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Tell me where to put bike racks in the Waterfront

This topic contains 86 replies, has 31 voices, and was last updated by  Vannevar 3 mos, 1 week.

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sarapgh2

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Feb 26 2013 at 1:50pm #

If you could put bike racks, bike corrals, bike welcome centers – anything bike/trail-user related in the Waterfront, what would it be and where?

I’ve been asked to put together a proposal regarding bike racks, corrals, kiosks, etc. at the Waterfront and I’d like to hear a variety of opinions. I basically want to create bike utopia at the Waterfront.


jonawebb

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Feb 26 2013 at 1:58pm #

You definitely need them by the movie theater. There is a lot of space there next to the main entrance for a bike corral. I’d prefer that side as it is more protected from the weather. Maybe under the roof in front of the entrance.
Someplace next to the Starbucks in the town square would also make sense.
Looking at the rest of the space I’d sprinkle them along the entrances to the big box stores. Giant Eagle would be a good place for a corral.


rsprake

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Feb 26 2013 at 2:09pm #

Who is the proposal for? The Waterfront? Homestead? Steel Valley Trail?

To start I would install a rack in front of every big box store, more than one in front of Giant Eagle and Target. One night last summer there were six bikes parked outside of Giant Eagle including mine. Rock Bottom, the “town center,” etc.

Most of your trail traffic will probably stick with what’s on the trail, TGI Fridays, UNO, etc, but it would be nice if there were an easier way to get off of the trail and into the Waterfront proper. For instance, you have to ride over grass or over top of curbs to get from the limestone trail to Rock Bottom. When I daydream I imagine little off ramps combined with signs pointing out what can be reached from there.

I would have a welcome center on either end of the waterfront with a map pointing out the facilities in the waterfront in addition to the great stuff in Homestead proper. But to me, that’s on The Waterfront or Homestead to take on just like Southside has.

I spend a lot of time at the waterfront both on and off my bike. Let me know if you want me to elaborate on anything.


reddan

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Feb 26 2013 at 2:11pm #

I strongly agree re: by the Starbucks. Centrally located, very public, and directly accessible from the trail without crossing roads with traffic.

A cluster or clusters of racks near the trailside restaurants would be good.

A bike shop/bike rental place with a friendly long-term parking policy for GAP riders would be aces, too.

Possibly a good place for a bike parts vending machine experiment?


sarapgh2

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Feb 26 2013 at 2:21pm #

jonawebb – by main entrance, I assume you mean the side that faces the restaurants?

rsprake – many of your ideas are on the table, you might get your wishes:) For the purposes of this proposal it’s for the “Waterfront” as a whole, but ownership in the area differs from store to store in many places.
Can you be specific about where along the trail you’d like to see cuts? Also, what would a “welcome center” entail? Any examples? (I have ideas of my own but don’t want to skew the conversation.)


sarapgh2

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Feb 26 2013 at 2:23pm #

reddan – bike parts vending machine? tell me more…


jonawebb

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Feb 26 2013 at 2:31pm #

@sara, yes, that side. Weather usually comes from the west and it is more protected there. Also, it’s more convenient.


reddan

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Feb 26 2013 at 2:46pm #

@sarapgh2 : By “bike parts vending machine”, I mean a standard snack-dispensing machine (ideally one that takes plastic) that is filled with spare tubes of various sizes, patch kits, tire levers, bolt assortments, folding hex wrench sets, and similar parts and small tools.

Bonus points for wiring in an electrical air pump for free air.


byogman

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Feb 26 2013 at 2:49pm #

Since you used the word “utopia” I’ll engage in some wishful thinking beyond racks.

First, easiest, and most realistic, bike lanes down on the waterfront roads themselves (they’re decently wide so should be easy) and on the ramp up to the bridge.

Next, in bang for the buck, can we peel back the brown stone blocks that impede on the narrow sidewalk, put sharrows on the right hand lane on browns hill road, make the sidewalk up browns hill road continuous to the intersection with Hazelwood avenue (and not put ^&*ing signs on it, thanks). Having the 25 limit actually slight enforced on Browns Hill would be nice (I don’t really care about 30, but please not everyone needs to go 40+).

