Submit your comments by Monday, September 26
Three weeks after a fairly lively public meeting, the Oakland Transportation Management Association (OTMA), who is handling public outreach on behalf of PennDOT, put the presentation from the meeting on the project website.
The project (pdf) that they are soliciting feedback on is a redesign of Forbes Ave in front of CMU, from S. Craig St to Margaret Morrison St. The team, including PennDOT, CMU, OTMA, and the City of Pittsburgh, are proposing to reduce the number of lanes on Forbes to accommodate bike lanes, turning lanes, as well as changing the traffic control devices to better manage the flow of traffic.
There is now a one week window to submit comments on this project which will change the face of Forbes Avenue, and quite possibly set the stage for how traffic in the rest of Oakland will behave.
Despite what some may say, BikePGH is in support of the project, but we do believe it can be even better. We think that the team’s goal of accommodating all users in this corridor is the right path. As the project also coincides with PennDOT’s Forbes Ave Betterment Project, which will be repaving the road to the the Birmingham Bridge, we feel that there are opportunities that we would not want the team to overlook.
BikePGH’s formal comments fall along six major lines:
- Connectivity — The lanes from Craig Street east must also link into a larger network. While it would be wonderful if the lanes extended on Forbes all the way to the Birmingham Bridge, they absolutely must extend in both directions to Bigelow Boulevard, where the City has invested heavily in bike lanes over the past few years.
- Bike lane widths — We would like to make sure that the bike lanes themselves are wide enough and to make sure that any buffers are as wide as possible. Four foot lanes, between a curb and a travel lane, especially a lane heavily used by buses, can feel confining, uncomfortable, and unsafe to riders, so please maximize bike lane widths.
- Left turns onto Morewood and Beeler — Many people on bikes use Morewood Avenue and Beeler Street. Morewood Avenue is the main connection to Bloomfield, and currently has sharrows along the route. Beeler Street is one of the less steep ways to access Squirrel Hill. We recommend looking into ways to help direct bicyclists making the left turn. Some tools that other cities have used include two-stage left, left turn bike lanes, sharrows in turn lanes, and bike boxes.
- Conflict areas, driveways, and intersections — We feel that it is important that conflict areas like driveways and intersections are highlighted to motorists. Tools include green paint, chevrons through intersections, and signage.
- Bus stops — This is a heavily used transit corridor. Conflicts arise when a bus passes a bicyclist, only to pull over to the bus stop. Clearly marking where buses need to pull in and out at stops is important. Some cities, like Seattle and Montreal, have used islands to actually put bike lanes behind where buses board, limiting the need for buses to pull in and out of traffic, and eliminating any conflicts with passengers as well.
- Crosswalks — We feel that the team needs to better communicate why they would like to remove the “all-walk” signal on Forbes and Craig, otherwise it should stay. The justification given was to increase the flow of automobile traffic, and if the models suggest a less convenient or safe pedestrian environment, then we feel it is not an acceptable trade-off.
Submit your comments
Comments must be submitted by Monday, September 26.
- Download the project presentation (pdf)
- Compile your comments in the body of an email
- Include your name, email, address, and phone number
- Indicate which segment of the project each piece of feedback is concerning: Segment 1 (Birmingham Bridge to Craft Ave), Segment 2 (Craft Ave to Bigelow Blvd), Segment 3 (Bigelow Blvd to Craig St), or Segment 4 (Craig St to Beeler St).
- Email your comments to: