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Tues, July 19: IMPORTANT public meeting about Forbes Ave lane diet/bike lanes

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Tabby

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Jul 18 2011 at 4:33pm #

I love how there are still neighborhoods in Pittsburgh that I’ve never heard of.


erok

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Jul 18 2011 at 4:51pm #

it’s actually: Oakcliffe


rsprake

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Jul 18 2011 at 4:57pm #

grooving the pavement

The experience I’ve with my rental car, a VW Jetta, is that grooves, bad pavement, bricks, etc, are all irrelevant to someone with a nice car. It handles that stuff like it’s smooth pavement.

i think it’s all of 30 ft further. from what i understand, the entrance is just on the other side of the bridge from where it was.

You can see the work now. It’s a skinny sidewalk that runs under the new bridge and to the right on 2nd Ave. Not a great solution for cyclists, but not the middle finger either.


ieverhart

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Jul 18 2011 at 5:24pm #

Is Oakcliffe the area around Ophelia and Hamlet Streets? That area is officially part of South Oakland.


erok

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Jul 18 2011 at 7:14pm #

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11183/1157792-53-0.stm


bikeygirl

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Jul 18 2011 at 8:03pm #

Just saw this video….

ahhh…. -it would be SO NICE to do this in Pittsburgh too!!

http://www.8-80cities.org/videos26.html


bikeygirl

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Jul 18 2011 at 8:03pm #

Just saw this video….

ahhh…. -it would be SO NICE to do this in Pittsburgh too!!

http://www.8-80cities.org/videos26.html


Mary

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Jul 19 2011 at 6:14pm #

Back to tonight’s meeting …

Can we submit comments in writing? Turns out we’re not going to make it there tonight.

Thanks.


erok

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Jul 19 2011 at 6:22pm #

Mary-

I was told that submitting comments in writing at this stage isn’t necessary. so this step is the community outreach part of it -presenting the ideas to the neighbors community, etc.

the next stage will be to present it to PennDOT, as Forbes is a PennDOT road. This will most likely need some letters of support to PennDOT.


erok

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Jul 19 2011 at 6:24pm #

I guess a better way to phrase that is the only people at this point to send letters of support to is CMU and their designers and planners. They are in full support of this project. PennDOT, may or may not be in support of the project yet, so that’s where the letters should go when it gets to that stage


Nick D

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Jul 20 2011 at 12:36am #

I just got home from this meeting. It was interesting and several people had interesting point.

Hearing the Pittsburgh Police commander who attended talk with others after the meeting about how she feels her, “tax payer money” should not be spent used to make public space safe and assessable to people riding bikes because they, “want all of the rights to the road, but refuse to follow any of the laws,” was a bit upsetting.


mr marvelous

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Jul 20 2011 at 12:56am #

@ Nick thats very discouraging. Did the rest of the meeting seem to go positively?


mr marvelous

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Jul 20 2011 at 12:57am #

sloaps

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Jul 20 2011 at 1:07am #

we should invite that commander to the ribbon cutting… and pick her up via pedicab.

did they talk about funding, cost estimates, public or private partners like a foundation, PennDOT or the County?


dwillen

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Jul 20 2011 at 1:10am #

Good thing cars follow all the rules, otherwise someone might get killed. You would think if anyone, a first responder has witnessed enough automobile carnage to figure it out. I think some people are just a lost cause. I’m upset *MY* tax dollars fund ignorant public servants, so there!


stefb

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Jul 20 2011 at 1:12am #

I pay taxes, too, for things I don’t agree with and that I am sure are not beneficial for everyone. But encouraging cycling is postive for cyclists and non cyclists in ways that have been discussed at length already


Nick D

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Jul 20 2011 at 1:15am #

There was a big turn out of older residents of the area (just like all of these things), a guy who used editorials found on the internet to combat the finding of traffic studies, a few people who followed their arguments against the proposed improvements with, “…and I ride a bike”, and quite a few older people who had under-the-breath-commentary for almost everything.

