Local news stories & LTE 2016
Penndot $40M funding for multimodal transportation, including bike infrastructure. List of projects at http://www.penndot.gov/Pages/all-news-details.aspx?newsid=262 includes these in Allegheny County:
- Allegheny County Parks — $2,100,000 to improve roadways throughout Allegheny County’s parks through widening the shoulders, paving, signage installation, and bike markings.
- Borough of Wilkinsburg — $203,703 to implement two-way conversion on Wood Street and a bicycle lane on Ross Avenue to enhance neighborhood connectivity, reestablish two-way traffic flow, address bicycle connectivity, and decrease social division.
- Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh — $3,000,000 to construct street, pedestrian, bike circulation, and public space improvements in the four-acre area around East Liberty Transit Center (ELTC), a transit-oriented development.
- Ross Township — $865,000 for improvements at the intersection of McKnight Road and Siebert Road, which include adding an additional turning lane and installing a sidewalk Babcock Boulevard to McKnight Road.
Fitzgerald Says Innovation Drew White House To Pittsburgh
“The average person will see improvement in their drive times,” Fitzgerald said. “Traffic will get better because smart signaling will allow traffic to flow better. And it’s not just vehicular traffic, it’s pedestrians, it’s bikes, it’s the whole group of folks who are trying to get through Grant Street or Forbes Avenue.”
Bus Rapid Transit system between Oakland, Downtown progressing
The Port Authority is down to two possible routes for a Bus Rapid Transit system between Oakland and Downtown and expects to have a preliminary design ready to submit to federal officials within two years.
The Trib, on the memorial ride for Susan Hicks:
In case you missed it, from that Tribune Review article: “City Councilman Daniel Gilman announced at the service that as of Thursday, the city approved the start of the design phase to install a bike lane on Forbes Avenue between Craig Street and Bigelow Boulevard.”
Bike corridor along Freeport Road could improve safety
The designation of Freeport Road in Aspinwall as a bike corridor is expected to increase safety along the busy stretch.
Council last week approved a resolution to seek grant money through Allegheny County and state agencies to improve the cycling, pedestrian and mass transit infrastructure along Freeport Road.
The heavily traveled, PennDOT-owned road stretches the length of the borough, from Delafield to Western avenues
Cool. maybe ohara township involved sometime soon and get some funding to fix the wonky rock fall zone on freeport where the shoulders, which are definitely not real bike lanes for liability purposes, but are defacto bike lanes.
FYI. You can see the wonky rock fall area and bike lanes on freeport rd between blawnox and cheswick on google street view now!
something to keep your eyes on.
Station Square apartment project expected to start in summer
Trammell Crow has been awarded a $1 million state redevelopment assistance capital grant, $4 million less than it had requested, to help with the project. It also has received a $2 million state multi-modal transportation grant.
James Murray-Coleman, Trammell Crow senior vice president, said the money would be enough to get the project moving. The funds will be used for roads, a bike lane, a riverfront trail and other infrastructure-related improvements, he said.
A parking-lot view of car-use decline
“America’s love affair with the automobile is turning platonic.”
It would be one thing hearing that from the head of Bike Pittsburgh, but this was coming from the biggest parking magnate in Western Pennsylvania.
Merrill Stabile, whose grandfather went into the parking business in 1925, owns, manages or leases 15,000 spaces in the city. You’d think a third-generation parker would be more upset that cars aren’t revving millennials’ hearts the way they did their parents and grandparents’, but Mr. Stabile is entirely at peace with the trend.
In May we heard about plans by McKnight Realty to refurbish the Terminal Building (aka Riverwalk Corporate Centre). A restored bike path parallel to the train tracks was included in the architectural drawings:
The Post-Gazette wrote that “McKnight Realty … intends to complete the missing link to the South Side riverfront trail that now detours around the complex”.
The news: McKnight met with CSX railroad to discuss the trail, and CSX told them essentially “drop dead”. So it seems that we can kiss that missing link goodbye.
Meanwhile, today on the McKean St trail detour:
It seems that we didn’t need the “Walk Bicycles on Sidewalk” sign, but we did need a “No Trucks on Sidewalk” sign.
Is there something in the hiring process for railroads that says, “If you have to deal with the public, tell them to go f**k them selves”? Have we YET had a single railroad go along with requests to cooperate? How many years did it take to get the GAP finished past Sandcastle? How long have we been fighting over the link to Schenley Park Lake? Did we ever properly resolve getting from the 31st Street Bridge to the 40th on the north shore of the river? (The “no trespassing” signs are still there.) Ditto to the 62nd? Now along the south shore of the Allegheny downriver from the zoo?
Brian O’Neill wrote a positive op-ed piece:
“That old guy who rides a bike” has become far too broad a category. I’m in that category now. I recognize that not everyone is happy with this, speaking not of me in particular but of cyclists in general. Even so, Donna Green, 66, of the Mexican War Streets, has noticed a change when she’s pedaling.
