BikePGH!

Will Pittsburgh ever think like Hamburg or even get it?

This topic contains 42 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by  edmonds59 6 mos, 2 weeks.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 43 total)
 
Author Posts
Author Posts

gg

Private Message

Feb 6 2014 at 8:54am #

The below link was posted on another thread, thanks J Z. Can we ever get our leaders to lean this direction at all? There is a topic on another Pittsburgh forum that discusses transportation and all anyone talks about is widening roads. I just don’t get it. At least create more public transportation options. I think the East End Busway is very successful, is it not? Can’t people do park and rides at a minimum? Larger roads? Doesn’t that just create more problems downtown? I guess I don’t get it. Here is Hamburg’s thoughts. Why can’t I find a place to live in the US like that? Do we even have ONE city that thinks like some German ones?

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140204-can-a-city-really-go-car-free


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Feb 7 2014 at 7:13am #

Which forums are all these road-wideners talking on? They need some more forward thinkers.

Heh. You want forward thinking? Try Hamburg NY, just outside Buffalo.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/nyregion/widen-main-st-community-had-other-ideas-and-thrived.html


edmonds59

Private Message

Feb 7 2014 at 7:32am #

I love the story about Hamburg NY, well, except for this little stumble:

“That created more room for trees; on-street parking, which is good for businesses; and “safety lanes,” which provide room for drivers to open car doors safely and also serve as de facto bicycle lanes.” Blatantly implying that the door zone is a good place for bikes. Oops.

How in the effity-eff did the town beat their state DOT?!? That’s what needs to happen around here.


gg

Private Message

Feb 7 2014 at 9:09am #

StuInMcCandless wrote:Which forums are all these road-wideners talking on? They need some more forward thinkers.

http://www.city-data.com/forum/pittsburgh/2044775-comprehensive-pittsburgh-area-transportation-discussion.html


edmonds59

Private Message

Feb 7 2014 at 9:24am #

Nooooo, Jeebus, I need to heavily quash any desire to join that discussion. Would end incendiarily.


jonawebb

Private Message

Feb 7 2014 at 9:32am #

If Pittsburgh is ever going to think in this way, they’re going to do it now, in this administration. Peduto has a real commitment to mass transit, bicycling, and so on. We need to step up and offer our ideas to the city, and keep pressure on to make sure they actually get implemented.


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Feb 7 2014 at 6:37pm #

And that probably means jumping into that fray. Sigh. Don’t I have enough misery already?


fultonco

Private Message

Feb 7 2014 at 6:44pm #

Excellent article. Thank-you for posting.


jonawebb

Private Message

Feb 15 2014 at 6:00pm #

There’s a story Vannevar linked to on Twitter about this exactly: Peduto & Fitzgerald are working together to improve transit, including biking:
“Neither Fitzgerald nor Peduto ride a bike, but they both recognize a need to sustain gains made to accommodate members of the X, Y and Z generations who seek healthy, alternative transportation options. Peduto says he may use fines paid by motorists snared by 20 new red-light traffic cameras to cover the cost of barriers between bus and new bike lanes on Port Authority busways. The lanes would be integrated into a “bicycle freeway system,” taking cyclists off the busiest, most-dangerous city streets while making travel safer for all users.”
See http://www.pittsburghmagazine.com/Pittsburgh-Magazine/February-2014/Getting-Around-in-the-24-Hour-City/


ericf

Private Message

Feb 16 2014 at 5:01am #

jonawebb wrote:“Neither Fitzgerald nor Peduto ride a bike, but they both recognize a need to sustain gains made to accommodate members of the X, Y and Z generations who seek healthy, alternative transportation options. Peduto says he may use fines paid by motorists snared by 20 new red-light traffic cameras to cover the cost of barriers between bus and new bike lanes on Port Authority busways. The lanes would be integrated into a “bicycle freeway system,” taking cyclists off the busiest, most-dangerous city streets while making travel safer for all users.”

Good article, they are definitely saying the right things, now for the implementation. It is time for Pittsburgh, and the surrounding region, to adopt a 21st century attitude toward transportation. Not only politically, but socially as well. Hopefully with better infrastructure, people will be able to relax a bit and some of the driver/cyclist animosity will diminish.


Vannevar

Private Message

Feb 16 2014 at 10:53am #

In some ways, regarding regionalism — the article suggests that Peduto and Fitzgerald have accomplished personally what the region could not accomplish procedurally.

