Communities without bike barking
I wonder why there are still so many places in which someone cannot park their bike. Bike racks have been around for at least 20 years so they could have installed then in the mid 1990s at the latest.
- Fox Chapel Plaza was just renovated yet the nearest bike parking facility in next to Walmart in the Waterworks.
- Aspinwall only has two (One incorrectly installed) Bike racks. None on Brilliant Ave., or Freeport Rd.
- Is the nearest bike parking to South Hills Village at the T Station?
- The only place in Sharpsburg is by the library.
- Is there anywhere to park your bike in Monroeville at all?
- Pittsburgh Mills should seriously install some bike corrals and re-instate the 5 Natrona bus.
- I haven’t seen any in Blawnox, Harmarville, or Carrick yet either.
Why is this??
I will speak to the bus issue. That’s up to the Port Authority of Allegheny County, not Aspinwall or any other locality.
As to where to site bike racks, those are decisions made at the level of private business owners. If you want to help, start taking specific notes, make a map, and build a case for each one. The little Three Rivers type is fairly inexpensive, a three-digit number, but someone has to front the money. There may be some paperwork or administrative hurdles as well.
there are at least 3 bike racks now at the Waterfront, which are 3 more than a year ago after I complained to the management company. The issue is that even with the bike racks ,the Waterfront is still terribly biker unfriendly that people would rather drive. I was surprised when walking through yesterday afternoon I saw a bike locked up next to the Giant Eagle rack.
Aspinwall has a plan to install bike racks, or at least it is on their radar. They are trying to increase flow to the business districts, but I think the priority right now is revitalizing the alley that runs between Commercial and Brilliant Aves. They have a grant to change the pavers there to make it catch runoff, and I think as part of that they’re going to beautify the alley. If you have questions, I find that the council people are very helpful, especially if you email Tim, Mark, or Tripp. Mark is leaving council at the end of the year, and there may be a shift of council to people who are opposed to R47 as it currently stands, but I don’t see this changing Aspinwall’s stance on improving the business districts.
The biggest lesson is that life is slow going, often very frustrating, and full of incremental changes most of the time. There are a lot of things that “should” be done the “right” way, but aren’t, and that’s just the way it is. Trying to stay mindful in these situations helps a lot while still pushing for change.
“Why is this??”
Because it’s easy to complain about things on the internet, but very few take the time-consuming step of writing letters to the businesses, property managers and/or landowners articulating why the racks would be good for business, good for the general welfare of the community, and so on. But as noted above, with some effort you can make things happen. Respectfully, if you really care, you should allocate some of your free time to a letter campaign advocating for such changes.
Having met @zzwergel a few times, I can attest that he’s well meaning, involved, and has both the interest to improve things and some time to do it. The rest of us should guide him on the best way to about getting that done. I gave a couple of very specific suggestions for him to follow up on, and I think he’s bright enough to take the hint. He’s also pretty good with a video camera.
In short, he as much needs our help as we need his. He may not always come across well on the message board, but he’s doing a lot of the right things; he just needs to know the right way to do it.
FYI, I just wrote the Waterfront management about bike racks and got this reply, right away:
“We are very much aware of the increase in bikers visiting The Waterfront and Town Center. We love the trail and the bicyclists. We do in fact have 19 bike racks just in Town Center, soon to be 20. I’ve attached two photos for your reference. We have 15 racks set up near the grassy area on the back side of Starbucks and just last year we added a bike pump and water bottle filling station in front of those bike racks. When you come across the pedestrian bridge from the trail, into town center keep following the sidewalk into the circle and they will be on your right hand side. You will find two more located on the front side of Starbucks, 1 near the entrance to Barnes and Noble and one in the courtyard near primate Bros. (We will be adding a second one to this area next week.) If you find yourself further down the Waterfront property, there are at least half a dozen sprinkled throughout the other end of the shopping area, as well.”
(They still need racks at the theater, of course; I know about the one sad solitary rack in the back.)
Also, I forgot to mention the Perrysville business district in Ross along Perry Hwy. between Three Degree Rd. and Thompson Dr. The Perry Hwy. and Center Ave. business districts in West View. Perrysville Ave. in Observatory Hill, North Ave., and Federal St. in Central Northside. Lincoln Ave in Belleview, California Ave. in Avalon. (Unless some were installed in Belleview and Avalon since August, 2016.) Castle Shannon, Library, Dormont, Beechview, Brentwood, Overbrook (With Bike path, green wave timed to 30 MPH from Boggs Ave. to Library Rd./Glenbury St. which reverses at 1:00 PM, and a parallel shared use path south of that fustercluck on Rt. 51), Cranberry (Also needs a bus), and McKnight Rd (With traffic calming).
Dormont and Belleview have plenty of parking meters to hook a U lock onto as well. I used to equate parking meters and kiosks with blight because of them making people want to patronize business with free parking. I now think having to pay to park a car is a good thing. If they can only reduce the size of the massive parking lots in various places, install parking meters in the remaining spaces, and install bike corrals. That will encourage people to walk or bike to their destination so they do not have to keep dropping quarters into a parking meter.
