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Local news stories and LTE 2017

Let's start the year with a positive story out of Apollo. Kids installing re-purposed scrap bikes as part of a clothing drive. Frankly, I'm more interested in the bike refurbishing project that got a brief mention.
2017-01-02 09:44:58
Seems entirely redundant to have a bike lane advisory committee when there is already a complete streets committee. Shouldn't the complete streets committee just be the bike lane advisory committee too?
2017-01-04 09:16:52
Kail-Smith's proposal will interject Council into the bike planning process. This is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on membership in the board (which however is tilted to the status quo). Basically, bike people need to get on it and be vocal and make sure its activities are public.
Further, [Kail-Smith] said, council would be briefed in detail on bike lane designs. Guidance from the advisory group would be delivered to the mayor's office "subject to council approval," she added. Board members would include city public-works, parking and planning representatives, along with people from the local business and bicycling communities. Mayor Bill Peduto supports the effort, said Kevin Acklin, his chief of staff. “We thought it was a good way to formalize a process that we think is already underway,” Mr. Acklin said. He said the Department of City Planning, which handles bike lanes, already undertakes a “robust community discussion” before any new ones take shape.
I can't help but think that this is blowback from the Ft Pitt Blvd affair. Maybe more interaction with the stakeholders would have been advisable.
2017-01-04 10:01:53
This is so incredibly frustrating.   I take Ms. Kail-Smith's intentions honestly, but is there no room for thought and explanation when fielding these constituent complaints?  There has yet to be a single stall of downtown or adjacent-neighborhood street parking removed for bike lanes.  The only locations where driving lanes have been removed were part of a redundant grid.  The single outbound lane of Penn Ave is bordered by four surface street lanes in the same direction and two high-speed, limited access lanes.  That single lane of Penn removed was also bounded by one-way sections making up the vast majority of it's route.  Anyone using that lane heading out of town was forced to eventually turn onto one of the routes they're using now.  Decreasing left turns *decreases* congestion in a downtown grid.  The outside lanes removed on Clemente were bound by six surface street lanes on adjacent bridges PLUS two massive limited access Interstate bridges.  The entire bridge was already closed 81 times a year for Pirates games without issue, and the entire bridge adjacent to Clemente is now closed for an extended rehab; again, without issue.   At best, this is poor governing.  Redundant bureaucracy adding time and money to projects.   At worst, this is a dog whistle that's really intended to stifle any projects with the least amount of objection.  Kristin Saunders and City Planning *already* undertake a massive public outreach process for even the smallest projects, personally seeking out meetings with individual property owners.  Anyone claiming these projects are done without due process is being disingenuous, or more likely, simply complaining that they didn't get their way.  It's laughable to believe that setting up this board as a place for complaints will ultimately appease them.  Nothing short of canceling the projects will actually do that, which is exactly why the formation of this board is a trap that BikePGH should oppose.    
2017-01-04 10:43:23
I'm pretty convinced Ms. Kail-Smith isn't really on the side of improving community input into bike lane decisions. She's on the side of businesses and commuters who don't want bike lanes interfering with their parking. I had one interaction with her, asking her to support changes to make the Wabash Tunnel available to cyclists, which would have connected her district to Downtown for bike commuters; she immediately referred it to BikePgh, and dropped it. I don't think she will be our ally. But from the story it sounds like the Mayor and BikePgh support the oversight committee, so it will probably happen. Hopefully it can be simply folded in to existing outreach efforts, and prevented from stopping new bike infrastructure development.
2017-01-04 12:01:42
it is an advisory board, which I think means it can have input but no direct vote on the matter.  so maybe peduto supports this because he feels it is the easiest way to give the opposition a feeling that they have a say in the matter (and, possibly, because it will allow for more input in the matter?).  But in the end, being an advisory board, he can ignore their input should he choose and do what he wishes. So maybe this isn't a loss, but rather just an extra step in the process?
2017-01-04 12:22:32
I am totally uninformed on this, but it sounds like the committee is an attempt to red-tape projects to death. On the other hand, if the committee is stacked in the right direction, it could be used to advance even more projects faster; especially if a bike friendly mayor gets to assign the committee members.  Of course it works against us with an anti-bike mayor.
2017-01-04 12:45:04
I am suspicious of Kail-Smith’s intentions. She tries to avoid saying anything directly about her intentions so all we have to go on is her description of the current lanes as "ugly". That in itself suggests that she thinks that there is something wrong with the current lanes and that she wants to change them or get rid of them. What is an alternative explanation? I don't believe that this is an aesthetics issue to her, that she just wants more beautiful bike lanes. Instead it seems quite clear that she doesn't want bike lanes. Seriously, what else can "ugly" mean? Can a standard traffic lane be "ugly" too? What do beautiful lanes look like? Perhaps she just wants a different color of paint or none of the green paint that is sometimes used. If she is genuine and merely takes issue with the aesthetics of the current lanes, I suppose that is preferable. But it still means we're dealing with somebody who prefers to look at asphalt rather than to keep people safe with bike lane markings. Only a truly horrible person would put the aesthetics of painted asphalt above people's lives. Either way, Kail-Smith has lost all of my respect.
2017-01-04 14:01:06
I think this whole dance is about Peduto's reelection and possible challenger in Darlene Harris. So he's going to agree with the panel, he can't much do otherwise. It isn't chess, it's more like Steel City Checkers. In a post-2016 world, no elections and no challengers can be taken for granted.
2017-01-04 14:01:41
Again, I think it all turns on the word "advisory panel." I'm pretty sure they have no actual power to change things, just make suggestions, and then the decision making body can decide to listen or not to they suggestions. Correct?   May also have a positive effect. Bike Pgh will be on the panel. Getting in a room and discussing issues face to face is good for changing minds
2017-01-04 14:52:34
here's info on another advisory panel: The Contextual Design Advisory Panel (CDAP) is comprised of 8 members with expertise in the physical development of the City. The panel's mission is "promoting quality of life in the City of Pittsburgh. CDAP achieves its mission through professional, voluntary design assistance to maximize the economic, civic, contextual, and aesthetic value of new development projects impacting the public realm." To fulfill this mission, CDAP advises the Department of City Planning by reviewing and providing design guidance on selected, higher profile projects throughout the City. CDAP is an advisory panel, not a commission. Together with staff design review, the panel works to resolve design issues through professional peer critique before the Planning Commission conducts its review. This frees the Planning Commission to focus on its responsibility of assuring that new developments are consistent with the overall planning objectives of the City. Some examples of these core considerations are: The extent to which each development proposal addresses successful design, public space enhancement, context sensitivity, and sustainable urbanism. Ensuring that projects feature well designed buildings and landscapes that engage both users and the streetscape. Buildings should also make appropriate connections to adjacent sites and to the larger neighborhood. The use of green building materials and designs which consider the longer-term impact and use of a single project.   And the LGBT advisory panel:   They just give their input to council and mayor. Yes, this will be a pain in the ass.  Yes, if the 9 of the 10 members are antibike they can raise a ruckus, but when else have you heard a peep in the news about other advisory panel findings? This is probably why Peduto was so quick to embrace it.  
2017-01-04 14:58:09
The P-G article refers to a 'board'. This discussion, so far, has also mentioned committees, panels, groups and maybe others that I missed. Are there legal distinctions between these that we might be missing? It would be good to know. There is nothing a priori wrong with any of this. (Well, other than that the people who now insist on it will later come back complaining about "gov't bureaucracy".) The question is how it plays out.
Here is a worst case: Council refuses to approve some bike-related measure. It's waiting for the Board to submit its recommendation. Months pass. The Board is still "working" on it. As a courtesy to Council, the mayor and the City wait. Nothing happens. Finally, the mayor says screw it and goes ahead. The P-G letters column erupts in outrage. Block's minions pen editorials attacking Peduto's attempted power-grab. To the barricades! (Yes, I'm exaggerating. Just humor me.)
2017-01-04 17:46:46
Why haven't you written a letter to the editor in defense of bike lanes? It's not hard to do. Post-Gazette instructions Tribune-Review instructions Some common whines you might address:
  • Bike lanes are bad for car traffic
  • Bike lanes are bad for businesses - taking away parking spaces and all
  • We have enough bike lanes; too many, in fact!
  • Cyclists are entitled, spandex-wearing scofflaws
  • It's too dangerous to bike on roads; cyclists should stick to the trails
  • Pittsburgh streets are too narrow for bicycles
  • Pittsburgh weather is too cold for bicycles
  • Pittsburgh is too hilly for bicycles
  • waah!
2017-01-05 11:39:55
If you want to give City Council your opinion about the need for a bike lane advisory committee, here's an opportunity (from this article in City Paper):
The proposed bike-lane advisory committee will be discussed at 10 a.m. Wed., Jan 11, in the city council chambers, located on the fifth floor of the City-County Building at 414 Grant St., Downtown.
2017-01-06 16:03:35
I think maybe we should have a sidewalk advisory committee; and a roadway advisory committee; and a parking lot advisory committee; and ....   Simi-seriously, I think most of our roads are ugly, under her reasoning doesn't that require more input from "her" constituents?
2017-01-06 16:09:16
I like the idea of an advisory committee. I just don't think I'm the one who should be on it. Aside from the fact I am not a city resident, a more salient concern is that I'm not a fan of bike lanes. I would rather we tackle the larger problem of intolerant motorists, something the idea of bike lanes addresses by separating motorists and cyclists for much of the time, except for when they do have to interact, and then the unsolved problem becomes a real-time problem. In short, rather than worry about bike lanes and how and where to put them and what they should look like, I would rather we focus on the 99.8% of the lane-miles in the city that do not now and likely will not ever have a bike lane, but can be expected to have bike-car interactions. We accomplish that by:
  • Enforcing speed limits, particularly on streets cyclists should be able to use
  • Prosecuting drivers who endanger cyclists
  • Assisting cyclists with the knowledge necessary to video and report dangerous drivers
  • Establishing laws, at the state level if necessary, for a bounty system to reward cyclists for bringing dangerous drivers to justice
  • Educating law enforcement, magistrates, and others relevant to the justice system, to what the law truly means concerning best-practices cycling (so cyclists don't get pulled over for taking the lane, as one example)
  • Forcing state, county, and city planning and engineering entities to design streets that make it less possible for drivers to have a chance to mow down cyclists and pedestrians
  • Getting road maintenance departments at municipal, county and state levels to address road surface hazards that endanger cyclists, such as diagonal rail crossings, longitudinal drain grates, unswept shoulders which cyclists are expected to use, etc.
Somehow, I do not think it is envisioned that a bike lane advisory committee would have the charter, let alone the teeth, to bring that about. But that is precisely what we need to get us to the next level of bicycle usage for routine transportation in both the city, and by extension, the metro area. So, while I will not stand in the way of setting up such a committee within the city, I do not think its purpose is all that useful. I cannot say it often or loudly enough: Make it possible for the average person to do anything other than drive.
2017-01-06 18:59:46
I agree with Stu. My own list would start with:
  1. Enforcing speed limits, particularly on streets cyclists should be able to use.
  2. Getting road maintenance departments at municipal, county and state levels to address road surface hazards that endanger cyclists, such as diagonal rail crossings, longitudinal drain grates, unswept shoulders which cyclists are expected to use, etc.
  3. ...
I just want to be able to ride in peace. I don't mind the drivers, as long as they behave.  
2017-01-06 20:03:28
Studies show bike lanes can reduce congestion, contrary to Pittsburgh residents' criticism "But the assertion that bike lanes cause more congestion actually runs contrary to studies in multiple big cities across the country. In New York City, a protected bike lane on Columbus Avenue actually improved congestion, decreasing travel time for cars from 4.5 minutes to 3 minutes along a 20-block stretch. In Minneapolis, the U.S.’s top bike-commuting city, news-data website studied 10 segments in the Minnesota city in 2014 and determined that the addition of a bike lane at the cost of a car lane had no affect on traffic times for cars. In fact, a 2013 University of Virginia study shows that bike riders only reduce congestion when they have bike lanes to ride in."
2017-01-08 10:15:54
Another PG letter skeptical of bike lanes. This letter says, in part: "To me, bicycles belong on trails, parks, playgrounds, etc. ... Do bike riders on city streets need a license like drivers? Do they have to pay what we car drivers pay?" Have you written an LTE in defense of bike lanes? What are you waiting for? See links in my 1/5 post above.
2017-01-11 02:49:44
PennDOT is starting to build roundabouts, and even mentions bicycles in the same breath. Trib story
2017-01-12 04:00:20
East side of Cleveland has a lot of "circles," as they call them there.  Although you could get stuck in one for hours like the Griswolds did in European Vacation.
2017-01-12 06:43:38
Paul, I've stayed away from LTE comment sections for a few months now and my mental health has been all the better for it. (although the whole POS-elect situation hasn't completely let that go away) :) When I can get out and go for a ride to blow off steam after some debate, I am much more able to handle those situations, and I can jump back into it.
2017-01-12 07:41:09
I have mixed feelings about roundabouts. They decrease intersection speed, which is safer for motorists at least. But they can be almost impossible for pedestrians to cross. And as a hyper-vigilant cyclist, I actually prefer typical signalized intersections while riding. With traffic lights you can clearly have the right of way and ride through intersections safely. That's no the case for large roundabouts. With that said, they have their place and I would like to see more of them, just not in areas where people walk or ride bicycles. While increasing fender benders in exchange for decreasing high-speed collisions is good for motorists, I'm not convinced it is a good thing for pedestrians and cyclists.
2017-01-12 08:18:15
Millvale building a natural playground at the Riverfront Park.  Hopefully this also means that the bathrooms at that end of the North Shore Trail will be open 24/7 instead of only open when the picnic area is rented.  The 40th street bridge seasonal portapotty just doesn't cut it. I also wish that the trails, especially the north shore trail, had water fountains.  There is one in Millvale and then none on the rest of the trail (Between the possibly soon to be closed prison and Millvale).  You have to cross over to point state park or go to the water cube on Penn between 8th and 9th for water.  A water fountain down by the stadiums would be a natural fit, but with the Pirates and the city at war over improvements to PNC park, ain't nothing going to happen there.
2017-01-12 12:30:07
There are many roundabout designs, including ones with traffic lights (at high-volume intersections, and which would incorporate crossing opportunities for peds). Past that, they just make sense in that they allow vehicles to continue moving when there's little traffic and have clear rules for precedence. As a cyclist I've found them generally easy to deal with, even in contrast with traffic lights (consider right hooks, for example).
2017-01-12 13:47:07
I think it is good that the creation of an advisory board was tabled. But it seems Theresa Kali-Smith is still unable to think logically about the topic. Here is what it was reported:
Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith said the proposal she introduced was not meant to be “adversarial.” “We are getting a lot of complaints regarding bike infrastructure,” she said. “If we were doing such a fantastic job, we wouldn’t have the volume of complaints that we are receiving across the city of Pittsburgh.”
So apparently she doesn't understand that people can be selfish and that there will always be people complaining about things that don't benefit them directly. For example, compare this to when civil rights laws were enacted. A massive percentage of white Americans were outraged that minorities were getting equal rights. Would she say "If we were doing such a fantastic job, we wouldn't have the volume of complaints that we are receiving"? Kali-Smith is still trying to not anger cyclists but her perception of bike lanes is clear.   EDIT: I toned it back a bit and sent Kali-Smith the following email. Not sure if she actually reads all of the email sent to that account but it is worth a shot. I urge others here to send constructive feedback as well:
Some feedback on the recent tabling of a bike infrastructure advisory board and in regard to this statement of yours. “We are getting a lot of complaints regarding bike infrastructure,” she said. “If we were doing such a fantastic job, we wouldn’t have the volume of complaints that we are receiving across the city of Pittsburgh.” Please consider what motivates those complaints. People can be selfish and will complain about things merely because they don't benefit from them. A massive percentage of white Americans were outraged when civil rights laws were enacted. They didn't want minorities to have equal rights. This is a perfect analogy. Bike infrastructure isn't special treatment and it isn't a mere convenience. This is literally a life and death matter. I personally have been hit by cars 5 times while biking, 3 of those in Pittsburgh. Nearly every biker who rides on Pittsburgh roads has bean threatened or assaulted. I know cyclists who have ended up in a coma or hospitalized for months. One even had his throat slit by a driver. Currently 2% of commuting in Pittsburgh is done by bike and yet we don't have anywhere close to that percentage of the infrastructure budget. The percentage of bike commuters would be even higher if riding in the city didn't require risking serious injury. That means we should be spending more than 2% of the infrastructure on cycling, not less. On top of that, cyclists are subsidizing drivers because most cyclists are also drivers. Cyclists pay all the same taxes while doing less damage and despite not receiving adequate infrastructure. Put simply, bike infrastructure is drastically underfunded. We are merely asking for proportionate accommodation, funding and protection from being killed by speeding drivers. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated even though I it will be unpopular by those who only care about themselves. I know it's a tough job and I appreciate your attention. Good luck!
2017-01-12 13:49:10
There are many roundabout designs, including ones with traffic lights (at high-volume intersections, and which would incorporate crossing opportunities for peds). Past that, they just make sense in that they allow vehicles to continue moving when there’s little traffic and have clear rules for precedence. As a cyclist I’ve found them generally easy to deal with, even in contrast with traffic lights (consider right hooks, for example).
Roundabouts can be good for traffic flow because traffic is always moving. The trade off is that without stopped traffic, it is more dangerous for pedestrians and inexperienced cyclists to cross the road or navigate the intersection. This isn't meant to be anti-roundabout. Just noting the tradeoffs that affect where they are most suitable. If you ever have the pleasure of walking or riding about a European city with roundabouts, I think you'll quickly discover that they are best avoided when walking or riding.
2017-01-12 14:37:44
There are many roundabout designs, including ones with traffic lights (at high-volume intersections, and which would incorporate crossing opportunities for peds). Past that, they just make sense in that they allow vehicles to continue moving when there's little traffic and they have clear rules for precedence. As a cyclist I've found them generally easy to deal with, even in contrast with traffic lights (consider right hooks, for example). Roundabouts seem intimidating at first, but they work surprisingly well on a bike, based on my European riding. (Ok, maybe I've managed to suppress my fear reflex a bit too deeply.)
2017-01-12 14:50:32
While roundabout backlash can be unfounded, we shouldn't ignore the very real tradeoffs of different intersection designs. Beyond perceptions or "intimidation" there are different dangers involved. Roundabouts are optimal for some settings and people and not others. The specifics of this are controversial even among pedestrian and cycling advocates. Imagine an elderly, blind or disabled people trying to cross an intersection on foot or on bike. I think it is clear that a typical, signalized intersection is safer for that. Reserving space and time for navigating the intersection is beneficial to pedestrians and riders who are physically or mentally unable to deal with merging traffic from all directions. Granted, there are many forms of roundabouts. The difference between single and multi-lane roundabouts is immense. In some areas there is room for physically divided entrance/exit lanes. Pedestrians thus have to cross fewer lanes at a time. Conversely, in high pedestrian traffic areas, an all-way scramble can be applied to a conventional intersection. With all that said, I am generally in favor of more roundabouts. Just pointing out that they are not optimal everywhere.
2017-01-12 15:45:44
Ffs, Theresa Kail Smith, if I started recording and reporting all my complaints regarding shitty Pittsburgh driver behavior and shitty Pittsburgh vehicular infrastructure, her office would take out a restraining order on me.
2017-01-12 16:26:49
This is where Twitter comes in. I know she has a Twitter account. She was one of only a couple of elected officials other than Mayor Peduto who thanked me for my help when we swept the upstream sidewalk on the West End Bridge a couple years ago. What I've learned after 27,000 tweets, most of them my own typing and not just retweeting someone else's work, is that invective is usually unnecessary. I compose a thought, key it in, it comes to 149 characters, then I start hunting for words to remove. Guess what goes first? Unnecessary adjectives and exclamations.
2017-01-13 09:39:37
European junctions controlled by roundabouts are wildly safer for people walking and riding than American signalized intersections.   They may not have a place in extremely pedestrian-heavy areas, but reluctance to them in this country is almost certainly due to their large, dangerous traffic circle predecessors. I can't fathom that Europeans would prefer our typical infrastructure.  Small roundabouts calm speeds and eliminate the need for turn lane additions which increase pedestrian exposure.  Fully protected pedestrian phases are exceedingly rare for signalized intersections in this country due to the almighty flow of traffic, which removes almost all improvement over modern roundabouts.
2017-01-13 11:12:03
^I think these stories are related... but Sharrows are coming to Mt. Oliver! Mt. Oliver Borough will receive $745,714 for a streetscape project along Brownsville Road from the Clock Tower to Margaret Street. The project includes numerous improvements in the business district, including new sidewalks, ADA curb ramps, sharrows, and a consistent streetscape design. If this happens it will be the first on-road bike infra in the south hills.
2017-01-17 13:53:53
"PAT overlooks bike users with new fare system"   After the system has been in place for a month, the agency will review concerns and decide if additional tweaks should be made, said Bill Miller, chief operations officer. On the first day of the new system, the agency realized it had overlooked bike riders and should allow them to leave through the front door rather than walking from the exit door to the rack at the front of the bus to retrieve their bike.
2017-01-19 12:14:50
I was in an hour-long meeting last night with Dan DeBone, whom I've had a working relationship for 15 years. I think he knows about bikes now.
2017-01-19 17:49:03
Two articles I read on Google's news aggregator but can't link to due to post gazette paywall.  Maybe someone can link to them.   Rivers casino to build a hotel on east side of property. Info about Westmoreland trail expansion.
2017-01-20 08:29:09
That's a big download. Here is a view of what they're planning: and here is a rendering:
2017-01-20 11:50:13
Corner of the hotel meets the trail. Oi. Just annoyed by all the closures for construction over the last few years. Strip district twice , Allegheny landing, science center construction, and now this hotel. And can't forget the permanent detour on the SS trail.
2017-01-20 12:56:40
I was just about to post that link.  This is all super exciting, because you can already get from the Allegheny River in O'Hara (around the docks development) all the way up to Beechwood Farms mostly on trail (a little bit of sidewalk at the foot of fox chapel road and old freeport).   Even better, there was a biker in the picture.  although these aren't (road) biking trails.
2017-01-23 12:28:11
article about the aspinwall project that has everyone up in arms around here (the development next to aspinwall riverfront park), with some small mention about the bike trail.  It seems to hint that if the project doesn't get done than the trail link on this side is in jeopardy.  Hard to tell how much is rhetoric and how much is Trib kwality reporting.
2017-01-25 13:23:14
^could someone boil this Aspinwall thing down to a few sentences without favoring either side.  Reading through the riverfront-park website Q&A just makes this even more political than my brain can hold.
2017-01-25 15:20:18
Bottom line: traffic. Right now to get into the parcel you need to go through 19th street in Sharpsburg. The developers want to build an entrance at Eastern Ave in aspinwall. Parcel is 12 percent aspinwall and 78 percent Sharpsburg. One side says traffic on Freeport is already bad and there will be tons of cars more with a road there. That most of the traffic burden will be in Aspinwall but only 12 percent of the development. The other side says development is worth the increase in traffic. An independent traffic study is pending. I think aspinwall boro council has to approve part of the Eastern Ave changes.   I assume a trail through the parcel will be part of the project.
2017-01-25 15:39:18
PA extremely local government FTW!
2017-01-25 15:57:55
Thanks.  Kinda reminds me of the Steelers complaining about the additional traffic when the casino was going in. OTOH, it would be nice to have the trail commitments in writing before any final approvals.
2017-01-25 16:17:56
I think the traffic issue is that that part of Freeport is pretty backed up during rush hours, as people are getting on and off the HPB.  Adding more traffic to Freeport will make this worse, but things will come to s standstill many times a day when the train comes through as any # of cars trying to turn into the complex won't be able to move for 2-3 minutes, thus backing up everyone else.  The train is at grade, and thus the crossing will be at grade.  In sharpsburg, the train is elevated and there's a tunnel under the train tracks. My office is the first house back off of Freeport, and I can vouch for that train coming many, many times a day.
2017-01-25 17:05:00
I appreciate the explanation, especially the (78% benefits to Sharpsburg) and the (downside to Aspinwall). So the developer's position is a single entrance in Sharpsburg is insufficient? When I ride through there I see all the signs and I didn't really understand it. It does seem as if there's more to it than just a park entrance - it could effect all the traffic flows.  I'm surprised the developers put themselves into this spot.
2017-01-25 18:51:38
I think a few different reasons for the Sharpsburg entrance...
  1. Aspinwall is (much) higher SES than sharpsburg. So the cachet factor.  And I do think some people won't look at the facility to live, or to shop, if the only way in is through Sharpsburg.  Just the reality of the situation...
  2. For the traffic coming off the HPB... I'm sure the vast majority of those cars that don't get onto 28 go toward Aspinwall, not Sharpsburg.  so just for the visibility reason (they're going to have shops there too), the Aspinwall entrance makes sense.
  3. As long as the riverfront park has been in development there has been talk about getting a better entrance for it.  The original plan was to move the driveway to the intersection with Brillant.  However, when the new parcel was bought, I think they figured they could solve the riverfront park entrance problem by using Eastern.  Kills 2 birds with one stone.
My guess is also that the developers didn't think there would be this much opposition to the plan given I can't think of anyone who opposed the riverfront park.  Even UPMC, who was going to use it for a park and ride lot, went quietly into the night when the local group came forward and took a long time to raise the money.  To put a cherry on top, Highmark decided to donate a  decent chunk of change to the riverfront park.  Hence the highmark logo on the trail.  I think it was a middle finger to upmc. Freeport Road can get really bad during rush hour.  If I'm in a car, I take the back streets of Aspinwall.  but that's because I live right off of Delafield.   However, I think there's also a worry that the other streets of Aspinwall will have increased traffic too, and not just from locals (who would normally take freeport to delafield and then up the hill toward fox chapel and ohara), but rather people who are sick of waiting on freeport.  Aspinwall streets are very narrow, car parking on both sides, lots of pedestrians, and many kids playing.  So there's that fear. Also, the 1, 91, and 75 buses use freeport, and when they're loading and unloading during rush hour it can back traffic up several blocks (there are a lot of traffic lights on freeport, and with traffic moving slowly, and buses stopping every few blocks, you can get stuck behind a lot of red lights).  Freeport is also heavily used by ambulances going to St. Margaret and it is the only way for Pgh Fire, Police, and EMS to respond to the waterworks.  And working right off of freeport for the last 2+ years, I can tell you that the waterworks creates a crazy amount of calls to pgh fire/ems/police. I have no horse in the game.  I live in fox chapel and I walk to work to Aspinwall. Just seeing it turn into a neighbor vs. neighbor type of fight.  Not that this is happening elsewhere in US politics... (: Biking wise, increased traffic on Freeport will make it much more dangerous to bikers.  I already am super vigilant when I'm taking Freeport from Sharpsburg to Aspinwall when I go past the 28 off ramp.  Those cars are still going very fast, and a lot of them don't yield.  the ones that do have a very crappy angle -- the oncoming cars on Freeport are actually behind them.  you have to go into owl mode and turn your head 170 degrees, or pray that no one is in your blind spot and use your mirrors. that older lady was killed a few years ago at that off ramp, and a wobbly pedestrian was killed coming off the bus at western and freeport just about 2 weeks ago. When I'm on my bike I definitely take the lane and usually I stand up so I'm more visible when I reach that off ramp.
2017-01-25 20:26:55
Council To Consider Heavily Amended Bike Lane Board Legislation The amendments increase the number of advisory board members from 10 to 14, by adding an additional representative from the business community, a public safety representative and two mayoral appointees. It also removes the requirement that one member be a representative of Bike Pittsburgh. Instead it calls for two representatives from, more broadly, "bicycle advocacy organizations.”
2017-01-30 09:39:36
regarding the previous Aspinwall R47 discussions and a possible trail connection, the anti- side has been very vocal with a website and signs.  Today I got the pro- side leaflet at my work.  I'll spare you all the details, but answering the anti- side-- Per the pro- side, per zoning rules mixed use developments require at least 2 access points, so the one is Sharpsburg will be the "primary" one but they need another one for emergency purposes. Re: the trail, "... because (Aspinwall Riverfront Park) has conditioned joint access on R47 (riverfront 47 project in question) granting a trail easement, an additional 1.5 miles of riverfront trail that will eventually enable residents to commute to downtown Pittsburgh on foot or bike." From the visual attached, it seems that the trail part would include the walkways already part of Aspinwall Riverfront Park.  They're made of a funky material and it is really hard to ride of them when wet.  It is unclear what the trail would be made up of in the R47 section. And, as far as I can tell, even if R47 is built, it looks like the trail will only be in the development (the park and the R47 project) and then everyone will be back on Main Street in Sharpsburg from 19th street on down, and then will have to semi-illegally ride on the rocks from hell next to the train tracks until it hits millvale.  Or will have to ride the 62nd street bridge to butler and then back across at the 40th street bridge. I haven't heard of any groups actively trying to get the trail connected from Millvale to Sharpsburg.  That, to me, is the more critical section of the trail.  I know that the railroad seems to look the other way currently with peds/bikes, but the rocks are awful and the railroad could change its policy at a time... And there's no other alternative on that side of the river that doesn't involve going up and down huge hills with lots of traffic (that takes up much more time than Butler street on the zoo side).
2017-01-30 14:06:12
@edronline: Friends of the Riverfront and others have been working on extending the trail from Millvale to Sharpsburg (and eventually to Freeport!). There was an announcement of a $500,000 state grant for extension in Etna in 2016. They need to raise more money, however. Etna "Borough officials have been working for several years on the plans and funding with the riverfront group, Allegheny County and the Allegheny River Towns Enterprise Zone. The first step in construction, which Ms. Ramage hopes will occur this year, is the creation of a flyover [near 62nd St Bridge] to take pedestrian and bicycle traffic safely across the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks that parallel the river. Afterward will come the trail construction ...".
2017-01-30 18:17:07
I read that article and forgot it. Thanks for reminding me.   Aspinwall r47 people said the same thing basically. Thanks for your inquiry. Friends of the Riverfront is working hard to extend the Three Rivers Heritage Trail (which runs from Millvale to the North Shore) all the way up to Freeport. There is a piece of riverfront property in Etna that has been purchased, and there are ongoing talks with Sharpsburg about how we can extend it further south from the R47 property line. What we’ve seen over the years is that one trail development begets more trail development, so if R47 is successful, I’m hoping that this will inspire more attention to this segment! As you can imagine, Etna and Sharpsburg do not have resources to devote to building a trail, so there would need to be significant grant donations to support this segment.
2017-01-30 20:57:26
Regarding the Millvale-to-Etna/Sharpsburg trail, I received the Friends of the Riverfront e-newsletter last week and it had this update: "Progress in Etna! Etna is one of 17 municipalities of the Community Trails Initiative, which focuses on extending the Three Rivers Heritage Trail from Millvale to Freeport. The Allegheny River corridor is part of the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail Alliance, the Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Mainline Canal Greenway, and the 1,600-miles of trail that make-up the Industrial Heartland Trail Coalition. Friends of the Riverfront started the process for an Etna Riverfront Park and Trail in 2013 by purchasing the one-acre property adjacent to the 62nd Street Bridge, then transferring ownership to Etna in 2014. Throughout 2015, a community process occurred resulting in a conceptual plan for a trail and bike/pedestrian crossing. Currently, PennDOT is reviewing the preliminary engineering plan, prepared by CDR McGuire and submitted at the end of last year. The Borough of Etna recently advertised a request for proposals (RFP) for the next phase of the project--the final detail design. The Borough, in partnership with the Etna Riverfront Park and Trail Planning Committee, plans to award the contract in the last week of February. Watch for the next project update on this exciting extension to the Three Rivers Heritage Trail!"
2017-01-31 15:38:11
I can't picture where this trail is going in Etna unless it is right next to one of the railroad tracks.  There's river, a steep hill, a set of railroad tracks, another hill, another railroad track, route 28, and a huge hill...  And the rocks next to the railroad tracks isn't very wide in some places.
2017-01-31 17:59:30
Could one of the tracks be unneeded and out of maintenance? I'm not familiar with that area but it happens elsewhere. Like in duck hollow, there is a rail-to-trial alongside another grouping of still active lines.
2017-01-31 20:56:37
Getting from Millvale to the 62nd St Bridge is pretty straightforward. You can drive a truck through there, until you get to the actual trail by Millvale. In fact, it might be easier by truck than by bicycle. It's upstream of the crossing by 62SB into Sharpsburg where I have trouble envisioning things.
2017-02-01 11:11:50
Not sure if an "official" trail has to be a certain distance away from railroad tracks, or if a fence has to separate the trail from the railroad, but as Stu said, the gravel road between Millvale and Etna is definitely big enough for a car/truck's width, so I would think that it would be pretty easy to convert it to a trail.  The good news is that once the Etna connection is done, there is Main St./Freeport Rd. along the Allegheny valley from there. This PDF ( has a drawing of the Etna riverfront park plan.  Apparently they plan to build an elevated flyover crossing above the tracks for bikes and pedestrians, even though the at-grade crossing will still be there for "maintenance vehicle access".  Not sure why anyone on a bike would not then just use the at-grade crossing unless a train was actively passing, or how they could enforce a rule to make them take the overhead ramp.
2017-02-01 11:56:53
Depending on certain variables, a trail is ordinarily required to be 25-50 feet from an active rail line.  Certain places are much closer, such as the trail along the railroad in McKeesport; they may have gotten exceptions or IMO more likely were grandfathered in due to preexisting conditions.
2017-02-01 13:42:43
Sounds like only official vehicles can use private rail crossings like the 62nd Street bridge one. Not sure if federal or state law. Evidently the railroad has been actively helping get this done and came up with the flyover ramp idea to get it done.
2017-02-01 16:22:13
Evidently the railroad has been actively helping get this done and came up with the flyover ramp idea to get it done.
that might be one way of spinning it.  another is the railroad suggested that -- or at least is allowing -- the borough spend a boatload of money building a bridge, to railroad specifications, so that the railroad doesn't have to allow a crossing.
2017-02-01 17:06:06
The Baldwin Trail part of the GAP is pretty close to the tracks, and if that isn't close enough for you, the part from the gravel plant driveway past Sandcastle is closer still.
2017-02-01 18:15:20
Buffalo, good point
2017-02-01 20:22:25
that might be one way of spinning it. another is the railroad suggested that — or at least is allowing — the borough spend a boatload of money building a bridge, to railroad specifications, so that the railroad doesn’t have to allow a crossing.
  I believe that at grade crossings are discourage by both the federal government  and industry association. The other reason could be that this crossing is a private one -- --
Highway-railroad grade crossings are intersections where a highway crosses a railroad at-grade. They are also called level crossings in other countries such as Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. To avoid collisions, warning/control devices are required at grade crossings just like intersecting roads need stop signs or traffic signals. Active Grade Crossings have active warning and control devices such as bells, flashing lights, and gates, in addition to passive warning devices such as crossbucks (the familiar x-shaped signs that mean yield to the train), yield or stop signs and pavement markings.  While passive Grade Crossings have only passive warning devices. These warning/control devices are specified in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices  (MUTCD). Grade crossings may be public or private. Public grade crossings are roadways that are under the jurisdiction of, and maintained by, a public authority. Private grade crossings are on privately owned roadways, such as on a farm or industrial area, and are intended for use by the owner or by the owner's licensees and invitees. A private crossing is not intended for public use and is not maintained by a public highway authority. In 2015, there were 129,582 public crossings and 80,073 private crossings.
IIRC, level of providing MUTCD at private ones is much lower. So implication is that if RR makes at grade crossing public they have to bust level of MUTCD at least.  
2017-02-02 11:51:34
This is officially a private crossing under the 62nd st bridge.   You have to give the railroad kudos for not patrolling people off that stretch. Pretty much any other railroad, especially the ones around here refusing to work with the trails, would kick people off or arrest them. Like panther hollow.
2017-02-02 13:26:49
The fat bike article also gives a plug for Frigid Bitch, next weekend. Last year's event, which didn't even get a mention on the message board, managed to attract 41 riders -- all female -- on a bitter cold, snowy day.
2017-02-05 07:05:53
^ It's promising that this change in approach at PennDoT seems to be embraced by the head, but I can only imagine that any change in attitude in the rank and file traffic engineers will spread like molasses in January. I've tried to work with some of those guys.
2017-02-28 11:37:58 Despite 'bikelash,' Pittsburgh mayor stands behind bike lane vision "If Bill Peduto doesn’t win re-election this year, the one-liner goes, blame the bike lanes. The Pittsburgh mayor himself delivers the satire, joking that “bikelash” paired with his support for refugees and self-driving cars will crater his political career. Still, as Mr. Peduto runs for a second term, he’s sticking with his long-range goal for a citywide network of neighborhood bike lanes. The city can better involve residents in the planning process, but adding the lanes remains a key for safer transportation, economic development and urban growth, he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette."
2017-03-05 02:15:10
I'm glad that the mayoral race is essentially over after the May primary because I'm not sure how much Darlene Harris I can take.  I guess I'll find out.
2017-03-05 08:52:35
Meanwhile, over in Churchill, seems like the new mayor is pretty OK with bike trails. (h/t to Eat That, Read This #561) New Churchill mayor plans to personally greet new residents Mr. Gamrat, who worked as a special education teacher in the Wilkinsburg School District, said one of his goals as mayor is to attract younger residents. He believes that can be accomplished by bringing amenities to the borough such as bike trails and coffee shops as well as additional businesses that cater to younger people.
2017-03-06 16:19:58
Rev. Welch's main (and possibly only issue) is affordable housing.   I'd like to sic Darlene Harris on Lamar.for refusing to take down that Sprint sign. That should be her issue.
2017-03-07 10:28:31
Meanwhile, just across the river, "Sharpsburg has taken its first step toward making its business district more welcoming to pedestrians, with improvements in lighting, landscaping and accessibility."
2017-03-07 14:47:55
Love the use of the word "accident" with something that would most certainly not be an accident.   Wondering if the recent uptick in complaints about use of 57th street has to do with more people using Google maps or Waze. Sometimes less used streets are "found" by these apps and traffic increases
2017-03-07 20:04:07
Link.   I can't find anything on what's next Pittsburgh. And the open streets website looks like it needs to be updated as it still says the next route is Northside and west end. Which was the last route of 2016.
2017-03-09 07:58:37
BRT moving forward (!)
Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and the Port Authority announced Thursday morning they will be filing an application with the Federal Transit Administration in the next six months to build a street-level system of electric vehicles that would, at a minimum, run on dedicated lanes between Downtown and Oakland. The system also could be extended using regular traffic lanes and the Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway to Highland Park, Squirrel Hill and Wilkinsburg.
Estimated cost is $200-240 M. I don't think this is viable in the current political climate, but it would be awesome.
2017-03-09 12:50:47
The Regional Transportation Alliance released a vision for the region yesterday: Three major ideas related to bikes were suggested: Also relevant I think is the idea for a "Multimodal Perspective for Planning New Projects" I'm curious to hear what people think, and also if anyone knows anything is already in the works to move these ideas?   (full disclosure: I helped work on this report)
2017-03-09 15:14:06
I think you mean there won't be bike lanes.
“This route was chosen to minimize trail users' interaction with vehicles so they can pass safely through town,” she said.
2017-03-14 20:42:00
few thoughts -- unclear what the role of bikes will be.  That part of blawnox reminds me of the lower part of lawrenceville.  It will all be on mainly residential streets and the article says it won't be using the train tracks and won't be by the river.  So I'm assuming they'll uproot some parking and paint some lines? And I don't understand what the "no bike lane" means.  Does that mean no dedicated bike lane, or no bikes will be allowed in that painted off street area? Blawnox is very tiny, and met on all sides by ohara, so if ohara has no plans to install anything similar (which they don't as far as I know), it won't be very functional.  It is unclear if the papercraft starting area will link to anything at the docks, though I don't think that the trail goes all the way through both developments down there anyway. It is also downhill from freeport and the current iteration of the planned trail is a bit hilly, so I think that bikers might just choose to stay on freeport as it is 25 mph with lots of traffic lights to slow cars.
2017-03-15 06:49:38
I saw this announcement somewhere on Facebook but can't find it now. I thought it was by the three rivers heritage trail group or something similar but apparently not. Immediately I started looking at google maps imagery to figure out why the "walking" trail wouldn't be routed along the river or railroad tracks. Why was it going along roads instead? This actually appears to be excellent news and the best we could hope for along this section of the river. The riverfront route is blocked by a marina and at least a couple other structures. There is also not enough space along the railroad without bulldozing at least one structure. And thus they've chosen a route it along the least busy road paralleling the river. The first concern people would have with this route is that nobody wants to walk along a lane of a road. This is why it was stressed that the trail wouldn't be a "bike lane". To me this suggests that curbs will be moved to narrow the road and the trail be installed basically as a wide sidewalk through the neighborhood. It isn't that bikes aren't allowed  but rather that the trail won't be just a painted bike lane I hope this is the correct interpretation!
2017-03-15 07:09:12
blawnox doesn't include the marina.  it starts where papercraft avenue meets 4th st and ends right before lewis avenue.  maybe about 20 blocks long.  the streets are narrow -- sorta reminds me of the flat part of lawrenceville. There is some beautiful access to the river down there.  one of the streets (Center?  cable?) dead ends into the river, basically.  People down there own boats, etc. etc.  but it is also very insular down there.  I don't think anyone drives to Blawnox to put their boat in.  It is probably 99.9% used by the people that live down there.  there's also a surprising amount of industry down there too.  but that shouldn't be too surprising because that's a pittsburgh thing -- to have houses bump up against manufacturers.
2017-03-15 08:56:02
The PG article contains a link to a PDF of Major Taylor's scrapbooks, archived at Pitt. People who like bicycle history will find them very interesting. Here's a photo of the guy, in race position (one of the articles mentions that he, uncharacteristically, bends over, unlike his competitor who races with an "almost straight back" -- which seems like a bad idea to me). majortaylor (Note the rod-based drivetrain, BTW).
2017-03-15 10:50:47
FYI there's a new PennDOT master plan for the western section of PA Bike Route 6 (which runs along the northern edge of the state. For some reason this is more or less but not quite the same as BicyclePA Route Y). See the links at I couldn't find anything that would improve safety in the executive summary. There are suggestions for sharrows and wayfinding signage in the towns the route passes through. They do seem to be vaguely aware that it's a crappy bike route, FWIW:
For the study area along PA Route 6 and Route 6N, over 20% of the corridor functions at a BLOS grade of “D” or lower. Using 2011-2015 PennDOT crash data, it was determined that 22 recorded crashes involving bicyclists (9) or pedestrians (13) occurred along PA Route 6 during the 5 year period.
2017-03-20 14:09:16
I think Route 6 refers to US Route 6, a road, while PA Bike Route Y is a route for bikes that travels mostly on US Route 6. The design guide has maps with specific areas where they recommend widening or repairing shoulders, moving guiderails, and eventually including bike infrastructure on specific bridges as they're replaced. (Also, using "bike-friendly" rumble strips, with gaps in them, instead of the usual kind.) It also notes that widening all the needed shoulders (205 miles worth) is about two orders of magnitude more expensive than installing all the recommended signs and sharrows. I expect the widening in particular will take a very long time, but at least the plan is a start.
2017-03-20 21:30:45
Heehee! IIRC I might know the source of that closing quotation! ;^)
2017-03-21 11:09:25
Wow. Didn't know they were exploring a location off the montour trail. Hope it eventually works out for them.
2017-03-24 10:51:45
meeting about Heth's run (by the zoo).   PWSA is presenting conceptual plans for the Pittsburgh Zoo Parking lot (Heth’s Run), this Tuesday, March 28 at 6:00pm, St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Barley Hall, 5801 Hampton Street.  
2017-03-27 10:21:42
No mention of bicycles in this story about a house in West Newton, but since it's very close to the GAP trail, I thought it worth a mention here. The John C. Plumer House, one of the oldest residences in the town, has a historic designation, and the town owned it until recently, but interest on an almost 50-year-old loan is apparently standing in the way of actually doing anything with it, if I am reading this correctly. The Mon Valley Initiative now owns it, but being able to move forward on anything requires state approval of removing the historic designation. The house is vacant. I really don't understand what "Project 70 restrictions" entail, and nobody has said what will become of the place if the restrictions are removed, or how relevant any of this is to anything else. But it's sat for 40+ years while nothing has been done to repair it. 2015 Trib story about it State bill to proceed
2017-03-29 07:40:25
Don't traffic lights defeat the purpose of a roundabout? What about Allegheny Center with its five traffic lights all with "No turn on red" signs in all (permissible) directions?
2017-03-29 22:48:51
What story is this? Link missing.
2017-03-30 07:12:45
Planning Commission this week greenlit the new apartment buildings at Station Square (between Smithfield Bridge and the T bridge), including 340-space underground parking garage:
There also will be several direct connections to the riverfront trail, which will be rebuilt as part of the project. ... During the construction, the existing trail will be closed, with users rerouted through the east side of Station Square.
Not entirely certain how they're going to reroute the trail from the east side of Station Square to the east side of Station Square (or did they mean from the northern border of the east side of Station Square into the middle of the construction zone?).  Anyway, brace yourselves; assuming the rest of the permitting goes forward as anticipated, it's only a couple months away:
[Project developer] High Street Residential hopes to get started this summer on the project, which will take 18 months to complete.
2017-04-05 16:32:32
Maybe they meant that there would be rerouting (details TBD) within the project area, which the article described earlier as "the east side of Station Square".
2017-04-06 03:58:44
Sharpsburg PD will revive its bicycle patrol, last seen approximately 2001:
“It's a flat, small town where you can get places quickly,” [Officer Brett] Carb said. “It's much easier to talk to people and say hello when you don't have to roll the car window down and stop traffic. It gets us face-to-face with the community.” “I think it's a great way to get their faces out there and develop relationships with kids especially,” Councilwoman Brittany Reno said. “This is a very pedestrian-heavy community and I think it's a fabulous idea.”
2017-04-26 10:44:50
About Pittsburghers supposedly being tied for worst drivers: I'm suspicious of the study. Rating driver behavior by smartphone app seems inherently flawed, to me. Most of us would laugh at a proposal to replace the human examiner in a driver road test with a smartphone app, so why should we trust a study of driver safety done with a smartphone app? The app has no way of knowing if you came within inches of hitting a pedestrian, if you clipped the mirror off a parked car, if you ran over somebody's dog, or if you drove too fast for conditions.
2017-04-26 17:25:14
There's an lte in the pg pro mfe. That's a lot of acronyms.  I can't grab it because I'm out of monthly articles but the jist is that people that live there suffer with the traffic getting downtown.   Though dumping them onto the parkway east pre sq hill tunnel will just add to the tunnel backup on the parkway east every morning and evening.  So I bet it'll be a wash, time wise.
2017-04-26 17:32:45
@edronline:  depending on your system/browser combination, you should be able to right-click on the link and 'open in private/incognito window' to evade the PG's monthly-article limit.  Haven't tried in the vast array of Android browsers (and I don't have an iphone at all), but it definitely works in Chrome on Android. Not sure if this is the referenced LTE, but I found "A Mon-Fayette extension would be a relief to many drivers" (
My argument for it is to provide missing and badly needed highway access between Pittsburgh’s eastern and southern suburban communities. We all know that Pittsburgh’s three rivers pose their own notorious difficulties getting around Pittsburgh. Yes, we have plenty of bridges in the area, but few are highway crossings outside of the Downtown area. For example, the east and the north are efficiently connected by the Pennsylvania Turnpike (which crosses the Allegheny). The north, west and south are well connected by I-79 (which crosses the Ohio). But there is no equivalent highway crossing the Mon. Other than the Fort Pitt Bridge, in the middle of Downtown congestion, the next highway crossing upstream isn’t until I-70 way out near Belle Vernon!
It's not so much that people suffer with the traffic downtown but traffic in the east and southeast hills: "some trips between the Pittsburgh area’s eastern and southern communities can take as long as an hour of crawling through urban congestion. A new highway crossing the Mon would relieve a lot of headaches for these drivers."  Though, of course, there's no estimate of how many such drivers there actually are or would be.  (Has anyone actually made a verifiable study of that number...?)
2017-04-26 18:58:51
The ever-so-scientific poll on the Post-Gazette website today is: "Do you consider verbal altercation from a drive toward a cyclist to be harassment?" And the ever so scientific polling #s right now have Yes at 40% and No at 43%. What makes this even more scientific is that right above the "poll" it says "advertisement" and the 2nd question is an opinion question about which health insurer in town is the best.  Which is the real reason why they're asking the question, because some firm is paying the P-G to run the question.
2017-04-29 07:03:45
Re Darlene Harris and PG advertisement/poll, the version of the question I saw was "Were you surprised by the video showing City Councilor Darlene Harris in a verbal altercation with a cyclist?" What a useless way to ask the question! "No, I wasn't surprised, because I heard about it beforehand", or "Yes, very surprised, because I thought she drove a sedan!".
2017-04-29 19:42:19
They are just click bait so they can ask other questions because they're being paid (probably a tiny amount) by some agency to collect information.
2017-04-30 07:15:44
It isn't that she hates cyclists.  She just wants them in bike lanes that have had traffic studies.
2017-04-30 19:36:58
Yeah, she wants us to be safe. That's why she was driving aggressively behind Stu.
2017-04-30 19:56:36
O'Neill wrote a good article. My only quibble is that he assumes that when bikers get behind the wheel they turn into the kind of driver that he's chiding. That's not true in my case. I find myself doing stuff like sticking to the speed limit, not going through just-red lights, and even coming to a stop for pedestrians at cross-walks. At the same time I get the impression that I'm not with the (driver) program: I'll end up with a line of cars behind me. And people around me keep going through lights, even as I'm coming to a stop. (But to be honest, I'm still working on always to come to a complete stop at all signed intersections.) Potter's article about Harris is pretty balanced. But in the end it's clear that she's not mayor material: No vision. No consistent empathy for the people she'd be representing (cf. Stu's experience). She's a district politician and an apparently competent one. Maybe she should stick to what she knows, the North Side.
2017-04-30 20:53:28
@ahlir, I feel similarly--in fact, I'd say that since I started biking more regularly, my occasional driving has improved tremendously--but I get plenty of close or just unnecessary passes from vehicles with bike racks on the back....
2017-05-01 11:49:22
Not unexpected, considering the push back from property/business owners and the impending construction of the Mon Wharf switchback. I still think these bike lanes, if they ever get put in, would go better on Boulevard of the Allies, but that seems unlikely given the role that road has as the Parkway detour. Putting them in First Avenue, a glorified back alley, would essentially say "You're not welcome on our main roads".
2017-05-01 13:31:02
Putting them in First Avenue, a glorified back alley, would essentially say “You’re not welcome on our main roads”.
Unless it's early Sunday morning (in which case I use Ft. Pitt) I typically go down 1st. Down BoA when I start to forget why I don't go down BoA. Having said that, 1st pretty much sucks. You need to stop at every intersection, just like an alley. Worse, the pavement is crap. Could we use the Ft. Pitt money to repave 1st? And spray on some of those nice sharrows. Maybe a block of counter-sense one-way to discourage through car traffic (not that there is much; drivers aren't that stupid.)
2017-05-02 21:06:22
Agree re riding down first, but walking down it is nicer than walking down the Blvd or ft Pitt, that's for sure.
2017-05-02 21:28:32
Pittsburgh makes the top 13 list of safest cities in Bicycling Magazine (KDKA did a piece on it this morning, but I can't find a link for it on the KDKA website)
2017-05-03 10:50:07
If my machine would let me log in, I'd post this: Are yinz done lambasting cyclists yet? Here's the deal: I wear the cameraS -- two, front and rear -- and record my rides. Anyone who endangers me, I call out the license plate, as I did here. If a cyclist endangers me -- rare, but possible -- I can have a face-to-face discussion right there. No need for trouble. But when motorists do it, I go to the police, because my life was endangered. I get CCR numbers, if necessary, and will press charges if warranted. I will not be cowed. Your 300hp engine gives you no more right to the road than my 80-watt legs and 20-pound bike. If you endanger me, your butt and your license are on the line, backed up by video evidence that I was following the rules. If you will not follow the rules, or would purposely harm another fellow road traveler, you have no business operating a vehicle. Have I made myself clear? Just follow the rules, like I'm doing, and we'll get along fine.
2017-05-15 21:20:42
If my machine would let me log in, I’d post this:
This is -- just remove all cookies that have "gazette" in their URL. And/or next time you open PPG URL -- open it in a private session.  
2017-05-16 03:29:08
I've had it hit the paywall when reading articles on the pg website while not logged in and in chrome incognito mode, so they must do some ip tracking too.   That being said, the trolls are going to troll, no matter what amount of intelligence and logic you use.
2017-05-16 07:33:47
Incognito still lets the site set cookies, it just deletes them when you close all the windows, so make sure you do that occasionally.
2017-05-16 07:44:25
Also, if you have the money: consider subscribing. They really need our cash. I know this isn't an option for everybody, but it's $10/4 weeks of digital subscription.
2017-05-16 08:27:51
Benjamin Soltesz wrote an LTE to the PG that began like this "This is a plea to cease publishing letters to the editor pointing out singular acts of idiocy in regard to drivers, bikers and walkers (such as “Unsafe Cycling,” May 15)." The letter was pretty good, but by saying that drivers/cyclists/peds are all equally guilty of unsafe behaviors, he created a false equivalence. Jon set him straight in a comment: "I appreciate the tone of this letter. But there's only one class of road user, i.e., motorists, that regularly puts other people's lives at risk. So, while we all should be more aware of safety, it's motorists who have to do better. And that means enforcement of speed limits (Pennsylvania is the ONLY state that doesn't allow cities to use radar) and rules against cell phone use while driving (which should be strengthened)."
2017-05-16 20:16:29
PGH Business Times: "New York investor buys key produce industry property in the Strip" The Consumers Produce building, on 21st at Railroad, has been sold to Brooklyn-based Midwood.  Consumers will stay on site for at least five more years.
Noting the specialized nature of the building, with its refrigeration units, high ceilings and dock bays, Brad Totten, the managing director of the Pittsburgh office of Avison Young… [said], “They made a big investment to build that…I don’t see somebody buying that at that kind of price [more than $8.2 million] and doing apartments.” What’s happening around the Consumer Fresh Produce site makes it hard not to wonder if the property could be in for future redevelopment.…[in addition to the Cork Factory and Buncher site apartment complexes,] Rugby Realty Company Inc. and Al. Neyer are formulating plans for a new office project on nearly 4 acres at 21st and Smallman. Chuck Hammel, principal of Strip District-based Pitt Ohio Express who helped spearhead the Cork Factory Lofts redevelopment as well as others in the Strip, said he thinks a diversity of of businesses and uses are good for the neighborhood. He added he hopes to see Consumer Fresh Produce to continue to operate there. “You wonder how difficult it will be for them to operate there once the Buncher [Co.] property and the Rugby property are developed,” he said.
(The Consumers building of course stands directly on the Strip District Trail.  If it does get redeveloped, it will imperative to force the trail to be respected and either kept open or rerouted, as Trammel Crow has promised to do with their impending project at Station Square, and not merely close it and ignore it as Buncher has done next door.  This will be even more important if the property on the other side of Railroad is being built up as well....)
2017-05-19 16:18:40
Losing the Consumers building truly would be a tragedy...
2017-05-19 21:55:57
Dan Cessna retired from PENDOT yesterday.   (saw it on the local TV news, but can't seem to find any linkable stories on it)
2017-05-20 10:46:02
He's joining a construction company. Michael Baker.   Cashing in on the private side after working in public service.  Don't blame him. The salary I bet is an order of magnitude bigger. You can't pay government workers crap wages and then also complain about how the smartest people aren't in government.  Ok, I guess you can... (:
2017-05-20 13:50:36
I was just reading that & was about to post it in the Amtrak theead.
2017-05-22 07:41:35
Beaver County Times reported a car-on-bike crash yesterday, but most of it is behind a paywall. barest info in a tweet If anyone can properly retell the story, please do.
2017-05-22 20:36:50
From the Beaver County Times Online:
Cyclist, 17, dies after being hit by SUV in Big Beaver Police are investigating after a teenage bicyclist was killed Monday in a collision with a car along a borough street. According to state police, the 17-year old male cyclist, whose name was not released, was struck by a vehicle as he tried to cross State Route 18 near the intersection with Old Wampum Drive in Big Beaver. He was first taken to Ellwood City Hospital and then flown to UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh, where he later died. Emergency responders were called to the scene at about 4:45 p.m. Monday for a report of a child struck by a car. ... A state police accident reconstruction team was called to the area at about 7 p.m. and began to assist in the investigation. A red sport utility vehicle at the scene had front end damage as well as a shattered front windshield. The driver of that vehicle was also not identified. It’s common to see people walking in that area along Route 18, Hamilton said. Occasionally she notices people riding bikes. "Cars drive very fast on this street," she said.
2017-05-23 02:32:02
and it's scott bricker's birthday today
2017-05-24 09:57:04
An interesting development. I think they must mean "bike trail" and not "bike lane," but this was a surprise.
The Allegheny County Health Department has reached a settlement with a steel company over emissions violations at its Harrison Township processing facility. The department ordered Allegheny Technologies Inc., to pay a $50,000 fine to the county’s Clean Air Fund and allow some of its property to be used as a bike lane along the Allegheny River.
2017-05-25 15:07:38
There's also a segment of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail in Tarentum, just downriver--I haven't been on it, but I saw signs for it on the way to and from the Freeport-Butler Trail--so I'd assumed this was to be part of an extension of that.... I do find it mildly ironic that part of the remedy for air-quality violations is to give more people access to breathe that polluted air.
2017-05-25 15:34:32
Not a word in either article about best practices for cycling in mixed traffic. Not a word in either article about best practices for drivers when encountering a cyclist in traffic. Not one suggestion in the bus related article about how to find transit riding information. Nothing as well about multi-modal commuting or carpools or ride-sharing services.
2017-05-31 06:42:36
Cyclist hit in Derry. Few details in Trib article.
2017-05-31 07:17:43
On the 16-17yo drivers, I'm reminded of this thread from a few years ago.
2017-06-03 17:48:10
Aliquippa: Bike-truck collision on Kennedy Blvd -- KDKA has it oddly reported as 'teen struck truck' ...
It appears the 16-year-old male was traveling down a hill and struck the truck.  The teen was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital with a leg injury, but it is not believed to be life-threatening. No other information has been released at this time. WPXI, WTAE say car hit him:
2017-06-05 16:39:02
Upper St. Clair establishes rail-with-trail ad hoc committee "Township staff members recommended forming the committee to explore and pursue the connection of Upper St. Clair’s trail system at Boyce Mayview Park, along with Fairview Park in South Fayette and the Charter Homes development planned for the site of the former Mayview State Hospital, to the Montour Trail."  
2017-06-07 15:37:49   A 12-year-old girl on a bicycle was injured after a collision with a state police vehicle in Cranberry on Thursday morning. It happened on Bayberry Lane around 9:30 a.m. According to state police, the girl was coming down a hill when she lost her front brake and couldn’t stop. She collided with an unmarked state police vehicle, driven by an on-duty detective. Cranberry Police say the girl was wearing a helmet. She suffered a head injury and some scrapes. She was taken to Children’s Hospital with moderate injuries.  
2017-06-09 12:49:50
Trib: Pittsburgh considers spending $800K to repair 'rickety' Oakland steps: The headline of course doesn't mention that 90% of that will come from PennDOT via a grant that City Council will vote on tomorrow; the City itself will only spend $82K. As much discussed at http://localhost/message-board/topic/joncaire-street-steps-slated-to-be-rebuilt/ and elsewhere, the project is much more than just a replacement of the existing staircase; the steps are to be widened, the lighting replaced, and a runnel added as well.  It is interesting that the cost has apparently doubled in the last four years....
2017-06-12 15:18:11
Still, $800k is cheap.  That will buy about 3 feet on the MFE or maybe 10 feet on the 279 redo.
2017-06-12 20:13:25
Delicious Trip Five years ago, Justin Severino started an annual tradition with his three best friends, dubbed the “Bike Bro Mountain Bike Trip.” This year, the group shredded through Appalachian trails, making their way from Pittsburgh to Asheville, N.C. During the trip, Severino cooks up a legendary and massive selection of meats for his cohorts. The trip is so delicious that it caught the attention of Red Bull, which this year documented the biking, banter and cooking from start to finish. by Teghan Simonton Video:
2017-06-21 01:47:15
My neighbor got busted in the bike lane during a downpour with gridlock W- wash Blvd and was bitching about the same thing after a ticket.   If you substitute "sidewalk" for "bike lane" you have your answer. Maybe negley run needs bollards?
2017-06-21 10:13:34
Jon Webb wrote some good responses to that Neanderthal "let me drive in the bike lane" letter.
2017-06-21 18:58:42
When is the section between Aspinwall and Millvale going to be built? A route ion Blawnox on existing streets is USELESS! THE WHOLE TRAIL IS USELESS FOR ME UNTIL THEY CONNECT ASPINWALL AND MILLVALE!
2017-06-25 16:23:39
@zzwergel, and yelling about it in an internet message board isn't going to change that.
2017-06-25 21:48:28
When will the trail connect from Millvale to Aspinwall?
2017-07-02 20:54:19
Zzwergel, unknown. Sharpsburg has revealed no plans yet. Etna hasn't started their park/trail construction yet.  All is silent with R47 plan in Aspinwall.   My best guess? Within 10 years.
2017-07-02 20:58:26
Regarding extension the Erie To Pittsburgh Trail out of Pittsburgh: Not so silent: Sections targeted for Aspinwall and Sharpsburg are still being negotiated. Since the GAP is more-or-less complete, there is more focus, resources, and activity going to the EPT effort; which should be much easier than the GAP since the value of these trails is more established. No need to make uninformed guesses: Follow them on Facebook: And their web site:
2017-07-03 02:38:32
With the GAP, most of the trail was created by converting old railroad beds into trails (e.g. Cumberland MD to Boston, PA) but the more difficult trail-building was where the trail had to be built piecemeal (e.g. McKeesport to Homestead on coke gas pipeline). On the Erie-to-Pittsburgh route, there's no abandoned railroad line available for conversion to trail, for the Millvale-Sharpsburg-Springdale-Tarentum-Freeport-Ford City section, so that's a difficult section. Friends of the Riverfront, Allegheny County, and Pennsylvania Environmental Council have been negotiating with Norfolk Southern Railroad to acquire land and plan a route, in recent years. It appears the route will involve a mix of share-the-road and separated trail sections, and probably a number of railroad crossings.
2017-07-03 09:55:39
Taking Freeport Rd. and Main St. to Etna would be ok with me. as long as I do not have to cross the river or climb a gigantic hill.
2017-07-03 10:56:23
When Etna trail extension is done there will be a hill- a peds/bike fly over bridge at the ground level train tracks under the 62nd street bridge.  Will probably look like the ones they have on the gap between waterfront and Kennywood
2017-07-03 15:15:59
@ed, Will it be as bad as climbing Parker St. in either direction?
2017-07-04 17:43:19
No. Take a ride out to McKeesport and you'll go over both bridges. They're both pretty easy. Similar to the Oakland-side approaches to the Hot Metal bike bridge, though maybe a bit longer.
2017-07-04 20:34:52
Armed with a clear mission and his bicycle, local grad student Justin Cole recently visited all 19 Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations in one day! Using data from the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center, our Civic Information Services team determined the most efficient route and Justin admirably completed the challenge.
2017-07-06 03:35:38
PG: "Fleeing the Strip's parking issues, company heads to the North Hills"
At a time when lots of companies are moving into the Strip District, one is moving out. After 30 years in the Strip, West Penn Finance Service Center Inc. has traded the grit and the parking hassles for brand new digs in the suburbs of Ross.
Or, as City Paper's Ryan Detour put it, Someone else on Twitter was asking if this was a news story or an advertisement...
2017-07-06 07:12:53
^^ that library route could make for a ready-made bikefest ride, you just need to figure out the routing details.
2017-07-06 08:02:54
Indeed. Not quite an all-neighborhoods ride, but not far from it.
2017-07-06 10:35:57
Took me a minute to remember Union Place*: it's a two-block-long driveway for the Allegheny Center Alliance Church, off East Ohio between Cedar and Allegheny Commons. Http://,+15212 *Actually Union Avenue, but Place would be more accurate...
2017-07-07 15:31:35
@Stu, The Hot Metal ramps are totally doable.
2017-07-07 15:55:45
If you click through to the unicycle article, you will see I already commented on the original article.
2017-07-08 16:20:43
My two cents on the M-F flooding story: Any storm system that cannot handle a two-inch-an-hour deluge is misdesigned. Any location in western PA is likely to receive such a storm a half dozen times a summer. Somebody didn't do their homework.
2017-07-13 06:51:07
Stu, Could you share the source for your statement...."Any location in western PA is likely to receive such a storm a half dozen times a summer."....?
2017-07-13 19:24:38
Quotable? I don't have one. But I do have a rain gauge in my front yard, have had it for years, and have already recorded three such storms in the past month. My point is, these storms are endemic to the region.
2017-07-15 06:56:23
Tangential to last story. Principal claims a head injury.  This is a Radiolab podcast from a few years ago looking at fault in people with injured brains with a new 2017 discussion with a neuroscience researcher/ethicist.
2017-07-18 19:31:33
It's not so much a shuffling -- the Secretary gets a seat on the Commission ex officio; she's been elected chair now as well. (Who knows, maybe the state will even once more consider merging the two--something that was apparently on the table a decade or so ago, although the articles Wikipedia cites are apparently no longer available at their previous addresses... Kinda wonder how many states have two entirely separate agencies managing their major expressways....)
2017-07-18 22:14:30
Separate agencies for toll facilities are ubiquitous in the United States.  I can't think of a single state DOT that operates a fully tolled, limited access highway and states where tolling is prevalent like Texas and Florida often have multiple tolling authorities, unlike PA. States often oversee tolled portions of managed lanes within existing state highways, but they generally do not have the operational capacity to manage revenue generation and shy away from it.
2017-07-19 08:17:40
...and not just for turnpikes. All levels of government set up separate agencies, often called "authorities," to administer a funding stream and accomplish some public goal. Think of Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority or Port Authority Transit. These agencies are given the exclusive right to do something, like deliver water to consumers or provide public transit, and have a dedicated funding stream, like monthly bills for water or transit pass charges. And they can issue bonds based on the funding stream, to pay for major projects. One of the consequences of this is that the contracts the authorities enter into can keep them in existence indefinitely. No state can undo contracts (under the Constitution's contract clause). So if the authority issues contracts based on bonds, and times the expiration of the contracts correctly, it is impossible for the state ever to get rid of the authority. Authorities have some oversight. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has officials appointed by the governor, and the legislature sets priorities for the PTC to accomplish (e.g., the Mon-Fay route is written into state law). That is the point where politics and advocacy can make a difference in setting priorities.