Getting more ambitious still, bike lanes to Greenfield avenue / Beechwood Blvd (which need to have their own bike lanes created/finished of course).

After that, I don’t know, big flyover bridge connecting duck hollow to hazelwood via 2nd avenue and/or continuation of hazelwood trail?

Utopia sounds like a nice place. Good luck.


rsprake

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Feb 26 2013 at 2:51pm #

sarapgh2 wrote:
Can you be specific about where along the trail you’d like to see cuts?

My thinking is anywhere there is a traffic signal or its easy to cross so the light before Eat N’ Park, Eat N’ Park, and Red Robin.

sarapgh2 wrote:
Also, what would a “welcome center” entail? Any examples? (I have ideas of my own but don’t want to skew the conversation.)

I really like what South Side is doing with their trail town initiative. They are planning shelters at strategic locations to help people find places to eat.


rice rocket

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Feb 26 2013 at 2:56pm #

sarah, re: welcome center…how about just a map like the ones at Frick Park?

Argh, I can’t find any pics on the internet…


jonawebb

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Feb 26 2013 at 3:01pm #

I like the idea of a bike parts vending machine but I don’t think the Waterfront is the best place for the first one in Pittsburgh. Let’s put the first one where there’s lots of bike traffic now, like next to the repair station at Whole Foods.
Edit: or, better, the end of Eliza Furnace Trail downtown.


sarapgh2

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Feb 26 2013 at 3:33pm #

rice rocket – I’m familiar with the park sign, I can get pics of that.
jonawebb – thanks for the link. looks interesting. air pump at the very least would be VERY useful.


Swalfoort

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Feb 26 2013 at 3:43pm #

Or a set up like at Whole Foods, with an air pump and some basic tools cabled to a secure anchor.

Bike racks near the Sandcastle entrance too. With the trail coming, I am not sure they know what is going to hit them, bike wise.


byogman

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Feb 26 2013 at 3:52pm #

Sorry to go so afield, I saw “utopia” and jumped on it.

I think the waterfront is nice to have, but when proposed it was supposed to help revitalize homewood and it didn’t, because it was too cut off from the local streets.

I’d hate to have see a big investment in a bike paradise and it be too cut off (at least for a lot of cyclists) from the rest of the city to have much of an impact except down by the trail. Different organizational stakeholders, involved here vs. what I’m talking about probably, but a clear case to me where the whole is more than the sum of its parts.


jonawebb

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Feb 26 2013 at 4:03pm #

There’s been some revitalization of Homewood since the Waterfront was built. I’ve noticed new stores, restaurants, some offices, I think. Don’t know if it is due to the Waterfront, and I’ll bet it could have been better, but what was there before was a defunct steel mill. The development there is definitely an improvement.


StuInMcCandless

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Feb 26 2013 at 4:10pm #

Go to this thread for ideas.

http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/things-pampered-european-cyclists-get/


byogman

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Feb 26 2013 at 4:30pm #

Some commercial strip improvement makes sense, that still serves outsiders down close to the waterfront area.

But home values are of a highly depressed area. Could have been very different if some of the local streets connected in a pedestrian / bike friendly way and the whole place weren’t so dominated by car parking. I don’t recall seeing anyone walking to/from the place. Just saying there’s a lesson there, will stop veering off the thread now.


sarapgh2

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Feb 26 2013 at 4:35pm #

Thanks Stu, good stuff there. and more vending machines! :)

I’d love to get to the point of needing multilevel bike parking.


Marko82

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Feb 26 2013 at 4:49pm #

I think one of the best things the waterfront could do is create a kiosk along the trail that would show out of towners what’s there. I’m thinking of a simple map and store list like they use at the indoor malls. I would place it somewhwere toward the pump house end. If you ride along the official trail you wouldn’t even know about the small “town” shops and restaurants by the movie theater. It would help to list which restaurants are bike-clothes friendly too, and those that wouldn’t mind you freshening up in their restrooms. (is there a stand alone restroom anywhere? Without having to go into a store?)

