Local news stories & LTE 2016
Thanks to Paul and Yale (and others not quoted) for speaking up at the meeting. It’s really important that our voices be heard at these meetings.
The Incline also had a reporter at last night’s meeting; afterward, she went to the Mayor’s reelection party, so there’s also a quote from him about the project (and the Penn Ave lanes): http://theincline.com/2016/12/15/pittsburgh-planner-we-need-a-grid-of-bike-lanes/
Meanwhile, in Lawrenceville:
— Adam Shuck (@adamkshuck) December 14, 2016
Somebody turned one of PennDOT’s obscenely huge new traffic-signal poles into a Festivus Grievance Pole. Stories via The Incline (http://theincline.com/2016/12/15/pittsburgh-airs-penndot-grievances-on-pop-up-festivus-pole/) and City Paper (http://www.pghcitypaper.com/Blogh/archives/2016/12/15/lawrenceville-residents-protest-penndot-traffic-signal-placement-with-festivus-pole).
Sadly, according to a comment on Better Streets’ facebook page, it’s already gone.
Healthy Ride receives state grant to add 25 stations:
The exact location of these stations is not known yet. There’s also some interesting figures about the system, if you are not familiar with their data (I’ve worked on it a bit. You can find some of that in this thread: http://bikepgh.org/message-board/topic/bike-share-is-coming/page/10/)
Peduto outlines priorities in bid for second term
More broadly, he said he also envisions a network of connected bicycle lanes that permits residents to opt out of car ownership and bike from one neighborhood to another. He acknowledged that building bike lanes — including one proposed for Fort Pitt Boulevard that would link Point State Park and the Great Allegheny Passage — is among his administration’s most-often criticized initiatives.
“It’s maybe sometimes controversial, but people know it’s what I believe,” he said.
Piggybacking on @chrishent, to put it in perspective, there are already 50 healthy ride stations, so 25 more is a huge increase.
LTE in the PG against the Ft. Pitt Blvd cycle track:
It took six months–“It was not immediately clear why”–but, at last, charges against the drunk driver who caused the collision just outside Pridefest this summer: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2016/12/22/Woman-charged-in-crash-that-critically-injured-two-during-Pittsburgh-Pride-Fest/stories/201612220174
Hempfield cyclist’s conviction for careless driving upheld
Tribune Review published my letter to the editor recently:
Diesel idling illegal
LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, 9:00 p.m.
While walking to a meeting at Point Park University Downtown recently, I was confronted by a cloud of noxious diesel exhaust from an idling dump truck parked at a construction site. I spoke with the driver standing nearby. I mentioned the cloud of pollution his truck was producing and asked him if he could shut off the engine, but sadly, he didn’t seem concerned about the pollution at all, and defensively voiced fears about restarting his engine.
This driver needs to know that his health and mine are at risk: Diesel pollution is linked to lung disease, heart disease and cancer. It is illegal except in limited cases for a diesel vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds engaged in commerce to idle for more than five minutes out of every hour. This is Pennsylvania’s Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicle Idling Act.
Some truck drivers hold onto the mistaken belief that idling for long periods is necessary or saves fuel. This is no longer true with modern fuel-injected engines.
The law says you must turn off your engine if you’re stopped for more than five minutes.
Nice letter. Ditto with gas engines. Turning them off always saves fuel. Restarting costs nothing other than the fuel you were going to use. Hence when I’m stuck somewhere I turn off my engine to save gas. Modern hybrids do this automatically at stop lights.
Not just hybrids. All sorts of new cars have this feature. I hear them starting when the light turns green. This was common in some European countries a while ago; the feature was imported here, I guess, to meet the new fuel efficiency standards Obama negotiated.
But I have heard it’s not necessarily a good idea to do this with cars that have not been designed to be restarted constantly. The starter motor is not engineered to be used more than a dozen or so times per day, and can be worn out. You can make the trade-off, of course.
Good point. Starter does have a life span. I’ll shut off the car when I know I’m stuck for quite a few minutes. Like if traffic comes to standstill on the highway. Or there have been times where 18 wheelers can’t negotiate a turn on a pittsburgh street and are blocking the intersection and I know it’s going to take 5 minutes of maneuvering for the truck to clear the intersection. Or, my biggest pet peeve, waiting to pick up my kids.