I am on the Walk//Bike Ross committee, which is helping identify places in Ross Twp which can use some bike infrastructure. Similarly, Walk Bike Shaler and Walk Ride North Side are doing likewise for their respective areas.
This stuff happens slowly, and to some extent it’s a chicken-and-egg argument: Nobody bikes there because there’s noplace to lock up, but nobody’s making a need known that racks would be useful so it must not be much of a problem. See what I mean?
Yes, I think the 8 Perrysville bus should actually go to Perrysville as well. Also, installing parking meters along Perry Hwy. between the northern Center Ave. intersection and Highland Ave. as well as between Schars Ln. and Jackson St. Install some more parking in the business districts along Center Ave. as well as in Ross and West View municipal parking lots. Installation of the three rivers bike racks along the sidewalk on Perry Hwy. and in clusters in the Center Ave. median.
I used to absolutely hate parking meters even though I never drove a car and don’t care to. Since I started riding a bike, I do not think they are a bad idea as long as bike parking remains unrestricted. The parking meters could be used to fund new bike infrastructure in these and other municipalities.
boros don’t make a ton off of the parking meters. I think it is usually just enough to pay for someone to collect the money with maybe a bit extra on top for the municipal budget.
The point of parking meters in a smaller boro isn’t to get rich but rather to find a price low enough that people still come to the CBD but at the same time high enough that people don’t take advantage of the situation and have the same people monopolize the parking so that shoppers can get to the CBD.
An economist would tell you that the best method would be to have flexible pricing and to change as conditions warrant. I think I read that for the Pgh meter to pay stations re-do they were shooting for 80% occupancy. So flexible pricing based on occupancy would be quite useful, but would require a “smart” system that no one really has yet.
Pittsburgh does have different rates for different CBDs, and I have seen some signs for “high price zone” or something equivalent around shenley park and CMU in the tastier spots.
I think that parking meters would be a good way to encourage active transport in these areas. If you walk or bike, you do not have to par the parking meter to park your car.
There’s no encouraging anything there. I’ve lived there 25 years. You’re not making major changes in the Perry Hwy corridor. Except maybe speed enforcement.
What kind of changes other than speed enforcement and parking meters will encourage cycling along Perry Hwy? Sharrows? Bike lanes?
since municipal police not allowed to use radar, they could paint lines across the road an use a stopwatch to time speed. It’s called VASCAR.
Vascar is useless. That’s why no one uses it anymore. Or almost no one. It is very labor intensive. Usually requires at least 2 police to use. I bet I could get out of a vascar ticket by arguing that the police weren’t precise with pushing the button when the car hit the stripes. (Average human reaction time to a visual stimulus is 0.25 seconds, so you could argue that the police officer was at least a half second off in hitting the button which would significantly change the speed calculated)
Speed control won’t happen until PA allows radar or laser for local departments,and even then it is only speed control when it is being enforced.
Real speed control comes from change in road design which isn’t going to happen either.
It’s also 50-year-old technology. I remember reading about it in a mid-1960s Popular Mechanics magazine. This is one of those things that is so entrenched in the culture of police and politics that nobody remembers why they’re opposing it, but since everyone before them did, they have to, too.
(See also: Wabash Tunnel and bicycles.)
Speed monitoring equipment has gotten so much better, the average Joe can install an iPad app for a couple of dollars and do a half-decent job of monitoring speed, clearly not good enough to hold up in court, but we’re a half century downstream of what the law was written about. We are long past time to update that law.
As to Perry Hwy, it has so many different personalities in just the three miles between Cumberland Rd and West View, you cannot make generalities. Four different speed limits, four different lane configurations, three different municipalities, lanes varying from 10 to 14 feet, shoulders varying from 8 feet to zero, some on-street parking some not. And just as many oddities in the couple miles between there and the city line.
So, Pennsylvania is the ONLY state that doesn’t let local law enforcement use radar to enforce speed laws. The reasons for this are, first, there are people who are as passionate about driving their cars as we are about riding bikes, and they lobby against laws to change this; and, second, it’s argued that municipalities would set up speed traps to fund their town by tickets.
Anyway, there’s are bills (SB251, SB279 and HB43. The landlinemag site explains the different bills) in the state legislature to change this. It’s moving forward. I hope we’re all lobbying our legislator to support it.
Speaking of Perry Hwy/Perrysville Ave., I got video of me successfully passing a bus twice. Am I lucky I had no further encounters with this bus?
@Red…. THANK YOU!!!!!! I’ve been resisting the urge to to “Woof” at this thread since it posted ?
@zzwergel, if you had to pass the same bus twice, then you were not successful. After passing it the first time, the bus caught up with you and passed you. If you had simply stayed behind the bus, you would have gotten to your destination in about the same time, without risking a close pass from a very large vehicle.
In most cases I prefer to remain behind a bus (or cars) when there is not a bike lane. I try to queue up with cars at stop signs instead of passing on the right (unless I’m turning right). This keeps me in the traffic flow and avoids a lot of the leapfrog games which mean more cars passing more times. I know drivers get frustrated having to pass me multiple times.
