Eliza Furnace Trailhead -3Hr Parking Limit

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Ahlir
Participant
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It is a stupid idea. Kind of like, say, telling motorists to run around the car at stop signs, to make sure they stop.

Well, I dunno; kinda makes sense to me. And there’s health benefits.
Though I agree that making bikers “walk” instead of making the necessary improvements is not much of a solution.


The Iguana
Participant
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I wouldn’t characterize it as stupid. And most cars stop at stop signs, so there is no need to require drivers to ‘run around the car.’ As we know many bicyclists don’t stop at stop signs that cross roads…


jonawebb
Participant
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The Iguana
Participant
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I find that most places where there is a stop sign, it is safe for bicyclists to treat it as a yield …as is the law in Idaho.
http://www.bicyclelaw.com/articles/a.cfm/legally-speaking-stop-as-yield1

Though while biking we have ‘all the rights of the road’…same as cars…there are exceptions..(stay to the right appropriately, etc.). And I can become a pedestrian very easily by dismounting…and have all the rights/responsibilities of a pedestrian. And given our (usually) slower (than cars) speed, I think yielding at stops is safe and appropriate and allows the biker to keep momentum and needless unclipping (for those with clipless pedals).

My $.03


jonawebb
Participant
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OK, I withdraw the troll comment. I just didn’t want to get into a discussion whether motorists stop at stop signs or not. Please, no…


byogman
Member
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Back to the last (slightly less afield) topic. I think it’s worth doing an incremental improvement here to acknowledge the stupidity of bidirectional traffic through the chute and that nobody walks their bike. Get rid of the walk your bikes sign. Mirrors as I said, but also it’s important to attempt to bring as much of the traffic winding clockwise up to the EFT out of the chute.

Right now, and I think (unless Erok is alluding to something) that means into the road. At the very least, some sharrows for starters.

I think this is a great place for a very prominently placed sign about cyclists sharing the road and reduced speed limit and some speed humps (with cut-outs for cyclists) to go with.

Taken together, I think you get about 15% of the benefit of doing this thing right, for probably about 2% of the cost. So, mixed feelings about it in the sense that it is not even close to the same as doing this right and would prompt grousing “hey, we’ve given you annoying cyclists something, will you please shut up now?”, but it strikes me as more realistic than the things we’d really wish for.


The Iguana
Participant
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There is good reason that the chute is ‘walk your bicycle’…it is used by pedestrians and is ‘stupid[ly] bidirectional’…and the signs indicate bicycles are walked…so pedestrians expect that…Much as I expect cars to obey signs, speed limits, and obey the four foot rule, etc…and why I whine when they don’t….just as pedestrians whine when we don’t…Yes, I’m naïve.


rgrasmus
Member
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Don’t you take up more width of the narrow chute/sidewalk if you walk your bike? I never dismount there but when I do come across pedestrians/people waiting for the bus I just slow down or skateboard kick around them.


The Iguana
Participant
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rgr, I do the same. The chute is so thin that it’s not so much the width, but the speed one is going that limits reaction time. I go around those bends slowly, shouting, ringing my bell, flashing my light, praying to.., and have had a few narrow escapes…but one really should walk there…


byogman
Member
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And so you actually do the same (sane) thing as everyone else. Bravo! Can we move onto the process of how we create less conflict there?


jonawebb
Participant
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@byogman, yes, please.
I like the idea of mounting these at the corners of the chute. They are stainless steel, unbreakable, and designed to be used where vandalism would be a problem, as it probably would be.


Steven
Participant
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In May 2012, I 311’d a request for the city to install a mirror on the cattle chute. In July 2012 I got a response:

Summary of action taken:

WE DO NOT HAVE CONVEX MIRRORS — R. CALABRESE 7/12/12

But there’s a new mayor, and maybe such a request would be more effective now.


The Iguana
Participant
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There used to be a mirror there…


JaySherman5000
Member
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for about $500 the city could purchase the mirrors.

I assume that installing them would require a study at a cost of no less than $1.2 billion.


rgrasmus
Member
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They certainly didn’t need to yell…


byogman
Member
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I 311ed it, with a link to stainless steel mirrors. Will let you know if I get anything.


Mikhail
Member
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The best solution would be to make 2nd two lane road from HMB to Greenfield. Make one lane completely bike one — the one close to the trail, use two other ones for traffic. Traffic in under bridge should be rearranged in a way that lane closet to the chute should be bicycle only, the middle lane should be for incoming traffic and the farthest one for outgoing — both to Grienfield and to 2nd. Then we don’t need the chute.


The Iguana
Participant
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The bail out solution would be to have another chute–one for each direction….i.e. a pair-a-chute(s)… (~~~~)
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O–O


Pierce
Participant
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FWIW, I use the chute regularly and don’t think it’s that bad. Granted, I don’t use it during commute times, but still.

At some point, maybe two or three years ago, the chute was actually widened, so it’s not as thin as it used to be. I used to take the train tracks, but the grade has actually been getting steeper and the height difference between the tracks and ballast has been increasing, which led me to take the chute.

When I was going to work downtown, I would just take 2nd Ave, but now I’m going on the trail, so don’t really bother getting on 2nd Ave for that short bit.

I ring my bell, don’t really run into any problems


dfiler
Member
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My theory is that the parking restriction is intended to make it easier for people to use the trail?

It sounds likely that UPMC employees were parking there and then walking over to the shuttle. With enough people doing that, the lot fills up with people not using the trail.

