. i’ll most likely attend the meeting at the jcc.


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Sep 5 2013 at 1:07pm #

Where do kids on Naylor Street go to school? Would it also make sense to restore the steps up to Greenfield Elementary and St Rosalia’s? I don’t think we’re talking millions of dollars to do this. I think the idea can be sold on the merits of making community assets walkable-to. If my kid could get to school on a 10-minute walk up a staircase and not have to cross a major street to do it, yeah, I’d live there.

Talking point: Property values rise
Talking point: (comparatively low-cost) gov’t spending to improve quality of life


buffalo buffalo

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Sep 10 2013 at 9:18am #

[bump -- this is tonight]


erok

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Sep 11 2013 at 11:41am #

I couldn’t make this last night. I was at a Greenfield community meeting on monday nite, and they all seemed supportive of the closure.

Any report back?

I think this is kinda a big deal, if not for the length, but for the precedent it can set. I’ve been trying to think of an instance where a city took a paved street offline to motorized traffic, and dedicated it non-motorized travel, outside of say a bridge or business district situation like Times Square.

Can anyone think of situations like this?


byogman

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Sep 11 2013 at 12:01pm #

Sounds like it being converted to non-motorized is a done deal since there just ISN’T the money to deal with the washouts, build the underside back up to support the weight of motorized vehicles.

Basic plan was 6 ft. wide bike lanes in the center, each direction with a 5 foot pedestrian area on the outside. Plowing and maintenance would then fall under the same category as other Schenley Park trails. They said they did need to preserve use of the road for emergency vehicles.

Community seemed quite positive about it. The on topic concerns revolved around speeding on Pocusset, difficulties with the dead end (sign not being seen, garbage trucks having trouble turning around), and distrust that candlestick type barriers would really keep the motorized traffic out. “It only takes one” was a common theme. Bollards (and other, more expensive, implausible things) were suggested as alternates.


Marko82

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Sep 11 2013 at 12:08pm #

@erok, technically Boundary street meets your description, although it took several decades to get the bike trail in after the road was closed.


erok

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Sep 11 2013 at 12:08pm #

Cool thanks. i know the city folks really want this to close, but i wasn’t quite sure how the community would respond.


Benzo

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Sep 11 2013 at 12:11pm #

Any mention of the ‘mystery road’ that used to go from poccuset to prospect drive? I can see on google street view that it looks like there seems to be a closed road there which connects the two streets right after the houses end on poccuset st.


edmonds59

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Sep 11 2013 at 12:30pm #

Whoa, I remember when that street was open. Closed maybe 1990+-? There’s probably still road bed under there. I doubt they would have bothered to demo the road.


erok

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Sep 11 2013 at 1:04pm #

i actually just rode this the other day. totally ridable, just needs to be cleaned up some, removal of down trees, trash, weeds, etc.

I was in a meeting where there was a brief discussion with the city about daylighting that road, but i imagine that maintenance would be minimal. really, a few volunteers spending a few hours could make this work, but the city would need to remove a metal barrier


jonawebb

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Sep 11 2013 at 3:14pm #

Reopening that street would make a much better connection from Hobart to Pocusset than currently exists (you either have to take Philips, which is Polish block there, Wightman, or Greenfield). The connection to the Greenfield Bridge from parts of Squirrel Hill (basically everything north of Hobart) would get significantly better, with less traffic.


buffalo buffalo

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Sep 11 2013 at 3:55pm #

Benzo wrote:Any mention of the ‘mystery road’ that used to go from poccuset to prospect drive? I can see on google street view that it looks like there seems to be a closed road there which connects the two streets right after the houses end on poccuset st.

This was mentioned, yes–an attendee brought it up as an example of another former road that had been cut it off, and was not in great condition, and wondered if Pocusset would be equally poorly maintained. The gentleman from Public Works’s response was that Pocusset would be maintained by Schenley Park as part of the bridle trail system.