So, what’s the mashup name? Pederald? Fitzudo?


salty

Private Message

Feb 16 2014 at 12:45pm #

So, why don’t they ride bikes? Whatever ideas they may have, they’d certainly be better ideas if they were cyclists themselves.


gg

Private Message

Feb 16 2014 at 1:02pm #

salty wrote:they’d certainly be better ideas if they were cyclists themselves.

Not everyone is comfortable on two wheels. So long as they address the needs of cyclists, pedestrians and public transportation, I think that is all we can ask of them. I am not going to judge someone that doesn’t ride a bike. Maybe they walk around town? Isn’t that okay?


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Feb 16 2014 at 1:37pm #

Luke Ravenstahl rode a bike occasionally. He did OK on the cycling aspects of running a city, regardless of what else he may have said or done.

As to the topic at hand, I think @ericf has the right idea, that getting some better infrastructure in place will reduce animosity. Road diets, tons more bike racks, stable public transit. Yeah, the right things are happening. I wish they were happening faster, but I have confidence that both Fitz and Peduto have our interests at heart.


salty

Private Message

Feb 16 2014 at 1:59pm #

gg – there’s an easy solution to that problem – if they’re not comfortable cycling they should keep making improvements until they are comfortable cycling.

it’s good to be king.


ericf

Private Message

Feb 16 2014 at 2:41pm #

@salty for mayor!


gg

Private Message

Feb 16 2014 at 2:59pm #

salty wrote:if they’re not comfortable cycling they should keep making improvements until they are comfortable cycling.

I meant riding a bike in general, not navigating city streets on a bike. Some wouldn’t ride one in a closed off parking lot. I know some adults that never rode a bicycle in their life, but I suspect they have many years ago.

Anyway, I hope it gets better and better. We could use some big philanthropist or 5 to pony up some cash to move things along. If I hit the lottery, I am all in.


jonawebb

Private Message

Feb 16 2014 at 5:57pm #

You don’t need a philanthropist so much as someone to push the ideas locally and apply for grants. There is a PennDOT program for exactly these kind of improvements: http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Internet/Bureaus/CPDM.nsf/TAPHomepage?OpenFrameset
If Pittsburgh is not applying for money through this program, it should get on it fast. The first deadline is March 3.


Mick

Private Message

Feb 17 2014 at 4:27pm #

If the PennDOT people read the article Stu posted about Hamburg, NY?

Their take away would be that if you time your meetings and anouncements just right, maybe you can get your road-widening pushed through, even if 80% of the people opppose it.


jonawebb

Private Message

Feb 17 2014 at 4:58pm #

@Mick, I don’t think so. They don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the effects of community input, so far as I can see. There’s no need to worry about the timing of the meetings. “Just build it.”


paulheckbert

Private Message

Feb 18 2014 at 11:22pm #

jonawebb wrote:Peduto & Fitzgerald are working together to improve transit, including biking: http://www.pittsburghmagazine.com/Pittsburgh-Magazine/February-2014/Getting-Around-in-the-24-Hour-City/

The article lists these project ideas:
* Bicycle-only lanes on busways (“bicycle freeways”).
* Bus Rapid Transit line on Fifth or Forbes or both.
* Smithfield St pedestrian mall.
* Passenger train on the existing rails between Lawrenceville (thru tunnel) to Oakland and Hazelwood.
* Downtown Bus Loops.
* Smarter Traffic Signals (like CMU SURTRAC).
* Cooperation with transportation agencies outside Allegheny County.

It is encouraging to hear politicians supporting transportation other than cars for a change!

About the first idea: yes, it would be great to have a protected bike lane on the East Busway. But the busway bypasses Oakland, where more people go, so a protected bike lane on 5th Ave or Forbes would be preferable.


edmonds59

Private Message

Feb 19 2014 at 6:35am #

A “Smithfield Street pedestrian mall” sounds like a crap idea. It’s a major bus connector laterally across town. It seems like it dovetails neatly with that horseshit idea of pushing bus routes to the perimeter of town (the undercurrent of which is to push “undesirable” people, who coincidentally use transit, to the perimeter of town), and making bus use LESS convenient.
I could see a Market Square style ped friendlyization of the length of Smithfield to calm traffic, cobbles, bollards, trees, but not traffic elimination. Haven’t these douchebags learned anything from the disastrous pedestrian mall wet dreams of the ’60’s/”70’s?
Don’t buy the beans.


byogman

Private Message

Feb 19 2014 at 10:20am #

I always wondered about pedestrian malls. They seemed like a good idea on paper, but also seemed to largely be failures. To the point that when I was living in Raleigh, a meaningful part of the (partial) awaking of the downdown was the reopening of a short street called Fayetteville Street. It was weird, it’s not like you could’ve driven through there any faster than biking (or walking, really… the way the light timing was), and there wasn’t much parking on the street at all.

