Bike the Vote 2011 Council District 1: Darlene Harris

Darlene Harris, Pittsburgh City Council District 1


1. Do you use a bicycle in the city? If so, for what purposes (commuting, recreation, errands) and how often?

I do not use a bicycle. My job requires me to be in various locations throughout the day and throughout the week. The topography in my district makes it extremely difficult to get from one neighborhood to the next. However, I do love riding bikes.

2. Have you championed or strongly supported any initiatives that are in line with Bike Pittsburgh’s mission of establishing Pittsburgh as a city that is increasingly safe, accessible, and friendly to bicycle transportation?

Yes. Before I was an elected official, I coordinated residents of the Northside to clean up along the river where we now have a great walking/running/biking trail. As an elected official I advocate for bicycle access that is safe and accessible for anyone.

3. Given Pittsburgh’s relatively low rate of car ownership and the recent transit cuts, what specific ideas do you have to make active transportation choices like biking and walking more appealing?

I believe it is important that we have bridges that connect our various communities on the Northside. These bridges also include plans for sidewalks that are safe and wide enough to encourage folks to walk or ride a bike. The Davis Avenue Bridge is a perfect example. This bridge will re-connect people with Riverview Park, which has miles of walking and biking trails. I would like the plans for the new Davis Avenue Bridge to also include bike lanes and sidewalks, in addition to auto lanes.

4. What do you think is the number one risk to walkers and bicyclists both in your district and the city as a whole? What have you done/will you do as an elected official to remedy it?

Unsafe driving is a major problem for cyclists and pedestrians. I stay connected with my communities to ensure they have the tools to keep their roadways safe. Sometimes this includes updated signage, or even new signage, reminding motorists, biker and pedestrians of the laws, speed limits and what to look out for. I am also working to add bike lanes in my district.

5. Do you believe safe biking and walking infrastructure enhance a community’s quality of life? (yes or no)


6. Do you believe biking and walking are worth investing in as a city? (yes or no)


7. In what ways can enhanced bicycling and walking facilities and opportunities benefit your district and the city as a whole?

By making walking and biking safe and accessible to everyone not only encourages an active lifestyle, which promotes health, it helps create a sense of community.

8. Do you/Would you work to get more bike/ped safety projects underway in your district? If so, what is/would be your focus?

Yes, right now a number of my communities are showing interest.

9. Do you have a bicycling story you would like to share with our constituents?

Some of my fondest memories include riding bikes with my brother when I was young, and then later with my husband and family in parks.

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