10 Productive Actions You Can Take to Honor the Lives of Susan, Hank, and Christine

Susan Hicks Vigil

Together we can see this through

Last week people from across Pittsburgh united to mourn the loss of three lives and to sign and submit a successful petition. But the Fifth/Forbes corridor is still not safe and our work is not done. Here are 10 actions you can do to honor the lives of Susan Hicks, Henry “Hank” Walker, and Carol Christine Williamson.

1. Join ACTION for a Safer Fifth/Forbes
We’ve been working towards a safer Fifth/Forbes corridor for years, but the recent deaths have further proved that improvements cannot wait. We’re assembling an ACTION for a Safer Fifth/Forbes coalition to keep pressure on the decision-makers and show our support for a safer Fifth/Forbes corridor now. ActionforaSaferFifthForbesButton2. Contact Pitt as an alumni/employee/concerned person

Wide, four-lane roads with fast moving automobile traffic carve through the core of Pitt’s campus. Contact the chancellor’s office so that they know you think they should be leading the charge for a safer Fifth/Forbes corridor and taking action now. You can reach Chancellor Gallagher’s office at 412-624-4141.

3. Call the PennDOT hotline
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) owns and is responsible for the maintenance of Forbes Avenue while the city owns Fifth Avenue. So if you want to see a safer Fifth/Forbes corridor we have contact both the city and PennDOT – and encourage close cooperation between the two entities.

Call PennDOT’s District 11 at 412-429-5000 and use your own version of this script:

“Hi my name is __________. I’m calling to voice my concerns about Forbes Avenue in Oakland. Forbes is NOT safe for people traveling by bicycle. [Explain your connection to the neighborhood e.g. I regularly commute through Oakland on my bicycle] and I urge PennDOT to prioritize the making improvements to enhance cyclist safety on Forbes Avenue by creating a safe, separated space to ride. This is consistent with the Oakland 2025 plan as well as the Mayor’s complete streets initiative.”

4. Contact the Mayor through the Office of Community Affairs
Call them at 412-255-4773. Here’s a call script that you can modify:

“Hi my name __________. I’m calling to voice my support of the Mayor’s Complete Streets initiative and the plan for improving the Fifth/Forbes corridor to be safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. [Explain your connection to the neighborhood e.g. I regularly commute through Oakland on my bicycle] and I urge the mayor to prioritize the improvements in the Fifth and Forbes corridor. It’s currently one of the most dangerous and congested areas in the city.”

5. Call on City Council members Dan Lavelle, Bruce Kraus, and Dan Gilman
The area that we know as Oakland is technically made up of four city neighborhoods (West Oakland, North Oakland, South Oakland, and Central Oakland) and those neighborhoods are served by three different city council offices. So, you know, easy as pie!

Tl;dr: To contact the Pittsburgh city council members who represent Oakland you’ll need to make calls to the District 3 (Kraus), District 6 (Lavelle), and District 8 (Gilman) offices.

Try a message like this:
“Hi my name is _________ and I’m calling to voice my concern about the dangerous Fifth/Forbes corridor. [Explain your connection to the neighborhood e.g. I’m a concerned citizen who thinks cars move much too quickly on those streets.] I hope I can count on the councilman to look into, support, and fund long and short term solutions that make the area a safer place to bike and walk.”

District 3/ Councilman Kraus: 412-255-2130
District 6/ Councilman Lavelle: 412-255-2134
District 8/ Councilman Gilman: 412-255-2133

6. Join the Oakland Green Team
The Oakland Planning and Development Corporation’s Oakland Green Team seeks to make Oakland a “greener” place by serving as a bicycle/pedestrian committee for Oakland and improving trail connections and creating attractive open spaces. The team will identify, guide, and implement greening activities throughout Oakland.

The larger the Oakland Green Team is, the more it can demonstrate community concern for the issues raised by the group. So if Oakland is where you live, work, or commute this is a great way to have your voice heard. The Oakland Green Team meets on the third Thursday of every month.

7. Take a loved one on a walk or bike ride
If you’re reading this, I have a hunch that you feel that biking and walking in our city can be really wonderful – magical even. So share that passionate perspective with the people you love. By simply biking and walking we make our streets safer.

8. Volunteer to distribute our fliers on bicycles in Oakland
In early September we started distributing fliers around Oakland with specific tips for bicyclists as well as created an Oakland-specific page on our website.

Volunteer to help us distribute this educational info throughout Oakland during the day by emailing Sarah at volunteer@bikepgh.org.

9. Become a member of Bike Pittsburgh
As a nonprofit bike and pedestrian advocacy organization, we’re only able to do this work through the support of our members and donors.

10. Share these actions with your friends.
Facebook, Twitter, carrier pigeon are all valid. Do you. Help us call for a safer Oakland for bicyclists and pedestrians with one unified voice.

Sign up for Bike Pittsburgh’s newsletter, The Messenger, to get the latest news on events, bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and fun, delivered straight to your inbox. Twice monthly emails, no spam.

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