Pittsburgh’s first “Advisory Bike Lane” striped in South Side Riverfront Park

Image shows two bicyclists riding in the advisory bike lane
Advisory bike lanes can provide space for bicyclists in narrow, low car volume stretches of road

What’s an Advisory Bike Lane and how do I use it?

The City’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) has painted this new-to-Pittsburgh type of bike lane on S 18th St in South Side Riverfront Park. The section of road connects two segments of the South Side Trail. This stretch of road has a higher number of people riding bicycles than driving cars, as the road ends at a parking lot for cars, but is a throughway for bicyclists to the City’s trail network. 

Image is a map of the South Side showing the location of the advisory bike lane.
Map of the Advisory Bike Lane location (highlighted in green) in the South Side

This “Advisory Bike Lane” (ABL) intends to provide space for people on bikes safely on the edges of the road, while cars in both directions share the middle section of the road. When two cars approach each other, they are expected to simply enter the bike lane briefly to pass each other. If there is someone riding a bike in the ABL, the driver must yield to the bicyclist. This is no different than when two drivers approach each other on any narrow city street and need to negotiate passing among parked cars. 

Check out this video for a thorough explanation: 

DOMI determined this to be an ideal spot for Pittsburgh’s first ABL, as the location in a park-like setting fits the criteria of a narrow, low volume, low speed street with high bike traffic. There are very few other options to bicycle through this area, as the road is tightly constrained by the river on one side and and railroad tracks on the other. While the weekends see a large number of vehicles towing boats, these tend to be traveling in the same direction, and traffic volume is still relatively low. 

The vehicle drives down the center of the road, leaving the bike lanes clear for cyclists on either side

We’re remaining open minded and hopeful for this new type of marking and will continue to monitor how it functions. Additionally, thanks to a new law that we pushed for, the speed limit within parks is now 15mph, although we’d like to see this reinforced more along the corridor with speed limit signs, as well as other traffic calming interventions.

See www.advisorybikelanes.com for more information on Advisory Bike Lanes.

To leave comments or questions for DOMI about this Advisory Bike Lane, visit the Engage page here.

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