There were also concerns raised that drug use, public sex, and other Prospect circle problems would move down to the newly-closed area; the response both from Public Works and the police representative was that this was a reason for temporary or non-full-width barriers–aside from fire-dept access, it’s so that patrol cars can get there.


buffalo buffalo

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Sep 11 2013 at 4:13pm #

By the way, there was absolutely no discussion of any ramps, staircases, or other connections from the Run to either Greenfield Ave or Squirrel Hill; the bridge-replacement portion of the program lasted perhaps ten minutes, and most of the attendees left after discussion of Pocusset Road ceased.

@byogman and I did manage to convince the City PW rep to “look at” whittling some space out of the proposed travel lanes on the new bridge in order to create proper bike space on both sides–the current plan is, as mentioned elsewhere, for a five-foot bike lane (non-barrier) on the northbound (Park-bound) side, two 11-foot motorized lanes northbound, a 14-foot combined bike/motor southbound lane, and a 10-foot sidewalk (curb, no barrier). He mentioned that PennDOT had wanted 12-foot lanes given the bus and truck traffic*, but @byogman, noting that the existing lanes are 10 feet already, suggested the possibility of taking a foot from the center lane (so, going 5-11-10-11-?), and I wondered about the possibility of getting the other foot from the sidewalk. We attempted in particular to press upon him the fact that, while a rider may be able to keep up with traffic on the downhill section of Greenfield Road, the 90-degree turn into the bridge will force many to slow way down, and thus a separate space would be vastly preferred.

He did also point out that all we’re discussing here is the arrangement of paint on the roadway. With the exception of the curb for the sidewalk, there will be no barriers between any use spaces on the bridge.

* He did acknowledge that the truck traffic is at best questionably legal, but seemed to shrug at it.


jonawebb

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Sep 14 2013 at 12:32pm #

I rode down the abandoned street between Pocusset and Prospect and made a video here. It is, indeed, rideable, and not as steep as I’d thought it would be. There’s a downed tree you have to get over, but otherwise only a little cleanup is necessary.


erok

Private Message

Nov 8 2013 at 11:26am #


So, they painted Pocusset, now we’re just waiting for the “official” ends, candlesticks, signs, etc to go in. It’s beautiful.

Serious question: I can’t seem to find a precedent for this, ie, taking a road that formerly carried motor vehicles, and converting it to non-motorized traffic only. Like they didn’t just close the street and let the weeds grow, this is a programmed street that is paved, painted, etc for bikes only. it’s basically a trail now, but it’s kinda different because it was formerly a road.

So question – what do we call this?

We may have naming rights to this. I really like the language of “road diet” – it’s a descriptive way to explain what happened.

Any thoughts?

@ Marko – what part of Boundary St are you talking about?

“Right-sized street”


erok

Private Message

Nov 8 2013 at 11:28am #

another cool shot or 2:

doesn’t that look fun?


buffalo buffalo

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Nov 8 2013 at 11:31am #

erok wrote:@ Marko – what part of Boundary St are you talking about?

The Junction Hollow Trail, I assume…


jonawebb

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Nov 8 2013 at 11:33am #

I plan eventually to clear the fallen tree from the abandoned road up to Prospect. It’s a nice connection to parts of Squirrel Hill north of Hobart.
BTW riding Pocusset one night I found two branches on the road. They looked like somebody had deliberately placed them there horizontally across the place where a bike would go. So be careful at night.


erok

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Nov 8 2013 at 11:36am #

is this just simply a “Greenway?”


erok

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Nov 8 2013 at 11:39am #

Maybe Boundary qualifies, but it if it took years, then it was more a paper street that then became a trail. this was an active street, that the city straight up converted to bikes only.


byogman

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Nov 8 2013 at 11:52am #

That first picture looks like a shot for promo literature!

Heavenly.

How soon till it’s officially open?


erok

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Nov 8 2013 at 11:52am #

Repurposed street?

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