Guest Blog Post: Help Cyclists Feel Welcome and Safe #ExtendPenn

Disclaimer: The views, opinions, and words of the below guest blog post do not necessarily represent or express those of BikePGH. They are solely those of the author. 

We Need To Do More to Help Cyclists

Guest Blog Post by Joanna Haneman, recent Pittsburgh transplant

In September 2016, my partner and I arrived in Pittsburgh via Amtrak with our loaded bikes. We headed to Lawrenceville through the Strip to stay with my brother before we started our journey down the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) to DC.

As a Pitt grad, I was already familiar with Pittsburgh, and wanted my partner to feel the same admiration for the city that I did. Unfortunately, our early morning ride included some uneasy moments. We were challenged by a protected bike path that abruptly ended facing oncoming traffic, an alley ride interrupted by frequent road crossings with poor visibility, and an escape off of Penn Avenue to the sidewalk as we climbed a steep hill.

Our experience on the GAP, with its welcoming communities, serene natural beauty, and storied history, drew us back to the city.  We wanted to be a part of the community that supports this unique national treasure, so we moved here this spring.

These days, my partner makes that same unnerving trip as he commutes from Homestead via the GAP to Lawrenceville.  After touting the GAP as a must-see to friends and family, we have felt discouraged as we’ve re-experienced the lack of safe connections in the bike infrastructure both downtown and in the nearby neighborhoods.

As a community, I believe we should do more to help cyclists feel welcome and safe.  I love Pittsburgh, and I want others to have the opportunity to safely explore the city by bike.

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