Here’s the rules. Truck driver could have been violating ordinances about dielsel pollution. See notable exceptions for temperature and queuing:
“No person shall permit, cause, suffer, or allow the engine of a heavy-duty diesel powered motor vehicle to idle prior to, during layover between, or at the conclusion of, any trip or route for any period of time beyond what is reasonably required to attain, or secure from, normal operating conditions. The board of Health shall promulgate rules and regulations, subject to the approval of the County Council regarding a maximum allowable period of idling. Such rules and regulations shall also define exceptions to the maximum allowable period that consider extreme temperatures”
Detailed rules for ACHD as authorized by this ordinance:
1. No driver shall cause or allow the engine of any heavy duty diesel powered motor vehicle subject to this section to idle
prior to, during layover between, at the destination of, or at the conclusion of, any trip or route for more than five (5)
consecutive minutes, except under the conditions described in Subsection c, below.
2. No driver shall cause or allow the engine of any heavy duty diesel powered motor vehicle subject to this section
to be accelerated while idling, unless such action is taken in order to operate vehicle mounted accessory or
c. Exemptions. This section does not apply for the period or periods during which idling is necessary for:
1. Traffic Conditions.
A. For traffic conditions over which the driver has no control;
B. For an official traffic control device or signal; or
C. At the direction of a uniformed police officer or one of those persons authorized to direct traffic by
the Vehicle Code, 67 Pa. Code §101.2.
2. Boarding and Discharging Passengers.
A. When vehicles intended for commercial passenger transportation are boarding or discharging
B. When vehicles intended for transporting people with disabilities are boarding or discharging
When a vehicle, situated in a queue of other vehicles, must intermittently move forward to
perform work or a service, and when shutting the vehicle engine off would impede the progress of the
queue and be impracticable.
4. Turbo-Charged Diesel Engine Cool Down or Warm Up.
When the manufacturer’s specifications require more time than the five minute limitation in §2105.92.b.1, above, to cool down or warm up a
turbo-charged diesel engine.
5. Cold/Hot Weather.
A. If the outside temperature is less than 40ºF, then idling is allowed for a period or periods aggregating not more than 20 minutes in any 60 minute period; or
B. If the outside temperature is greater than 75ºF and a vehicle is equipped with air conditioning, then
idling is allowed for a period or periods aggregating not more than 20 minutes in any 60 minute
C. Not withstanding subparagraphs A and B, in order to supply heat or air conditioning necessary for
the comfort of passengers, a vehicle intended for commercial passenger transportation may idle for
up to 10 minutes prior to passenger boarding and anytime passengers are onboard.
D. The Department may, upon request of an owner or manager of a bus terminal, approve alternate
limits for warm-up of buses stored outdoors at the terminal when the temperature is below 40ºF.
Such plan shall include enforceable time limits that minimize bus idling.
January 7, 2014 Page E-147 ACHD Article XXI
When idling is necessary to power a heater, air conditioner, or any ancillary equipment
during sleeping and resting in a truck cab or sleeper berth.
7. Safety and Emergencies.
A. To verify that the vehicle is in safe operating condition and equipped as required by all provisions
of law, and all equipment is in good working order, either as part of the driver’s daily vehicle
inspection, or as otherwise needed;
B. To operate defrosters, or other equipment to ensure the safe operation of the vehicle, or as otherwise
required by federal or state motor carrier safety regulations, or other local requirements; or
C. Use of vehicle as an emergency vehicle.
8. Operability and Maintenance.
A. To provide power for vehicle mounted accessory or service equipment; or
B. When being operated by a mechanic for testing, servicing, repairing, or diagnostic purposes.
Not withstanding the provisions of Part I of this Article, violators of this Section are subject to:
1. A warning for the first offense;
2. A penalty of $100 for the second offense;
3. A penalty of $500 for the third offense, and any subsequent offenses.
e. Enforcement. Not withstanding any other provisions of this Article the prohibitions of this Section may be
enforced by any municipal or local government unit having jurisdiction over the place where the idling
occurs. Such enforcement shall be in accordance with the laws governing such municipal or local
government unit and the Pa. Air Pollution Control Act. In addition, the Department may pursue the
remedies provided by §2109.02 of this Article for any violation of this Section.
f. Relationship to Other Law. Nothing in this Section allows idling in excess of other applicable law,
including, but not limited to any local ordinance or requirement as stringent as, or more stringent than, this
This is an achd ordinance, right? For air pollution/particulate matter. Who has the power to enforce these? Would it be the health department and a fine? Probably in reality it isn’t well enforced.
from the ACHD code, pg 279 of the linked pdf, in case you missed it in Benzo’s paste above (emphasis added):
e) Enforcement. Not withstanding any other provisions of this Article the prohibitions of this Section may be enforced by any municipal or local government unit having jurisdiction over the place where the idling occurs. Such enforcement shall be in accordance with the laws governing such municipal or local government unit and the Pa. Air Pollution Control Act. In addition, the Department may pursue the remedies provided by §2109.02 of this Article for any violation of this Section.