I prefer several bike racks spread around compared to one central location unless the central location was staffed or had lockers to store your stuff while you shopped. It is a p.i.a. to take your lights, bags and other stuff off the bike; or risk leaving the stuff on the bike when you don’t know the riskiness of the neighborhood.


StuInMcCandless

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Feb 26 2013 at 4:59pm #

Cameras out the wazoo near bike facilities, hooked to recording devices, with prosecution of crimes attempted or carried out.

Starting up a good “You don’t F with the bikes” vibe would go a long way to getting that utopia. NOT doing it will result in the opposite.

Some of those cameras would need to face the parking lot, so as to track where perpetrators go. A couple along paths of car travel, too, so we can get plate #s. I’m sure the store owners desirous of prosecuting shoplifters would similarly be in favor of that.


scott

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Feb 26 2013 at 5:42pm #

Sarapgh, can you use this project to also push nicely for a continuation of the cycletrack in Munhall all the way through the Waterfront? The reason being that bike racks, although much needed, the entire development must be made more bike friendly. This is a good first step though.


buffalo buffalo

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Feb 26 2013 at 6:10pm #

1. The Waterfront is in Homestead (and West Homestead, and Munhall, but whatever). Homewood’s a different place. (So’s Hazelwood.) Of course, all those Homes and Woods are about the same, right?

a. I’ve definitely walked into the Waterfront from Homestead, when that was where the closest fastest bus went. (I’ve also walked from Squirrel Hill, but I acknowledge I’m an… outlier.) But the place is pretty clearly designed to pull people in from the City…

2. I think the Waterfront would be a fabulous place for a parts vending machine. I think Whole Foods and on the Furnace Trail would be great places for them, too–but it’s the Waterfront we’ve got the ear of here, so why shouldn’t it get one?

3. Racks near each of the big-box stores. Perhaps take one or two of the front parking spaces across from each and turn them into a corral? Definitely a corral in that little side parking lot between Giant Eagle and Target.

4. Definitely agree with Marko re: welcome signs along the trail with “what’s here” and “which places aren’t going to look at you funny when you walk in with 300 miles of dust on you” (or, alternately, “where can i pee before i get on this trail?”).

a. It’d be swell if the signs could reference some things that aren’t specifically part of the Waterfront development, too, like the aforementioned restaurants on and near Eighth Ave, but that might be a bit much to ask for…

5. Definitely cameras over all parking areas, ones decent enough to be able to identify any vandals, thiefs, etc. Prominent signs promising prosecution of problem-causers, too.
(Oof. Sorry, sometimes Alliteration Happens.)

6. Continuing the cycletrack up Waterfront Dr would be awesome! I get the impression most of this project is about how to draw the cycling (especially SV/GAP trail) population into the Waterfront, but it could also be another great way to introduce the Waterfront population to cycling options…


Vannevar

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Feb 26 2013 at 6:15pm #

My Waterfront bike-oasis-utopia would include a bike rack.

A Whole-Foods type FixIt bike work stand with tools and pump.

http://www.dero.com/products/fixit/

http://bikepgh.org/blog/2011/09/21/whole-foods-market-takes-bike-friendly-to-the-next-level/

A tubes-levers-patch kit vending machine that also sells ChamoisCreme, AA and AAA batteries.

http://gajitz.com/bike-repair-station-vending-machine-help-for-cyclists/

http://www.rideyourbike.com/vendingmachine.html

A wifi hotspot for trail travelers (like in Connellsville)
A USB charging station.
A water fountain.
A water hose to rinse off the bikes coming off the GAP
Three chaise lounges, sort of like the outdoors chairs at Bakery Square. Seriously.
A take-a-picture setup showing distance to Pgh, DC, and Bejing.