I think somehow, once you can’t drive there directly (no matter how poor an idea that is, and almost no matter how short a walk it is from another place you might park), it’s just totally off the map for a large fraction of the population.

Sad, really. I’d like to see more if they worked.

Maybe we’ll get there eventually. I think they work in Europe ok.


andyc

Private Message

Feb 19 2014 at 10:29am #

I think they work in Europe because the pedestrian malls are in densely populated districts. Couple that with the fact that it’s common to meet up downtown to sit at a cafe for a while, and there is plenty of foot traffic. (My experience in the Balkans at least.)

If we really wanted one, maybe Walnut St? (lots of storefronts and not a major traffic artery)


jonawebb

Private Message

Feb 19 2014 at 11:07am #

Smithfield St should work as a pedestrian mall, particularly if they put in the cycletrack there (as I think they are planning to do). There will be a lot of foot traffic, as there is now, because it’s in the middle of downtown, and I expect there will be a lot of traffic from cyclists, too. It would be a good demo to merchants of the kind of business they can get from cyclists.
East Liberty failed as a pedestrian mall, I think, because it was too isolated, and marginal in any case — no reason to go there if you couldn’t drive. But Smithfield St could do a lot better.


Marko82

Private Message

Feb 19 2014 at 11:31am #

Instead of a no-cars pedestrian mall, I think Smithfield St. and 5th Ave. should be converted into two narrow lanes with no parking and extra wide sidewalks with greening. Drop the speed limit to 15mph (with speed tables) and most of the cars will find another way to get across town, while allowing those that are truly in need of access the ability to do so (including bikes). That’s sort of what we have in Market Square – traffic so slow that most cars go elsewhere. And with all of the parking garages downtown, why do we still allow on street parking?


edmonds59

Private Message

Feb 19 2014 at 12:33pm #

^that.


salty

Private Message

Feb 19 2014 at 7:35pm #

Yes, what Marco said, plus I think they should explicitly designate it a “pedestrian priority zone”, where peds have the right of way over all other traffic in the entire area. That’s effectively the way Market Sq. operates now, and Walnut St. isn’t too far off – it would just be nice to make it official.

Also, some such streets are closed to all motorized traffic at certain times of the day – I think that might work in Market Sq. as well, but I agree you would have to be careful about it.


jonawebb

Private Message

Feb 19 2014 at 7:38pm #

What you’re advocating is basically a bicycle boulevard like the one that was proposed for Louisa St. You should talk with Pat Hassett about it.


richierich

Private Message

Feb 20 2014 at 1:40pm #

edmonds59 wrote:A “Smithfield Street pedestrian mall” sounds like a crap idea. It’s a major bus connector laterally across town.

Smithfield could be a pedestrian mall except for bike + bus access, and that would seem to address the main objection to the idea. While sidewalk cafes and strolling are more enjoyable with no exhaust fumes or motor vehicles (the traffic loop around Market Square annoys the hell out of me, slow or not), the occasional bus would not make the area intolerably smelly and the convenience of the bus service would make up for the inconvenience of some traffic.

The only precedence I can think of for this is a thoroughfare in Amsterdam that’s pedestrians + streetcars, and people just kind of step out of the way when the transit rolls through. It makes things just a tad crowded and hectic, but we have a larger street to work with, fewer buses, and probably fewer pedestrians so it would probably be fine here.


andyc

Private Message

Feb 20 2014 at 2:51pm #

Downtown Zagreb is similar with streetcars/pedestrian streets.


jonawebb

Private Message

Feb 20 2014 at 3:05pm #

Big diff between streetcars running on electricity & buses running on diesel.


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Feb 20 2014 at 6:09pm #

There are currently a lot of buses that use southbound Smithfield. It might help if they short-looped them at 4th Ave.


edmonds59

Private Message

Feb 20 2014 at 6:34pm #

The upscale restaurants that are thriving in Mkt Sq right now would die without the availability of the drive up/valet service. Ped only “malls” don’t work in the US. We don’t have nearly the density needed and a non-functional transit system.