There’s a state statute (Act 124 of 2008), which gives enforcement to the DEP (section 7), but is superseded by “A local ordinance or rule concerning the subject matter of this act that has been adopted by a county of the first or second class” (i.e., Philadelphia or Allegheny County, respectively). Allegheny County Health Dept also has other (i.e., all) air-pollution regulation and permitting powers which in other counties belong to PADEP, as well.
Pittsburgh’s Bike Share Might Have Reduced Driving
Bike-share trips replaced at most about 69 car trips per day, out of 2,250 daily parking events in the neighborhood of Shadyside. This is a 2 percent decrease in parking demand (adjusted for the lost curb parking space for the installation of the bike docks) after the program’s launch in 2015.
Okay, so that’s not exactly a sea change in commuting patterns. But while those numbers are small, the benefits of that change could add up.
Related to @marko82’s post, the third-most popular one way trip in the Healthy Ride system (and the #1 one way trip through the first 9 months of 2016) is between the station on Alder St/Highland and the one near Bakery Square, with 567 total trips since July 2015 (388 in 2016). This trip can be accomplished in a little under a mile, so pretty much your ideal HR trip.
- 55% of trips that begin in Shadyside end in Shadyside stations. Of these, nearly 82% end in a different station. This, to me, suggests HR bikes in Shadyside are being used more for transportation than recreation.
- In regards to the article, it’d be interesting to see the back and forth between Shadyside stations and any future Squirrel Hill stations. I suspect there will be more Squirrel Hill-Shadyside trips than Shadyside-Squirrel Hill trips because of the general downhill direction of the former.
That cycling-saved-my-life letter from David Hiebert that @jonawebb pointed out, http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/letters/2016/12/29/Pittsburgh-should-embrace-having-more-bike-routes/stories/201612290094, is attracting a lot of bikelash, unfortunately.
I think a 2% drop in parking demand is pretty remarkable actually given the parameters of the study. It compared only the month before and month after the stations were installed. One would assume there was less awareness and membership in the program at the time than there is now or even a month or two later in that summer. Basically, that doesn’t give a lot of time for people to change behaviors. On top of that you have very little real cycling infrastructure in Shadyside, although it is pretty easy to ride there.
If the Healthy Ride can make that impact in just a short time period it would be interesting to see what the impact is over a longer period of time. Anecdotally I’m actually amazed at how popular those things are. I see people riding them all the time. Even saw a woman riding one up to Oakland from the Birmingham Bridge two days ago.
Combine Healthy Ride with some bike lanes and things and you would see some real measurable drops in things like parking demand which benefit everyone. (I’ll keep harping on providing measurables.)
@marv, I should note that Healthy Ride rentals have decreased, at least when comparing the third quarter of 2015 vs the same time period in 2016. Rentals have gone down ~30% during this time. This could be attributed to several things, though. The novelty factor has now worn off, and the number of promotional free rides has surely gone down, too. Also, system reliability has increased, meaning that the number of very short rentals (I set an arbitrary number at rentals under 3 minutes) that are likely “problem” rentals (as well as “demo” rentals) has gone down by 88% (nearly 3,000 such rentals in 2015, vs 300 in 2016.
Even though the overall number of rentals has gone down, there are several encouraging signs. For example:
- in 2015, rentals dropped significantly between August and September. In 2016, rentals in September were higher than in August.
- a handful of stations have seen increase in usage. It’s usually small, but encouraging nonetheless
In short, as infrastructure improves and the system expands and has better connectivity, we will hopefully see an increase in HR use.
Let it be here…
Interesting ad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubNF9QNEQLA
Strawberry Way won best street transformation!
Good for Strawberry, but that Rochester project is impressive too.
David Smith (the cyclist in Hempfield who went to jail for blocking traffic) has been sentenced to time served. He isn’t allowed to ride in traffic for two years.
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