And I would place my BikeOasisUtopia somewhere between the Labyrinth and the PumpHouse (with their restrooms)

A bike rack at Costco, another between the hotels by the Gantry. We should put two bike racks at Sandcastle, if only because we’ve been predicting that if they’d open the trail they’d get bike business, I’d like them to see bikes parked at their gate.

If I might indulge the notion further, I’d like to see a terminal with a printer with directions to the normal destinations BUT ALSO key attractions in Homestead – such as Ian Green’s artwork, Smoke restaurant (and also the vegetarian place across the street), the Cookie bakery etc. (Lest I make a suggestion without a supporting reference, I’m thinking about the screen-and-printer at the Frostburg Trailhead.)

I mention Homestead because (in my inchoate opinion) too often developments like WaterFront don’t attempt to bring some visitors into the actual local community.


Vannevar

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Feb 26 2013 at 6:18pm #

jonawebb wrote:I like the idea of a bike parts vending machine but…. put the first one where there’s lots of bike traffic now, like next to the repair station at Whole Foods.. or, better, the end of Eliza Furnace Trail downtown.

I’ve been surprised that REI doesn’t place one outside their building to offer after-hours bike support. Then people would think, You can always go to REI to get what you need. I don’t think it would cannabilize their in-store business.


Steven

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Feb 26 2013 at 6:19pm #

The sidewalk by the big box stores is often very narrow. For those areas a rack or two out with the cars might be best (protected from cars of course).

Could we get a distinctive sign or flag above each bike rack (or perhaps the sign could be part of the bike rack) to help folks find the racks? Ideally, when standing at the front of every store, you should be able to easily see either a bike rack, or a sign pointing toward bike parking.

Dicks sells some bike stuff, so a rack near there would be particularly useful for GAP users who need supplies. Perhaps Dicks would sponsor a repair station like the one at Whole Foods.

Racks near the 24-hour restaurants (Steak N Shake, maybe Eat N Park too?) would be good, and an indication of which restaurants are 24/7 should be noted on the map of Marko’s mall-style kiosk.


Marko82

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Feb 26 2013 at 7:41pm #

Steven wrote:Racks near the 24-hour restaurants (Steak N Shake, maybe Eat N Park too?)

Smiley-cookie shaped bike racks! FTW


sarapgh2

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Feb 26 2013 at 8:17pm #

Great great ideas, keep ‘em coming.

Vannevar-love the wifi and usb ideas too. plus the chaises:)

Love the idea to highlight 24-hour or late night food locations. Don’t count out putting 8th Ave places on a map/kiosk.


StuInMcCandless

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Feb 26 2013 at 9:11pm #

Y’know, just plain overdoing it with the racks would not be a bad idea. A corral that can hold 12 to 20 bikes in all of the aforementioned places may seem like overkill, but look at the whole place. Overbuilt parking much, already? They’re on a bike boulevard, for crying out loud. Add 100 racks? Not out of the question.


Andrew

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Feb 26 2013 at 10:52pm #

I live just up the hill from the waterfront so I frequently bike there. Yes racks would be good. Panera bread / Starbucks / Barnes and Noble would make me happy!

But what would make me more happy would be bike lanes put on all the roads out there. They are way overbuilt and it makes biking there kinda scary for the novice.

I would suggest signage on both ends so through-bikers will know what is available in the area.


Steven

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Feb 27 2013 at 3:01am #

Would bike corrals turn into places to leave shopping carts? Maybe the designer should consider how to minimize that. Curbs with openings spaced wide enough for bikes but not carts?


Mikhail

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Feb 27 2013 at 9:54am #

Vannevar wrote:A tubes-levers-patch kit vending machine that also sells ChamoisCreme, AA and AAA batteries.

If it’s possible a little bit more for batteries. Some of them (lights) are using different types. Probably a small piece of duct tape, and some first aid stuff (bandages), some cheap rain protection. I would go as far as cheap dry socks.