2017-07-19 10:24:55
Just saw this about a meeting last night in Beechview about changes to Broadway Ave.  Anyone have any ideas what happened at the meeting or what the project is they are talking about? @BikePedPGH is Pittsburgh's Bike-Peds coordinator.  Might be good to add her onto any Tweets about issues that aren't getting fixed.  She seems to be quite active on Twitter.  Maybe she likes knotweed removal?
2017-07-20 21:15:36
Two cents added. Interesting how those with little constructive to say do not have actual names.
2017-07-24 08:59:13
"Pittsburgh's Penn Avenue isn't the only major street scheduled for a face-lift in 2019. "The city is planning to reduce four-lane Liberty Avenue from 12th Street to 34th Street in the Strip District to three lanes with a turning lane in the middle, plus make improvements to traffic signals, crosswalks and sidewalks….City officials said that section of street is too narrow for four lanes and unsafe for pedestrians to cross. The city has no plans for a bike lane on the street."
2017-07-24 17:12:03
This proposal for Liberty Avenue needs its own thread.
2017-07-24 17:36:24
Wonder if they get honked at/buzzed by cars.
2017-07-27 08:18:53
Darlene Harris is on the City Paper's Shitlist, but not for yelling "Get in the damned bike lanes!"
2017-08-05 14:03:30
A) "accidents" B) even the icons are car centric.
2017-08-09 09:46:55
This is no surprise for East Cleveland. Imagine Wilkinsburg and then making it a magnitude poorer. When I was a teen I'd ride up Belvior from where it started near my house in Shaker to where it ended in E Cleveland and the streets were bad back then (30 years ago).
2017-08-14 06:50:29
^Awesome!  The fact that the RR has decided not to appeal this decision is even more welcome.
2017-08-16 16:33:58
@Marko82, not only are they not appealing it, but the way the article reads makes it seem like that Etna presented irrefutable evidence that the crossing was public and the RR said, "Whoops.  Yeah, I guess we don't need a hearing and we were wrong." The whole thing is odd to me as the same RR tacitly allows bikers and walkers to walk along the tracks and, thus, use that crossing freely...
2017-08-16 18:21:19
This is off topic, but I didn't want to start a new thread. This seems like the best place for it. I was at the Bloomfield Little Italy days tonight. Some guy came by on what was a regular bicycle with a moped motor on it. Everyone walking by with saying the same thing: is it a bicycle or motorcycle.   Has anyone seen this before? Is this thing even street legal?
2017-08-18 19:55:09
My 2¢ on the tunnel: If they are only filling it in, it seems it should be possible to preserve it with one end still accessible. I'm not sure what you'd do with it, if it's that noisy, but at least storage space, the occasional tour, maybe some sort of special event like a Halloween themed cave adventure. It would be a shame to just lose it.
2017-08-21 08:55:46
Once upon a time Bike-Pgh's office was in that building. They shared space with Friends of the Riverfront.
2017-09-05 22:23:43
But we're #6 in the community ranking.
2017-09-07 02:06:10
Can't find a link but Rich Fitzgerald is riding from Pgh to DC today to highlight the gap and c and o.  This is time #2 for him.
2017-09-13 10:16:32
I saw about 15-25 people and a few vans milling around this morning down by point state park. I guessed this was a big group ride to D.C. and now I know for certain.
2017-09-13 10:25:00
Also the next time you hear or read about someone complaining about bike lanes or our city's or mayor's support of them, make sure you point out that the Amazon HQ2 RFP expressly points out the importance for multimodal transportation and walkability as a selection criteria. As noted by the Harvard Business Review, the Amazon HQ2 RFP emphasizes its interest in promoting walkability and connectivity between densely clustered buildings through “sidewalks, bike lanes, trams, metro, bus, light rail, train, and additional creative options.” In short, if it wasn't for the efforts of the mayor, and previous city administrations, we'd have a smaller chance at this opportunity.  More broadly, it shows the importance of multimodal transportation in the overall competitiveness of a city and region.
2017-09-14 16:10:32
Any speculation on how they will connect that Bethel Park spur of the Montour Trail to South Park? I am looking at the area in google maps and I can't even guess where they would put a trail. Or do they mean that they would make it go on local roads? If so, would there be a bike lane, or just signs and sharrows to indicate that the roads are part of the trail? I know that it hasn't really been designed yet, but they must have some idea what they want to do. That article is so... minimal.
2017-09-15 15:36:43
I don't know what route they're planning for the trail between Irishtown & Logan on the Bethel Park Spur and Corrigan in South Park, but if I were to bike that today, I'd try this route: . You can make a nice, but hilly, 13 mile loop, of mostly trail riding.
2017-09-15 17:52:54
South Park Rd is not the best one to ride. And the current Montour Trail is almost at the park. Iristown/Bethel park branch is a couple of miles away from Montour Trail and is connected to MT. So i would utilize a part of the old WPW ride from South Park -- from trail to Pleasant street, left on Brownsville, left on Woods, right on 1st Alley, go up Stewart all the way to McConkey, right and go downhil -- at the traffic light you are at Corrigan.
2017-09-16 00:27:33
The former Montour Railroad continued north from where the trail's current Bethel spur ends now, then turned northeast (roughly as Industrial Blvd does now), and eventually crossed the T tracks somewhere around the current Lytle stop, heading northeast. So even if that corridor had room for a bike trail, it doesn't get all that close to Corrigan Drive. Since the grant was from Active Allegheny, I looked at their 2010 transport plan (big PDF). It proposes "bicycle routes" (as opposed to bicycle trails) from Logan at Irishtown, going north along Logan Road to South Hills Village, and east on Logan to the Logan Road T station, then south following Library Road to the Montour Trail mainline at Library. That doesn't sound much like what they're proposing here either. The best option I can come up with, if we're talking about more than just putting up "Bike Route" signs, would be to route via Industrial Blvd to South Park Road and on to Corrigan Drive via residential streets and Twin Hills Road, widening and adding some kind of bike infrastructure on the 0.4 mile section of South Park Road involved, and building a bike path next to Twin Hills Road within the park. I hope they can come up with something better though.
2017-09-16 05:23:34
Indirectly related.  Sites pgh is looking to sell Amazon on. Amazon wants a strong multimodal transit location.  So, big if, if pgh gets it, hopefully biking will be improved in the area.
2017-09-19 07:45:33 Envision downtown life on Liberty project is starting soon. This is an 18 month test project which will add a dedicated bus Lane to the 900 block of Liberty along with other changes.
2017-09-20 17:09:23
Does anybody know about any Dirty Dozen orientation/ training rides planned this year? I believe StefB used to run them, and she's moved. thanks! VB  
2017-09-23 17:15:58
I was told yesterday to expect to hear something in the next day or two. I think they're trying to get it organized.
2017-09-23 18:55:25
The "Smart Spines" project is the name given to the signalization and communications upgrade planned on five corridors as part of the Smart Cities application. The project, along with BRT, was added to the TIP in order to draw down funding received for each.  A portion of the Smart Spines money is being used to cobble together the funding package for BRT since Fifth & Forbes is central to both.
2017-09-26 07:52:55
I'm pretty sure this closed the trail near the derailment, I believe there is a detour. Not sure how long the detour will last... From: SEP 27 2017 | Train cars carrying coal derail in McKeesport (mm132) Thank you McKeesport Trail Commision for the quick detour route: Alert -- the trail is temporarily detoured in McKeesport, Pa. so railroad and emergency vehicles can address a train derailment. Please take Lysle Boulevard from Water Street to Coursin Street (at the Eat n Park restaurant), then ride across Coursin Street to pick up the trail at Locust Street. Watch for traffic on this on-road detour. Thank you, McKeesport Trail Commission, for the alert.
2017-09-28 09:57:05
4th Ave and Market st is right at Police and VFD. So it's has to  be closed. Just take a Lysle (after crossing RR tracks just continue straight forward one block and then turn right). You can stay on a sidewalk or take a lane for one or two blocks.
2017-09-28 13:11:49
It's very sad that this happened, and I feel terrible for the family and friends, but this is seriously irresponsible reporting. Teen driver, speeding, without a seatbelt, dies in a fatal crash after striking a deer carcass and then a telephone pole. His younger brother goes to the hospital with serious injuries. 1 of the 17  paragraphs mentions speed. 1 of the 17 paragraphs mentions the lack of seat belt. 12 of the 17 paragraphs discuss the fact that the teen hit a deer carcass as a cause of the crash and call out the dangers of deer.  
2017-10-04 17:13:34
Not to pile on the dead, but the car was scary old. Identified as a Chevy Nova. Those were last made in the 80s. I know because we had one, brown, with vinyl seats!  No airbags. No antilock brakes. Not a good idea for anyone, much less a new driver.   My guess is that the one he restored was the 60s through the late 70s one. The 80s one was jointly built with Toyota and became the Geo Prizm, so basically a Toyota Corolla. Those were never cool.  Ain't no one restoring a mid 80s Corolla. Again, mvc deaths are always a tragedy and there are no do overs. Just a red flag I picked out while reading the story.
2017-10-04 17:31:34
And my first question, that nobody else ever asks, what was he doing in a car in the first place? He was headed to school. One would assume that for every day from kindergarten to the previous day, a school bus was available.
2017-10-05 09:09:33
I think that question ventures into pure conjecture territory. I know that when I was in high school, I had extra-curricular activities after school on 90% of my days, and there was no bus available after those wrapped up. Or I needed a car to get to where my extra-curricular activities were located (hockey rink, baseball field, etc.).
2017-10-05 10:01:20
It is also a "thing" probably pretty much at any high school in the US (except for a large city) that when you're 16+, have a license, and access to a car, you drive to school instead of taking the school bus.  Every high school in the Pgh area (except for PPS) has parking for students.  In a lot of them you need to say that you need to drive to school because you have work or child care duties after school, but that's just a formality.  You say that, you pay the token amount to park all year, and you get a parking pass. Also, as DS mentioned above, a lot of after school activities have crazy schedules that aren't compatible with the after school activity bus, if the school even has that available.  Parents have other kids to take care of and jobs with strange hours, and a lot of parents feel it is a real relief when kids can drive themselves to and from these activities instead of needing to shuttle them around. My kids are in 9th grade and we have an insane after school and evening driving schedule for them to do soccer, band, clubs, fencing, music lessons, etc. etc.  I myself will be glad when my kids can take themselves to some of these activities.  
2017-10-05 10:21:26
someone just posted on a facebook group a picture of stu's friend, Darlene Harris, driving her SUV through the paths of West Park, because obviously taking the roads takes too much time, especially with those asshats that don't STAY IN THE BIKE LANE!
2017-10-05 13:44:46
@Rusty, Another reason not to have voted for her. She should stop smoking and ride her fat rump around with a bike for a change.
2017-10-06 21:32:53
I was looking for a cost for the Westmoreland Heritage Trail, also about a six-mile project. I'm pretty sure it was a smidge less than $100 million.
2017-10-07 00:50:06
This suggests under $1 million to buy 9.2 miles of land (including the next section to be built) plus a few million more for design and construction.  This says a construction bid of $1.4 million for the 5.6 mile stretch they just finished was under budget, so they applied the rest toward the next section, but I don't know if that was the only construction company involved in building the trail.