Not to say this is a good or bad policy, but that seems like the line of reasoning.


stefb
Participant
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I have been using the chute now because I have a bike horn. I still don’t like it much, but when I am lazy I will use it on my commute home.


Ahlir
Participant
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I prefer to avoid the chute; the traffic light timings leave enough time to get through (though at times you end up waiting a while)..
The chute would work a lot better if the width at the corner were increased by 1m or more: you can’t pass there yet you somehow have to figure out that there’s someone approaching. (Yes a mirror would be nice, but you still need to stop in time. And wait.)


zzwergel
Member
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I know this is an old thread, but couldn’t one park at the 2nd Ave parking lot near the jail and then bike the rest of the way to their place of work?


Eric
Member
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Yes. That 2nd ave lot costs money on the weekdays. http://www.pittsburghparking.com/second-avenue-parking-plaza


zzwergel
Member
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@eric, is it less expensive then Downtown lots?


alleghenian
Member
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According to Eric’s link, it is currently $9 to park in the 2nd Ave. lot on a weekday.  I don’t think you can find parking cheaper than $12/day anywhere downtown in 2018, but most of the lots on the outskirts of downtown have similar prices to 2nd Ave.  The Station Square lot is $8/day and so is the strip district lot by the 16th Street bridge.  The north shore and arena lots are similarly priced, and those areas have so much parking that there are different tiers (so that if you are willing to park in one of those area’s more distant lots then it can be a buck or two cheaper than the closer ones).


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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<p style=”text-align: center;”>By comparison, all day parking  at the U.S. Steel Bldg garage is $26.</p>


zzwergel
Member
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That can give people an incentive to ride their bike between a more remote paid parking lot and their workplace. The parking lot on 2nd Ave. could also be used by people commuting to Oakland or the South Side from areas south, north, and west of Downtown. The lot is close enough to Downtown that commuters to Downtown can park there coming from any direction.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Then again, Steel Tower is one of the least bike friendly buildings I know of. Together inside and out, there is bike parking for only about 40 bikes for a building of 8,000 people, and they’ll cut your lock and confiscate your bike if you try to lock it anywhere else. There’s space (and probable demand) for 200 racks in the garage. Nor can you bike down the ramp into the garage; you have to go in via the wheelchair entrance and the elevator.

This may explain why you don’t see more bikes downtown.


Gerry Durishan
Participant
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I worked at the Steel Tower up until 2 years ago and never once had a problem with parking inside.  If racks were filled, I’d park my bike in a fenced area away from cars and pedestrians then go upstairs and tell security where it was parked and if the location was acceptable.  They never asked me to move it.  On the occasions that I’d forget my key or lock, they’d let me take the bike up the freight elevator to my floor.  The key is to communicate with the security staff and you are less likely to have problems.  Yes, they told me to stop riding the ramps.  The ramps are really greasy and can become quite *slippy* when wet.  That’s the reason for using the back doors.  I don’t find that a real terrible ordeal.  I agree that there could be more parking, I disagree that they are not accommodating.


dfiler
Member
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To me, accommodating would mean allowing bikes on the parking garage ramps and not needing to talk to security.  If the pavement or design of their parking garage is unsafe for cyclists, that is the exact opposite of accommodating.


Jacob McCrea
Participant
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I worked in that building for almost 8 years and had the same experience as Gerry – there could be more parking, but the building as a whole was sufficiently accommodating. The only problem I ever had was selfish, entitled cyclists abusing the parking-garage racks by leaving bikes there for days and weeks at a time, as though it was their private indoor storage facility, thus leaving no room for genuine commuters.

As noted, the spiral ramps are completely inappropriate for bikes. They are steep, slick, and are basically a long-running blind corner – a perfect environment for unskilled cyclists to crash, or to get hit by cars, or both. The steep, straight exit ramp isn’t much better. If I were the building’s lawyer, insurer or property/risk manager, I wouldn’t let bikes on any of them under any circumstances.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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There is inside parking for 12 bikes, but 5,000 work in the building. Union Trust Building, just up the street, has inside parking for 65 bikes with 1/5 the population, and yes, you roll right in and out with the cars. An entirely different world. I might go back to parking at Union Trust. Even with the walk, it would take less time.


Eric
Member
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Is there inside bike parking at the Mellon sq garage like there is in the 3rd Ave garage near point park?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I think so. I used to tie up there all the time but haven’t used it since they did all that renovation. The entry was on the Smithfield-Oliver corner.


zzwergel
Member
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@Stu,

There are free racks by the 9th and Penn parking garage and by the Gateway T station. Park your bike at one of those racks, and ride the T to Steel Plaza.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Not my point. But back to the point of this thread, there’s no sense in trying to drive your car to the EFT trailhead to bike downtown if there’s noplace to tie up the bike once you get there.

It’s easier and takes less time to drive your car to Steel Bldg garage than to drive to an outer lot and bike in, and I place the blame for that squarely on Winthrop Management, property owners for Steel Tower.


zzwergel
Member
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Did you ever ask about taking your bike into your office?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Can’t in Steel Tower. Can in a few other places.

I personally will be moving to a different building in a few weeks, so I’m not too interested in fighting this. But if anyone else cares to deal with it, I have all the contacts necessary.


zzwergel
Member
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Does the building you are moving to allow taking bikes into the office or provide ample bike parking?

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