Vannevar

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Feb 27 2013 at 10:00am #

Andrew wrote:
But what would make me more happy would be bike lanes put on all the roads out there. …

Regarding bike lanes and the identification/marking thereof, I had the pleasure of riding through Waterfront last year with BobH the TandemCaptain, and he led me across the development behind the stores rather than on the main drag.

It’s a great alternative route, especially if you’re entering or exiting Homestead because it’s an easy transition to Amity Street and avoids teh crazy. Just fwiw.


sarapgh2

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Feb 28 2013 at 11:23am #

Thank you for all the wonderful ideas. Really great stuff. :)


Benzo

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May 17 2013 at 10:24am #

Have new racks been installed yet? I was looking for parking over by rock bottom yesterday and found very few places to lock up. I wound up lashing up to a stop sign.


sarapgh2

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May 17 2013 at 10:30am #

They’ve been ordered and are coming. I haven’t been told of an installation date yet, but I know they want everything in by June 15. This initial order, while it will cover the entire area the Waterfront Shopping Center manages, won’t be the end of it. Hopefully we’ll show them this is just a start and more is needed.

Also keep in mind that the management company does not own the entire Waterfront, and independently owned properties have to do their own thing. We’re reaching out to these entities as well, but since it’s just one person (me:) I ‘ve had to pick my battles so far. Waterfront management made it very easy, they’ve been wonderful.

Long story short, you’ll have something better at Rock Bottom soon.


paulheckbert

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May 17 2013 at 11:42am #

A good way to map bike racks is this crowdsourced online map:

https://sites.google.com/site/pghbikeracks/

Read the instructions and you can add to the wishlist there. This page says “this is completely unofficial” – it would be great if the City or County or both would adopt / adapt this and make it official.


paulheckbert

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May 17 2013 at 12:04pm #

More wishlist (this from the Steel Valley Trail Council): Complete the following map, namely connect Hazelwood & Duck Hollow Trails across the Glenwood Bridge to the GAP, with nice ramps, and extend the Duck Hollow Trail past Carrie Furnace to Rankin and Braddock, crossing the Rankin Hot Metal Bridge (currently closed) to the GAP upstream of the blue Marcegaglia building.

That way people in Rankin & Braddock & Swissvale & Squirrel Hill could easily bike to Homestead & vice versa, and people in Homestead could more easily commute to work in Oakland, etc.

http://tinyurl.com/cch2ldz


Ahlir

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May 17 2013 at 1:40pm #

I would like to second Vannevar’s suggestion that the service road behind the store strip and paralleling the railway be marked for bicycling. (In fact I submitted a route suggestion to Google maps covering that stretch a while ago. I checked just now and it’s there!)

This is a desirable bypass for the GAP. The trail along the river is multi-use and not altogether suited for through biking (many pedestrians, children and so on).

Apart from striping that stretch it would be good to mark a path from the environs of Costco, down the road past Macy’s, to the intersection.

On bike racks: I’m not sure these should be next to the buildings. It would be better if they were on the parking lot side. All you’d need to do is convert a couple of parking spots, plus it would be easy to expand the space as needed.

A couple of access suggestions; these are not on the Waterfront property but still matter to it:

1) Marking paths up and down Amity from the mall to 8th would be extremely useful; it’s a busy street but really the only connection to Homestead itself.

2) Marking and striping the stretch of road between the Waterfront and the Rankin Bridge would be extremely useful, particularly once the Duck HollowBraddock trail is established. In any case there’s a good bit of bike traffic along there and it should be staked out.


sarapgh2

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May 17 2013 at 2:22pm #

“I would like to second Vannevar’s suggestion that the service road behind the store strip and paralleling the railway be marked for bicycling. ”

This has been suggested and is not out of the question.

” All you’d need to do is convert a couple of parking spots, plus it would be easy to expand the space as needed.”

We’ll have at least one instance of this, in addition to racks. (Last I heard, that is :)

“Marking paths up and down Amity from the mall to 8th would be extremely useful; ”

This has also been suggested, also not out of the question.

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