“There’s more acceptance,’’ she said. “There’s not bike love yet. They’re not happy to see me but they’re not surprised to see me.” …
Though the RR has the law on its side (ownership, responsibility, liability), that may be changing: see Bundy Brothers Acquittal
We could attach (chain?) ourselves and bikes to the tracks at these locations that are rightfully ours…to get things (not) rolling…on the right track…Then we hit he streets.
That column from O’Neill was absolutely fantastic. As advocates, we could all could learn a lot from this alone:
Though I’m on my bike most days, I’d no more call myself an “avid’’ cyclist than I’d say I’m an avid hammerer. I reach for whichever tool makes the most sense for a task, and the bike-vs.-cars debate is as pointless to me as two people arguing the relative merits of the wrench over the screwdriver.
PG: City to finally finish Bigelow bike lanes in 2017; Gastil even teases finally just closing that block between Fifth & Forbes to cars, though OPDC isn’t sure. Pitt, of course, is noncommittal:
The university wouldn’t comment directly on the bike lanes or closing Bigelow. In a statement, Paul A. Supowitz, Pitt’s vice chancellor for community and governmental relations, said, “This is a city process and we have to let it play out, going through the process of discussion and consultation with all the stakeholders. We support the mayor’s ‘complete streets’ policy and appreciate consideration given to providing for needs of all who use the streets.”
Translation: “we’d be okay with it, but we’re not going to actually do anything to help make it happen, despite the fact one of our own alumnae, a beloved staff member, was killed in an entirely preventable incident that would never have happened if Oakland had separated, protected bike infrastructure…”
Meanwhile: Negley lanes will also go in next year, and possibly also something on Craig St?!
PG corrected the article. The Craig St. bike lanes actually referred to the planned connection between Bigelow and Craig along Forbes.
That bit of Bigelow is a bus route (54, 81, 83, I think, possibly others). But closing it off to cars, while also allowing a couple buses an hour, would be a great test for the idea of shutting the length of Forbes from Craft to Bigelow to cars, allowing buses and bikes, as one of the BRT proposals would have it.
Pitt already closes that block of Bigelow several times a year for move-in, move-out, and various events.
@Stu, the 81 and 83 PAT routes use Bigelow coming from Forbes to go to Fifth. They could easily be rerouted to go one block further to Bellefield. Rerouting the 54, which comes from the Fifth Ave bus lane and then goes on Forbes, is doable, too. Send it to Forbes via Bouquet (bit narrow, I think) or simply have it no go on Forbes at all and continue on Fifth until it turns left onto northbound Craig.
or, have the 54 come off the Birmingham Bridge to Forbes and just take that to Craig.
there are only the three PAT routes mentioned which use Bigelow, but there’s also a half-dozen Pitt and Chatham routes which do as well. On the other hand, as Steven mentioned, that block is already closed nearly every other week during football season, and a half-dozen other times each year as well, for between four hours and four days.
I’ve heard that that block of Bigelow was closed for a period of several months (or more?) fifteen or twenty years ago as a trial, and that by most indications it went well…. they did make adjustments on Bellefield and Bouquet that don’t get made for the current occasional closures, though.
Get rid of on-street parking on Bellefield and make it a two-way street. Then re-route all service to that, and close Bigelow. Could add a bike lane both sides, too.
Why not to continue all the way to Craig on Fifth Ave?
Do you mean the 54?
It serves a stop on Forbes at the Carnegie Music Hall (technically called “Bellefield”, but actually in front of Dippy), and on Craig at Fillmore. Even when Bigelow is closed and the 54 is detoured via Fifth, it still turns down Dithridge to Forbes to get back up Craig, so I suspect they still consider that stop critical… (Possibly related: The Craig St stop I think is still labeled Pittsburgh Assn for the Blind, although that group hasn’t been on Craig Street for ten years…)
Even when Bigelow is closed and the 54 is detoured via Fifth, it still turns down Dithridge to Forbes to get back up Craig,
Interesting. I remember that in the past, when Bigelow was closed, the northbound 54C bypassed its Craig Street stop too. (I learned this the hard way once.)
I ran across a PG article from 20 years ago about the trial closure that buffalo buffalo mentioned, but it’s been poorly OCRd. An ungarbled version:
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 1996 B-5 THE REGION
Trial Bigelow Blvd. closing set; traffic-snarl levels to be tested […] encouraging comments about the street closing’s impact to assist the evaluation of whether to make it permanent.
The following Port Authority routes will be affected by Bigelow’s closing: the 54C North Side-Oakland-Mount Oliver will use Forbes Avenue instead of Fifth after entering Oakland from the South Side; the 56U Oakland-Greenfield will travel Fifth Avenue instead of Forbes to reach Morewood Avenue, but only during afternoon and evening trips; and the 84A Herron Hill-Oakland will use Oakland Avenue instead of Bigelow Boulevard as its eastern terminus to turn to Fifth. More details can be obtained frgm PAT by calling 442-2000.