JRoth

Private Message

Feb 21 2014 at 11:17am #

AFAIK, the only places per malls work are:

A. college towns, with built-in populations of (relatively) car-free people with time on their hands and zero interest in driving out to the mall. If the grid were a little different, you could probably make some parts of Oakland car-free, but as it is, I don’t think it’s at all feasible.*

B. Places with streetcars/trolleys, so that people can hop off and on to get up and down the mall – that’s Denver’s model

C. I think sometimes in sunny places with lots of tourists. I can’t name any examples, but I think they exist. It’s basically A., but with tourists replacing the college kids, and the nice weather keeping the locals from griping about not being able to park Right. In. Front.

*actually, would this work? Make 5th Ave 2-way, cars (and local buses?) only. Make Forbes basically ped-only, with the BRT and bicycle lanes. But you’d still need those cross streets to be open to cars, or at least most of them.


StuInMcCandless

Private Message

Feb 21 2014 at 2:45pm #

Ottawa had a pretty good pedestrian-only street, though it’s been a while since I was there. One block away from Parliament, parallel to the main street that parallels the river.

I remember when I first saw this, around 1975? ’79? and was amazed to see a city street that you couldn’t drive on. It was still there, and thriving, on later visits in 1987 & ’93.


Jacob McCrea

Private Message

Feb 23 2014 at 2:52pm #

“AFAIK, the only places [where] malls work are:

***

B. Places with streetcars/trolleys, so that people can hop off and on to get up and down the mall – that’s Denver’s model”

We passed through Denver yesterday and stopped at the 16th Street Mall for lunch. It was a surprisingly vibrant place, with lots of retail shops, restaurants, a few street performers, etc. As far as I could tell, only pedi-cabs were permitted to use the bus lanes – the few cyclists I saw were walking their bikes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/16th_Street_Mall


ieverhart

Private Message

Feb 26 2014 at 12:53am #

The only precedence I can think of for this is a thoroughfare in Amsterdam that’s pedestrians + streetcars, and people just kind of step out of the way when the transit rolls through. It makes things just a tad crowded and hectic, but we have a larger street to work with, fewer buses, and probably fewer pedestrians so it would probably be fine here.

I think you may be thinking of Leidsestraat. It has a single set of rails going down the middle of the road, with occasional passing places where the rails split to let trams go both directions on the same route. It’s a pretty cool design, and I seem to recall the crowds more or less parting as the tram came down the street. But, as always, watch out for tram/streetcar/light rail tracks while you’re on your bike.

https://www.google.com/maps?q=Leidsestraat,+Grachtengordel-Zuid,+Amsterdam,+The+Netherlands&hl=en&ll=52.365524,4.885418&spn=0.00891,0.022724&sll=52.355393,4.877603&sspn=0.017824,0.045447&oq=leidesestraat&hnear=Leidsestraat,+Amsterdam,+Noord-Holland,+The+Netherlands&t=m&z=16&layer=c&cbll=52.365595,4.885558&panoid=t93rZ9p-HzkVmv4Jbp6hag&cbp=12,38.7,,0,3.23


edmonds59

Private Message

Feb 26 2014 at 7:46am #

^^Stu – my son and I were in Ottowa in the summer of ’12, it’s a fabulous city, but the ped mall you describe is looking pretty decrepit, run-down fern bars that haven’t been updated since the ’80’s, empty storefronts, little foot traffic, etc.
OTOH, a half mile away, there is a kind of Strip-like market district (Byward) that is absolutely booming, shops, sidewalk carts, peds, bikes, buses, cars. Fabulous chaos. The situation may be similar to Pgh in that, there is limited human and economic energy that can enliven one area a great deal, but not numerous areas, and the particular “boom” area morphs around as fashion dictates.
It’s a fantastic city for biking regardless.


jonawebb

Private Message

Mar 4 2014 at 10:23am #

Here’s the lineup for the opening plenary at the National Bike Summit this morning:

Mayor’s Perceptions on bicycling: Benefits, challenges and opportunities
Douglas Meyer, Bernuth and Williamson

Elected officials
Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
Representative Albio Sires (D-NJ)
Texas Senator, Rodney Ellis
Pittsburgh Mayor, Bill Peduto

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 43 total)
 

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.