At this evening's meeting, the Pittsburgh Department of City Planning and the National Complete Streets Coalition will kick off the discussion around Complete Streets for Pittsburgh.
when: Tuesday, December 1, 2015, 6:30pm-8pm
where: Connolly Ballroom of Alumni Hall, 4227 5th Avenue, University of Pittsburgh, Oakland.
I always feel good about making it to things like this, if only to show in high vis and with kids and fill out comment cards. But, related, I had to leave before they got to anything specific about this or that roadway.
Anything new and interesting emerge? Was there a q/a period and any impressions from that? For sure, it was a well attended meeting, just hoping the other side brought the goods.
1. Pittsburgh already has a "Complete Street", in what looks to be Marshall-Shadeland.
2. Reinger, the engineer, gave the most informative talk and answers and provided some sense of safety and livable streetscapes; what physical changes might be entailed (reduce number of lanes, make them narrower, bump-outs, have multi-use space).
3. Atherton, the Complete Streets person, gave a somewhat content-free presentation; more of a pep-talk. (This is really great stuff and we all really need it, as opposed to here are some specific policies we're working on.) Complete Street --> something that equally accommodates every person (ped, bike, car, handicapped, young, old, ...)
4. Gastil, city planning director, also gave a feel-good talk (is Pittsburgh great, or what?). But had some interesting numbers on transit usage. (And a zillion street photos that kept me busy placing.) Finding money for stuff is a key issue.
Reinger and Atherton are in town to meet with city officials for planning purposes. I hope that Gastil et al have another meeting to debrief us. They did collect comment card (and email addresses) and said that they would generate "FAQs" from them.
There was no discussion of which streets/neighborhoods would get redesigned - disappointing.
Riegner, the engineer from Delaware, says traffic lanes do not need to be 12 feet wide, but can be 10 feet wide in most of the city, and the narrower width will result in reduced speeds.
I was very disappointed in the meeting: too much Powerpoint, too many pretty pictures, and not enough substance, not enough Q&A. The organizers got a very large turnout but they failed to take advantage of it.
They did indicate that there would be an effort to distribute improvements across all neighborhoods (and not just the trendier ones). This is a good intention; we'll see what they paved with it. (Speaking of which, Gastil indicated that as part of fixing the storm drainage issues, some street would be paved with bricks so that water soaks through. That sounded interesting.)
Given that Atherton and Reinger were here to assist in planning I'm willing to cut the city a break and believe that projects and priorities will emerge from the process (although of course there's been plenty of discussion on those already).
In related news the FAST Act, a 5-year highways bill, looks like it will pass, so there might be stable funding in the offing and plans might actually have a realistic chance of being implemented. (Of course, since it's a GOP Congress, they'll be stealing money from other things we probably need.)
It was kind of significant to me that Philly had the same kind of meeting the day before. Good stuff starting.
"Riegner, the engineer from Delaware, says traffic lanes do not need to be 12 feet wide, but can be 10 feet wide in most of the city, and the narrower width will result in reduced speeds."
Can we take this fact to the project folks on the greenfield bridge and actually get a bike lane in both directions? They were so close to that point, I think only a foot off? I distinctly recall seeing the image of the shared lane, a bicycle and car side by side illustrating an illegally close pass given blessing by paint markings.