Sorry for the late notice, but we just found out about this moments ago. The meeting is next Wednesday, December 7th from 5-7 PM in the West End at the James Center 327 South Main Street
Thanks to @swalfoort for these notes from a meeting with PennDOT and their consultant on the project from a year ago:
Route 51 Viaduct/West Carson Street Presentation ? David Cooper of the firm JMT presented the plans for improvement of Route 51 (West Carson Street) between the West End Circle and Stanhope Street, which forms the border between the City of Pittsburgh and McKees Rocks.
The purpose of the project is to replace a structurally deficient viaduct. In conjunction with that project objective, the project will also look to increase the vertical clearance at a CSX railroad crossing from 15 ft to 16 ft or more by slighting depressing the roadway in that location. The project will also provide enhanced bicycle and pedestrian accommodation, as this corridor serves as a key connector between downtown Pittsburgh and the west end communities in the City of Pittsburgh and the western suburbs beyond. Much needed drainage improvements and the enhancement of missing or substandard barriers and curbs will also be accomplished with this project.
A pedestrian/bicycle checklist completed as part of this project indicates that there are both bike/ped “generators” in this corridor, and visible pedestrians. A formal pedestrian count to determine HOW MANY pedestrians will be completed in the preliminary engineering stage of project development.
Currently, the roadway features a 38 ft. cartway width in a three traffic lane configuration (2 lanes outbound, 1 lane inbound), with a key pinch point at the railroad underpass. There are sidewalks the entire length, although they are not continuous and generally in severely deteriorated condition. On the river side of the road, the sidewalk is actually cantilevered over a shelf created by the adjacent railroad, with plywood used to cover gaping holes in some locations.
***The roadway has experienced 60 serious accidents and 4 fatalities during the time evaluated by the consultants.***
In their evaluation, it was determined that the three traffic lanes would have to be retained between the West End Circle and Corliss Street, although in theory a road diet (dropping one lane of traffic) could be feasible between Corliss and Stanhope, if turn lanes were provided at Tabor and Corliss Streets. To accommodate pedestrians and bicycles, a 12 ?14’ shared use path could be created on the river side of the road, which would be cantilevered out from the roadway. The estimated cost for this sort of improvements is about $20 million. In working on other design concepts for this updated roadway, several alternative approaches to pedestrian and bicycle accommodation were evaluated.
These options included:
? A three lane traffic configuration that had lane widths of 14ft, 10 ft and 14 ft, with 5 ft sidewalks on each side
? A 6 ft. exclusive bike lane inbound, with three traffic lan es having widths of 11 ft, 10 ft and 11 ft. This design would also include 5 ft sidewalks between the West End Circle and Stanhope
Street. (Design preference was for a bike lane inbound, and a Share the Road Program outbound)
All sidewalks will be replaced, and an effort will be made to eliminate the cantilever section between the busway entrance and the West End.
In response to questions from the meeting attendees, the consultant indicated that the project will leave an incomplete connection between the pedestrian/bicycle facilities in the West End Circle, and the West Carson Street viaduct. The bike lane that comes into the West End Circle will end before the ramp
to the West End, requiring bikes to share the road for a bit before reaching the new path on West Carson Street. This will require that cyclists using this connection be “bike savvy” and confident of their
abilities to ride in traffic. There will also be no bike lane or special bike accommodation on the ramps in the vicinity of the Circle. In that sense it is an imperfect solution. No new signals are anticipated as part of this project and an effort will be made to make address visibility concerns in the vicinity of barriers
and retaining walls, such as at the entrance to the West Busway at the eastern limits of the project area.
There was some consideration at one time of extending the bike lane across the ramp, as is done on the Birmingham Bridge. PennDOT indicated that they may take a look at that option again.
Other comments that came out during general discussion:
? Special crossings will be created for pedestrians and bicyclists at key locations.
? The City and the Port Authority agree that there are few outbound transit boardings in the project area.
? At the request of meeting attendees, PennDOT will consider extending bike lane markings across the entrance to the West Busway (technically just outside the project limits) and make other efforts to make bicycles and pedestrians visible at this skewed, slightly obscured intersection.
? Lighting under the railroad underpass will be improved
? Issues of local business owners, residents parking on the sidewalk on the inbound side of West Carson Street have been incorporated into project design. Alternative park ing options are being developed. Enforcement will be an issue that is outside the parameters of this project.
? All signals will be equipped with loop detectors or other equipment that will effectively detect cyclists
? Colored bike lane painting in key areas may be considered
In response to the discussi on that followed the presentation, PennDOT invited inquiries from the attendees on the status/plans for other projects in PennDOT District 11. A few of the observations:
? The Route 51/88 project will have sidewalks when the project is complete
? PennDOT is aware of the need for bike loop detectors at traffic signals, working toward 100% utilization
? Sidewalks will be installed in the Wexford Flats area; will use cameras for signal detection, which are effective for sensing cyclists
? the implementation of shared use markings, or sharrows, where bike lanes end should make the transition into traffic easier for cyclists
? PennDOT can install sharrows in PA, but the municipality must agree to maintain them
? SPC will provide PennDOT District 11 with a list of locations where existing sewer grates, drains or scuppers are known to pose a hazard to safe cycling due to the design or orientation of
structures, or due to deferred maintenance