By Gary Rotstein Post-Gazette Staff Writer.
University of Pittsburgh officials have been talking for at least 30 years about wanting to close a portion of Bigelow Boulevard. They get to try it for 30 days beginning Monday. After heated City Council discussions, considerable public criticism of the University of Pittsburgh’s influence and a failed lawsuit to stop the test, concrete barricades will be in place by 6 a.m. to keep vehicles from traveling Bigelow between Forbes and Fifth avenues in Oakland. For the first time, students and others will casually cross between the Cathedral of Learning and William Pitt Union without looking both ways to avoid some of the 15,000 vehicles a day using the block.
The tradeoff is that the city is giving up a primary thoroughfare between Schenley Park and North Oakland and covering about 90 parking meters on the alternate streets, enabling more lanes of traffic and space for turns. Pitt is to open a new parking lot with 20 parking meters at Fifth and Bouquet by Monday to help compensate.
The experiment, which reroutes Bigelow’s northbound traffic onto Bellefield Avenue and southbound traffic onto Bouquet Street and changes some Port Authority bus routes, could be made permanent next year, depending on the outcome of studies of its impact on local businesses, traffic congestion and parking problems. The city Planning Department is surveying merchants and other walkin businesses before, during and after the test to assess economic impact.
Pitt is paying many of the direct costs associated with the test, such as installation of barriers and signs and providing officers to help direct traffic. It also hired a traffic consultant, Trans Associates, to collect data before and during the test as part of the city’s evaluation. University Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg asked university employees and students this week to “think through the most sensible approaches” to help make the test a success. He said that if the closing were made permanent, it would increase the attractiveness and safety of the campus.
While the university has no special plans for the street space during the test, it is likely that if the Murphy administration and City Council agree to give up the block, Pitt would landscape it and expand the open space of the Cathedral of Learning. The Planning Department is […]
Cyclist struck and killed in Fayette County. Driver failed to stop at the scene:
There’s a separate thread for the Fayette county hit-and-run here: http://bikepgh.org/message-board/topic/bicyclist-killed-in-fayette-county/
Meanwhile, those travelling in or through Squirrel Hill will want to avoid the area near Allderdice, where a truck apparently got wedged in making a turn:
Squirrel Hill folks & commuters might need to avoid Forward & Shady for a bit. pic.twitter.com/YtdLejOthh
— Bison bison (@infinitebuffalo) November 7, 2016
From the Danny Chew thread, a must-watch video on his recovery on the PG site:
Full article on Danny Chew in the PG:
Nice article. A quote:
Despite Mr. Domos telling him he may have to drop it, Mr. Chew insists it still will be in pursuit of the now slower grind of miles onward toward his 1 million mile lifetime goal.
He has already worked out the math. With about 780,000 so far, he figures he can go up to about 10,000 miles a year in a hand-cycle, and reach the goal by the time he is 77 or 78 “if I stay healthy.”
“That’s what keeps me going,” Mr. Chew said.
Of course he’s already done 1,000,000 kilometres… maybe more than 10 of me will have managed.
WESA goes for a ride with one of Pittsburgh’s few bike messengers: http://wesa.fm/post/helmets-ride-along-one-pittsburghs-few-bike-messengers
PG on 2017’s Fort Pitt-Stanwix-Penn bike lane to the Point:
“City Council last month approved spending $772,000 to add bike lanes on the boulevard from Grant to Stanwix streets, then north on Stanwix to Penn Avenue. The lanes will jog west on Penn to Point State Park, giving cyclists on the Great Allegheny Passage trail a dedicated link from Grant near the Monongahela River.”
“Bike Pittsburgh on Friday released a report comparing pedestrian and bicycling safety in Pittsburgh with cities similar in size and demographics. Its conclusion: Biking and walking in Pittsburgh were relatively safe when compared with similar cities, but more can be done to help protect pedestrians and bicyclists. … Data from counties encompassing Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Honolulu, Louisville and Milwaukee were used in the report, which is available on Bike Pittsburgh’s website, bikepgh.org. …”
I couldn’t find it on the web site. Anybody got a link?
LTE from Riverlife’s CEO, Vivien Li, regarding the upcoming Mon Wharf ramp project:
I worry about the vagueness of this line at the end of her letter to the editor:
“The CFA grant brings us closer to making this project an exciting reality in 2017.
wondering if there are other stumbling blocks still present or worry that funding could fall through?
On Next Pittsburgh, a week in the life of the city’s bike/ped coordinator:
Posted on another thread, but relevant to this one (and related to the previous post), the PG’s article on last night’s downtown bike lane meeting:
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