However, bike lanes + busses are a scenario where I will pass a bus on the right, but only when I’m pretty sure they are not trying to stop to load / unload during the time I’m passing them, I don’t want to surprise passengers boarding or departing and I don’t want to get pinched by the bus. If I’m not sure, I’ll just hover behind the bus in the bike lane and wait for a time when it appears to be safe (like when the bus gets caught up in stop / go traffic).
However, I would have probably passed the bus in this scenario as well since they were boarding and there was lots of room to pass. The way you say it though, you make it seem as if it’s a bad thing that the bus passes you later. This is a very wide stretch of road, and I don’t see this a place where it should be very concerning to be passed by the same vehicle twice. Was there another issue at play? Did the bus pass you too closely?
No, that was it. I just did not want to keep having to stopping behind a bus and loose my momentum.
I’ve often passed buses twice, but that’s because we were on Fifth Avenue, and I passed them once in Oakland — usually at or before the hospital — they passed me on the hill between Birmingham Bridge and Uptown, and I passed them again somewhere before the Arena. More often, though, when I pass a bus they stay passed.
Not, however, because I’m particularly fast, but because Fifth Ave buses are particularly slow. I don’t, as a rule, pass buses in other places, and I especially don’t pass buses where there isn’t (at least) a second lane to do it in. I’d also, as a general rule, prefer to have any given driver, especially one whose vehicle outweighs me by a factor of 200 or so, to be in front of me rather than behind.
You will lose momentum. You will get stuck behind other vehicles. You are in traffic — you are traffic — deal with it. If keeping your momentum is such a problem for you, go ride on the track where you don’t have to worry about other traffic and they don’t have to worry about you.
[I am once again wondering what this is doing in this particular thread, but I suppose that ship has sailed…]
The title is supposed to be Communities Without Bike Parking. Not Barking! Big typo!
What’s the deal with this?
One of the two racks in the Aspinwall business District. It is installed improperly.
I’m not sure what you see wrong with that. Possibly it could be out from the wall a couple more inches so you can get another bike between it and the wall, total three? Possibly the screws are not coated in an epoxy resin that thwarts being able to unscrew the rack and steal the bikes anyway?
I frankly don’t see an obvious problem.
If they had installed the rack rotated 90 degrees, then a bike positioned parallel to the street would be supported by the rack in two places, not one, making it less likely to flop over if nudged. (There’s no space to park a bike perpendicular to the street.)
OK, I’ll buy that.
Two questions for @erok, then, if he’s listening. One, does @bikepgh have a “best practices document” for how and where to install simple staple bike racks, or any other kind of bike rack, so that mistakes like this are not repeated?
And two, per ZZ’s question, can the thread name be corrected?
ETA: Myself, I would park three bikes to this, all parallel to the wall and the street. One between wall and rack, one in the rack, one on streetside of the rack. That’s why I didn’t see a problem.
Bike Pgh has a page on buying bike racks, but it doesn’t directly address the orientation or minimum setback issue.
It provides links to three other sources. One (the city’s) wouldn’t load for me; looks like the city’s website is down right now. One (“Association of Pedestrian and Bicycling Professional’s bike rack design guidelines”) gets a 404 error. Dero’s guide opens OK, and shows a similar rack, installed with the same orientation as the photo, and shows a minimum of 24″ required between rack and wall.
So Bike Pgh eventually links to the info the Aspinwall installer should have used, and they even offer to consult on rack installation. I suppose they may even have done that here, but the info just didn’t get to the guy who actually did the installation.
Perhaps their page should include an “Installing Bike Racks” section with basic diagrams showing minimum distances for both possible orientations, for those recommended rack types that shouldn’t be mounted right against a wall. And their Purchasing section might be enhanced with one or two rack type photos marked “Avoid These Types”, with a reason why.
The wave-style racks on the Carson street side of Aldi’s in South Side are also installed too close to the building to be useful. I know I’ve encountered others, but that’s all i can think of right now.
“What’s the deal with this?”
Again, if you really want to make a difference, and aren’t just posting to seek attention or to amuse yourself, you should write a letter to that business, and to any others you find in your travels, articulating why changes to their bike parking situation should be made. As other commenters have demonstrated, you can get a positive response and make a difference if you direct your energy away from internet playtime and focus it on asking the decision-makers to make the change you want to see.
Jake, I’d like to point out that zzwergel has, indeed, submitted requests (he mentions a PennDOT request on another page).
Also, depending on the target and timing it can be easy, or not, to get action. I just experienced an annoying interaction with PennDOT. I’d submitted a couple of requests for clearing debris from road shoulder; but were, basically, rejected, with different explanations (in one case a road crew went out, found an abandoned garage that was filled with trash, and decided that was what I was complaining about, and not their responsibility, ignoring the shoulder on either side). OTOH the Waterfront was pretty nice about bike racks. OTOOH, Loew’s Waterfront installed one little bike rack at the back of the theater, completely inadequate.
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