Overall, I’m glad I went, and I liked almost everything I saw the representative from CMU (engineer?) presented.


salty

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Jul 20 2011 at 3:07am #

how many cyclists were there? how many of the other types?

it’s definitely discouraging to hear about the opposition, and the cop’s extremely misguided comments. i would have tried to make her admit the truth, that *zero* cars follow the rules of the road, so her argument was completely specious.

now i’m even more sorry i couldn’t make it – ironically because i was off taking motorized vehicle classes. :( stupid me for thinking this plan makes so much sense it should be a complete slam dunk. god forbid you might impede someone from being able to drive 45mph through a college campus for a half a mile before they have to merge down to 1 lane anyways.


scott

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Jul 20 2011 at 3:18am #

Commander Gengler was way out of bounds. An officer showing up with a badge and gun should not then take part in a community meeting like a regular everyday citizen. Don’t get me started on the power dynamic there. Not to mention how she only focused her ridiculously ignorant opinion on the ills of people using nonmotorized transportation to get around, while ignoring the fact that drivers are breaking the law left and right and taking people lives in their hands. My blood was boiling listening to her. My points took the wind out of her sails though.

I also wouldn’t sweat the other NIMBYs. Most of them just want to vent. All the data and studies support that 1. this won’t snarl traffic more than a few minutes 2. that emergency vehicles will still be able to get through and 3. it will make the street safer for all users. At least half of the people there were pro road-diet including some surprise residents. Bob Reppe, the planner who presented the information from CMU, did an exceptional job. My hat’s off to him and Michael Murphy for leading that meeting.

Thanks everyone reading this who showed up to be counted.


ieverhart

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Jul 20 2011 at 3:53am #

There were maybe 40 people total (just a rough estimate) and around 10-15 cyclists (just counting the ones I knew or who had helmets). On the whole, I was impressed with the plans that CMU had put together.

The police commander was obviously suffering from major windshield vision. Everything she said about jaywalkers and other jagoffs was no doubt true–but (as Scott ably pointed out) she ignored the car drivers who also routinely ignore all sorts of rules, while piloting deadly 3,000 pound machines. (She had a couple gems: an opening riff taking umbrage at not being invited to previous meetings, gratuitous digs at students who “maybe can’t read street signs” saying not to cross, and seeming disappointed that trees on Forbes Avenue weren’t cut down to improve sight lines.)

I liked how the one guy was complaining about traffic on Devon Road, where he lives–which is about 1,000 feet long and by my count has no more than thirteen houses on it. He objected to people driving on his street (a public street!) who didn’t live there. Then there was the guy who wanted CMU to install bike lanes on the campus proper, not just on the adjoining (public) roads. Mary Shaw’s 45-year experience suggests that’s a solution in search of a problem. And it might have been the same guy who had photos from MIT’s campus where they had sidewalk-mounted protected bike lanes, which he preferred to encroaching on the street right of way… except in the background of the one, the sidewalk-ish lane ends, and you can see it continue on the main part of the street, exactly as was shown at the presentation.

It was awesome when one guy from Portland chimed in to answer about bike lanes/turning lanes crossing at Morewood Avenue.

I’m still not crazy about the separated bike lane on Morewood itself. I saw some signs on some diagram that prohibited bikes–hopefully that was just on the sidewalk itself, not mandating that all bikes take the separated paths. As was pointed out at the meeting, the path might be OK in the middle, but access at either end would be kind of tricky. (Cyclists riding on the sidewalk having high crash rates and all that.)

Good meeting, everyone!


scott

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Jul 20 2011 at 4:02am #

@salty, don’t sweat it. Even if there were only 20 people in the room who wanted to fight it (edit: without anyone in support in attendance), it’s still highly likely to go through. Why? Because it’s a good project that’s vetted with data that’s going to reduce crashes and save lives without inconveniencing people. Don’t get me wrong. It’s still good for Pros to show up to counteract the Cons, but there’s a lot of community, government and institutional support around this project.


Pseudacris

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Jul 20 2011 at 11:45am #

Bummer about that commander – ugh.

I did meet a couple of CMU’s bicycle police officers @ the last Car Free Friday on the campus. I don’t know how they feel about these proposed changes, but one of them said she also rides a lot in her off-duty time.


helen s

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Jul 20 2011 at 11:10pm #

“Hearing the Pittsburgh Police commander who attended talk with others after the meeting about how she feels her, “tax payer money” should not be spent used to make public space safe and assessable to people riding bikes because they, “want all of the rights to the road, but refuse to follow any of the laws,” was a bit upsetting. “

Wow. My first reaction was who is this person so I can contact them and vent a bit. While riding home my thoughts were more on wondering was she speaking as an individual, or a police commander.

