We Counted 190 Bikes and 581 Motor Vehicles between 7:30am to 9:30am on Penn Ave
Since the Penn Ave Bike Lanes were installed in the Fall of 2014, on Bike to Work Day (2015, 2016, 2017) we’ve been counting bikes and cars at the intersection of Penn Ave and 10th St to capture a snapshot of how the protected bike lanes are performing. While the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership maintains live bicycle counts at three locations within the bike lane, we also wanted to count cars to see what is the make up of travelers on Penn Ave. It’s safe to say that we were admittedly surprised at the initial results.
A full 25% of all traffic along Penn Ave during the morning commute, 7:30am to 9:30am, were people on bicycles.
— BikePGH (@BikePGH) May 18, 2018
It’s been four years since the Penn Ave bike lanes were installed
At the time, the Mayor referred to them as “only an on-ramp” that will reach it’s full potential once connected to the neighborhoods.
However, over the past four years, the Strip District has seen multiple housing developments and non-stop autonomous vehicle testing which has increased the traffic and sheer number of cars in the Smallman St corridor. This is the same corridor that is needed to expand the bike lanes eastward toward Bloomfield, Lawrenceville, Polish Hill and the eastern neighborhoods that see some of the highest bike commuter rates in the city. While job and residential growth can be positive, there has been no movement that we are aware of to manage this new traffic demand on our roadways. In fact, automobile traffic has gotten worse, making it even harder for people to choose two wheels.
If we keep building residential units and office buildings without providing safe, connected biking and walking facilities, people will drive. It’s that simple. If we increase the number of jobs in a neighborhood, but don’t provide safe biking and walking facilities, cars will clog our streets, and their driers will park wherever they can, and that seems to be on the sidewalks on Smallman Street. If we allow tech companies to set up shop to test autonomous vehicles, and we don’t provide bike lanes, we are literally putting people in harm’s way.
It’s time to expand the Penn Ave bike lanes and connect them to a broader network. If 25% of the traffic on the disconnected Penn Ave is bikes now, imagine what ridership will be when this on-ramp is built out into to an actual highway.
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