2017-10-07 10:13:05
Darlene Harris said,   "I have dedicated my life to public service and don’t plan on stopping any time soon. "   Maybe a few votes for other candidates can end that public "service."
2017-10-13 17:24:04
Did Darlene Harris's "Stay in the damned bike lanes!" score points against her in the mayor's race? Also, is there any chance she is related to Bud Harris?
2017-10-13 17:29:51
She came in third of three candidates. I’m trying to recall my exact words when I was on that TV broadcast, but the gist of it was, her demeanor that day toward that cyclist (me) did not reflect the respect she should be showing her fellow citizens as a city leader. That could not have helped her standing, a week before the election.
2017-10-14 17:47:18 The Uber's "fake city" is going to be taken back by ALMONO after their 8-year lease is up, according to the speaker from Green Building Alliance during the ALMONO bike tour on July 19th this year. It would be cool if it could be turn into a premier bike racing course better than the Washington Blvd Oval/Bud Harris Cycling Track. But it's unlikely that ALMONO would agree to this. From I've heard, ALMONO is still having difficulties attract business to come, so they are not likely to accept non-profit use of their land at this scale. However, if some races are held in "Keirin-style" with gambling involved, perhaps it would generate enough money and interests for long-term use of the site. REF: Keirin races:
2017-10-19 11:39:17
test message please disregard
2017-10-19 17:56:59
It isn't almono anymore.  It is Hazelwood Green
2017-10-19 18:50:10
It would be cool if it could be turn into a premier bike racing course better than the Washington Blvd Oval/Bud Harris Cycling Track.
Crits -- probably yes. Keirin -- no.    
2017-10-19 20:51:28
i think we all know we needed him.
2017-11-03 11:23:30
7th St bridge to reopen one sidewalk and at least one lane of traffic by Friday. Talked to a construction worker today. Bids go out on 9th St bridge after 7th is done to start in June.
2017-11-11 10:38:58
I think Port Authority sometimes officially switches back to an original route at a quarterly pick, even if the road won't be open just yet. I suppose it's better to have a 2 week detour at the start of the quarter, rather than wait 2.5 months to switch back (or have a 2.5 month detour). (For one thing, TrueTime won't show a bus while it's on a detour.)
2017-11-11 15:26:40
I do not know why PennDOT could not have opened the 7th St Bridge to pedestrian traffic during Light-Up night. All the equipment was gone, all they needed to do on Saturday was remove the fences.
2017-11-19 12:48:43
Didn't Comcast have a big pavilion set up on the 7th Street bridge on Light Up Night? I didn't try to enter it to see how much of the bridge it was occupying, so maybe it was just on the part of the bridge nearest to downtown, with a fence somewhere behind it.
2017-11-19 18:42:54
@Ed, Bigelow Blvd. between Downtown and Craig St. should come first. People have been KILLED because of speeding on this stretch of road.
2017-11-19 20:08:03
Comcast did indeed have a big setup at the entrance to the bridge. It was fenced off behind it, including the sidewalks.
2017-11-20 19:24:17
Regarding the new Grant Street crosswalk, up until a few months ago, there used to be a "Do Not Enter" sign and a "Wrong Way" sign, each on a single post on the right side of the bike bridge connector going toward the Smithfield St. Bridge, placed about a foot away from the side wall of the bikeway. (It still appears this way on Google streetview.) Some time recently, that was replaced by two giant "Do Not Enter" signs These new ones each have two posts holding them up, so they now block 3 or 4 feet of the right side of the bikeway, which is maybe 10 feet wide. So Riverlife may be trying to improve this, but it is way worse than it was just a few months ago. It is a tight squeeze right where bikes and pedestrians bunch up at the crosswalk.
2017-11-21 10:47:14
Yeah, those new larger do not enter signs suck (at least for pathway users).
2017-11-21 10:54:54
311 the signs
2017-11-21 12:50:35
this one didn't make it: Allegheny County has the most car crashes of any county in Pennsylvania Yet our local PennDOT engineer, Todd Kravits throws his hands up and says that, well, it ain't our fault and there's nothing we can do about it, because “recent studies have shown that upwards of 90 percent of all crashes are taking place today because of behavioral issues,” he said. “Whether it’s texting while driving, driving under the influence, distracted driving.”  
2017-12-06 19:20:19
So, without texting and driving we'd only have 10 percent of the current number of crashes?  And somehow distracted driving effects Allegheny more than other counties?  Sounds like #fakenews.
2017-12-06 21:03:44
[Note: This sad excuse for a message board can't handle tables, so see here for a properly formatted version.] The City Paper article suggests the absolute number of crashes should track people per square mile, and is surprised that we have the most crashes but not the highest population density. That's silly. By that logic, a one-block county with everyone packed into massive apartment buildings should have huge numbers of crashes, while a vast county with nothing in it but a busy interstate and one house should have virtually none. In reality, we should expect crashes to rise with both the size of a county and its population. Add people to a county and naturally you'd expect more crashes. But imagine you hold the population constant and spread them out over a bigger county. That typically means more roads and more driving. (Of course, this ignores lots of stuff. Counting the number of miles of road in a county might be a better predictor of absolute crash numbers than its area, but the article focuses on square miles, not road mileage, so let's stick with that.) It's perfectly plausible that Allegheny would have the highest absolute number of crashes, regardless of how our road design compares to other counties. After all, we have the second-highest population in the state, but the one county with more people (Philadelphia county has 25% more) is much smaller (it's 19% of our size). I found 2014 crash stats by county here. Here are the top counties for crashes, in order, from page 59 [table omitted, see link above] Now, let's approximate the expected number of crashes. If you take each county's population and multiply it by its area^0.3, to account for population being a more significant factor than area in crashes, you get this top ten list: [table omitted, see link above] Notice that the top few entries are identical. I just guessed at the 0.3 figure, but already it's a pretty close approximation of the actual relative number of crashes.
2017-12-07 13:25:02
Thanks to your letters the Waterworks is reevaluating their stance on the peds ADA walkway to the waterfront
2017-12-07 18:14:54
Steven: Interesting. I agree that the failure to normalize by population in the original report is shabby. Various reporters are exhibiting an embarrassing ignorance of statistics and scientific thinking, here. They should normalize by population when comparing counties, e.g. instead of directly comparing crash count in big county A(llegheny) with that of small county B(erks), say, they should compare countA/popA against countB/popB, or some other justifiable normalization. Comparing counts of counties with widely varying populations is scientifically bogus! (What, you mean New York state had 1100 car deaths last year but Rhode Island had only 45!? Wow, How did Rhode Island get to be 24 times safer than NY?) (Throwing in the area^.3 factor seems to work ok, but I find it harder to justify). They should also be normalizing in other ways. In the map, they're ranking intersection dangerousness using raw crash counts, without normalizing by traffic volume - the same kind of mistake. I made this comment in another thread: http://localhost/message-board/topic/bikepedestrian-unfriendly-intersections/#post-348649. They found (surprise!) that the busiest intersections tend to have the most crashes. Related: a recent Post-Gazette series on the opioid crisis fingers Carrick, saying misleadingly "drugs kill more people here than in any other place in the city" but the reason it came out #1 on their list is that they were ranking by drug-case count, not by count/population, and Carrick is one of the more populous neighborhoods. Same dumb mistake! (When you normalize by population, you find there are actually six neighborhoods with a worse drug overdose rate (=count/population), downtown being one of them!)  
2017-12-08 00:09:11
I further wish we would stop using deaths as a metric. Instead, I would rather we measure the number of crashes serious enough to result in at least one person to spend a night in a hospital.
2017-12-08 13:27:57
highland park bridge/route 28 area improvements video and pdf   It looks they may get rid of the death ramp -- the ramp you need to cross over while using the HPB sidewalk to get to the spiral section to get down to freeport.  i.e, the ramp which has a stopsign that no one stops at and that no one can see you trying to get through that narrow concrete opening in the barrier.
2017-12-12 20:10:07
If only they would leave that ramp there for bikes and pedestrians to more easily access the bridge sidewalk. But that will be awesome if they put stoplights at the on/off ramps on the two sides of the bridge at Freeport Road. When riding along Freeport Road, that is one of the scarier spots on the entire length of it. When riding eastbound you will be cruising through pleasant downtown Sharpsburg, then at the end of town you are all of a sudden in this highway-ramp speeding-vehicle entry-and-exit nightmare for a minute or two, then into pleasant downtown Aspinwall shortly afterward.
2017-12-12 23:26:59
By the way, this layout showing the stoplights and the on-ramp from Sharpsburg to the bridge that they are apparently going to close is shown in the last 20 seconds or so of the youtube video.
2017-12-12 23:28:55
Rumor is that the r47 development wants that ramp so I bet they will just close it off for now and figure out what to do with it later.
2017-12-13 05:43:09
I saw that.  Where exactly would this be?  They'd have to tear down an industrial building?
2017-12-14 21:31:37
The linked article has a map. It runs from Kroll Drive west to the river. I'm not sure if that's the entire project or just the URA portion.
2017-12-15 08:03:13
Got it. Thanks. That's a triangle of empty land. Sometimes the marina nextto it parks their boats on the side. As long as they don't (bleep) with the trail I'll be happy. Wonder if the fenced off dead building between the trail and the river will be part of this parcel.
2017-12-15 13:04:06
The Northside Bike/Ped Committee has been meeting with the URA and prospective developer since the summer of 2015 when it became known this parcel was planned for redevelopment. Along the way the developer has continually expressed that they see the trail as a major asset and would plan, if anything, to enhance trail quality and access. Not much more to say until formal plans are produced, but it's a good start.
2017-12-15 14:11:52
That Trib article on the East Ohio Street hotel is the poster child for the sad state of local journalism. Had Bob Bauder ever actually been on East Ohio Street, he'd have seen that bike lanes and sidewalks already exist. Imagine that! Then he might've been able to push the developer to answer how, if at all, they plan to improve those or else drop them from his piece entirely. Instead of doing actual journalism, the Tribs plugs existing bike lanes - which no one complains about - into the lede for the entire article because they surely understand by now that contrived controversy is the path to cheap clicks.
2017-12-18 15:19:17
Exactly!   The trib also has zero fact checking and I think most of the articles are written from info gathered from behind a desk instead of at the scene.
2017-12-18 17:55:27
I sent an email to the managing editor of the Post-Gazette asking them to stop using the word "accident" in terms of more scientifically correct terminology. I've hounded many Trib reporters and I've noticed that over the last few months the Trib rarely if ever uses the word 'accident" anymore. (i'm not saying my bugging them was the reason, but I welcomed the change no matter what). anyway, this is the email I received back: thanks for sharing that with me. i will definitely pass it on to the editors and keep it mind myself. just so you know, traditionally, journalists writing about a traffic incident sometimes hesitate to use a word like "crash" for fear that it is an overstatement. in this instance, it was not an overstatement. i used the word "accident" in an effort to avoid repeating the word crash. however, collision would have worked. it's a very interesting and reasonable point you're making. again, thank you for taking the time.
2017-12-28 09:14:07
Told by someone else yesterday at the PG that their dictionary and style guide both agree with using "accident" so they're going to keep using it.    
2017-12-29 07:22:21
Yes.  The tone of the email was more of willful ignorance.
2017-12-29 08:27:52