After carefully stopping at all lights and stop signs on the way home, my final feelings are wow, the way we cycle evidently leaves a big impression on everyone who sees us, and if we want to be able to tell this officer (and anyone else)how we feel about the problems we have with her statement, we need to also prove her totally wrong.

So I am still curious who it was.


scott

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Jul 21 2011 at 12:01am #

Commander Gengler was dressed in full Pittsburgh Police Commander regalia with a badge and a gun so to me she was representing the city as a city official. But what she’s really trying to do is have her cake and eat it too. She wants to show up to a community meeting as an individual and vent as an individual would, but she wants to command the respect/authority/etc that a person wearing a badge and a gun would. However, to everyone in the room she is representing official City party line, and that’s what’s incredibly unfortunate about her behavior.


Mick

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Jul 21 2011 at 7:00am #

@helen s if we want to be able to tell this officer (and anyone else)how we feel about the problems we have with her statement, we need to also prove her totally wrong.

I disagree.

Do they ever say, “Before we can ask for tax money to improve the roads for cars, they have to start obeying the speed limit”?


Noah Mustion

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Jul 21 2011 at 3:01pm #

Cars are the status quo. Bikes aren’t. Cyclists are fighting for rights (which is why there are bike advocacy groups and not car advocacy groups). Therefore cyclists have a far greater responsibility to mind their Ps and Qs, obey the law even more visibly, etc. Make a better public impression so they can get those deserved rights.

I find that too often cyclists who want change fall into a complacent “Well, we’re morally/socially superior cause we don’t ride 3000lb killing machines” mindset which allows for laxness in caring about how they are perceived as a group. Guess what, your typical yinzer thinks cyclists are pushy and entitled, and sometimes that doesn’t look too far off the mark.


Astrobiker

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Jul 21 2011 at 3:09pm #

+1


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe

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Jul 21 2011 at 3:41pm #

+1


boostuv

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Jul 21 2011 at 3:51pm #

Very well put


cdavey

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Jul 21 2011 at 4:39pm #

@noah — you nailed it in 2 paragraphs and 100 words.


Mick

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Jul 21 2011 at 5:40pm #

@ Noah Therefore cyclists have a far greater responsibility to mind their Ps and Qs, obey the law even more visibly, etc. Make a better public impression so they can get those deserved rights.

I disagree.

Bicyclists have neither more nor less social obligation to follow laws than anyone else. Why would it be otherwise?

I think the public impression is that car drivers have to work a little harder when bikes are around and that car drivers are sometimes delayed (usually by seconds) by cyclists.

I don’t think that being a good cyclist will change either of those things.

I don’t think an improvement in bike riding habits will change much in how our rights are enforce.

And lastly, there are plenty of extremely well-funded automobile advocate organizations. Bike riders should have it so lucky.

http://www.aaafoundation.org/home/

http://www.saferoads.org/

http://www.motorists.org/

We support higher speed limits, an end to speed traps, fairer traffic courts, and stopping the use of traffic tickets to generate revenue. We want red-light ticket cameras and photo speed enforcement off our streets, roads, and highways. We oppose road blocks, for any purpose.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2007_June_25/ai_n19313756/


helen s

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Jul 21 2011 at 5:43pm #

Well stated, Noah.

I cannot in good conscience approach someone about wanting my rights to the road respected by starting the sentence with “I am a cyclist and I refuse to follow the any of the laws.”


ejwme

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Jul 21 2011 at 6:22pm #

Mick, I think part of the point is that the arguing facts, reason, and logic has not gotten us very far. Psychological warfare is more likely to get the results we want, but a part of that battle needs to follow Noah’s logic.

We’re incapable as a group of policing our own members into total law compliance, that doesn’t make sense. But that doesn’t mean that a visible agreement and attempt won’t take us far. Similar to the points being made on the letter to the editor thread. Maddening as it may be, there’s correct, and there’s effective, and the two don’t necessarily intersect.


Noah Mustion

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Jul 21 2011 at 6:38pm #

Mick, let me put in these terms.

Historically, disenfranchised groups, while fighting for public acceptance, rights, assimilation, etc. have done so under certain scrutiny not given to their ‘socially acceptable’ counterparts. Participants would have to follow every letter of the law – and THEN some – not only to keep themselves out of jail by trigger-happy John Law, but also to show the public that they were far and beyond law-abiding members of society despite whatever other stigma.

Now I wouldn’t put the struggle of the cyclist on the same level of that as, say, the civil rights movement. But the truth is, police commanders are going to meetings and saying how cyclists do this and that – if we continue to turn a blind eye and say shit like, “well running a stop sign on a 30 lb bike is no big deal cause it’s not a 3000 Pound Killing Machineā„¢”, well then who are we to complain when they make such statements?

We want these letters to the editors to cease? We want police commanders to have a better impression on us? Guess what, they’re not going to change on their own. It’s up to us, as cyclists, to go the extra mile to promote an image of responsibility and respectability. You’re right, it’s not fair. But it’s the reality of the situation.


Mick

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Jul 21 2011 at 6:48pm #

Sounds to me like: “If only we’re good, they will stop abusing us.”

That will win psychological warfare? I’m skeptical.


Noah Mustion

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Jul 21 2011 at 7:14pm #

Really… is it too much to ask to just obey the law? Don’t want to be labelled a lawbreaker? Don’t break it. Simple!


ejwme

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Jul 21 2011 at 7:17pm #

it’s not “if only we’re good, they will stop abusing us.”…

Bear with me, I’m having trouble trying to put this into words (I don’t normally do subtle, but vacation has improved my temperament temporarily)…

I’m agreeing with Noah on paper. As a strategy, Noah’s will go farther with Joe Motorist Schmoe than anything else I can come up with. It will definitely go farther than arguing forgiveness from laws due to lesser consequences while we are perceived as “getting in the way” and also demanding increased law enforcement of “real” traffic.

If we want to stop the “abuse”, we can either run away from the “abuser” (PNW, here I come), or we can try to manipulate them on their terms, spinning public conversations in letters to the editor and on forums, while pushing on politicians, law enforcement, DAs etc to better act on our behalf and get more appropriate laws pushed through.

For me, part of that is like helen said, obeying the law so I can stand up and say “I follow laws, you should too” because it goes over a lot better than the “do as I say not as I do” stuff that motorists – who aren’t thinking about consequences other than $$ and time – call as BS. Sure they’re wrong. Telling them they’re wrong won’t change their behavior.

Note I said I agree with Noah on paper. I also recognize we’re not a cohesive unit, we can’t control all cyclist behavior. But as a cycling advocacy group, I’d expect that a stance of “yes, we should all follow laws” will help us be more effective than “no, YOU should follow laws, we should be forgiven because we don’t kill people like YOU do”. No matter how correct, the latter simply won’t win people over. And without motorists in our corner, we won’t get very far.


Nick D

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Jul 22 2011 at 4:44pm #

which is why there are bike advocacy groups and not car advocacy groups

See: AAA.

I am with Scott. If Commander Gengler wished to act how she did, she should have shown up, off duty, in civilian attire. Given she was dressed, acted, and spoke as if an official representative of the city, she should have kept several of her opinions to herself. It was extremely unprofessional.


salty

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Sep 28 2011 at 7:42am #

Followup article: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11270/1177842-298-0.stm

Apparently they are submitting this to council. Too bad the only two people they quote in the article are the naysayers. Also I did not realize Forbes is a state road? That worries me a bit.

students jaywalking is much less of a problem than a never ending stream of cars speeding through their campus. What a typical, misguided comment, but *that* crap makes the paper.


Lou M.

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Sep 28 2011 at 10:39am #

The naysayers:

Barbara Tisherman, who has lived on Beeler Street for more than 50 years, worried that emergency vehicles might have difficulty passing through traffic if the street had only one lane in each direction.

Anne Curtis, who has lived on Unger Street since 1978, worried that adding a buffer would ignore the problem of students jaywalking across Forbes.

Older people like to complain. That’s all.

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