Local news stories & LTE 2016
Paving for 2016 is online.
Ha. I was about to post that here but stuck it on http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/pgh-paving-projects-interactive-map/#post-325059 instead…
WPXI on yesterday’s memorial ride for Susan Hicks:
Someone in Hempfield Twp managed to get their road’s speed limit lowered, citing traffic safety concerns.
Lead daily photo on the Trib:
I feel like I’ve seen this before. Same cyclist, view, road, etc
PWSA announced today that the rebuild of Forbes Ave at the site of last month’s water main breaks has passed its tests, paving is to start as soon as we have a guaranteed “dry weather day”.
Public meetings regarding the upcoming Liberty Bridge construction work:
While this is not a popular bridge for cyclists, I know of a few people that use the sidewalk to ride between downtown and Mt. Washington. It’d be nice if the contractor doesn’t have signs blocking it, a la Ft. Pitt bridge a year or so ago
If anyone is going to the meeting, remind the engineers that they must maintain an unobstructed sidewalk per PennDot regulations.
According to PennDot Publication 213 “Temporary Traffic Control Guidelines”, …an accessible path of 48 inch minimum width shall be provided… whenever signs (or anything else) are placed on sidewalks.
Report: Distracted driving citations increase in Pennsylvania
Between 2014 and 2015, distracted driving citations in Pennsylvania increased by 43 percent, according to a new report from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.
To identify the increase, the AOPC based its data on violations of state laws spelled out in Title 75, sections 1621, 1622, 3316, and 3314. Since 2012 in Pennsylvania, those statutes have barred drivers from using headphones or earbuds while driving, as well as made texting while the vehicle is in motion illegal. Drivers who flout those laws run the risk of a $50 fine, minimum.
Montgomery County was home to the most distracted driving citations in the state, with 298 in 2015 alone (223 in 2014).
Close behind was Allegheny County, with 235 citations in 2015 (176 in 2014), followed by York and Bucks counties, with 223 (130 in 2014) and 183 (117 in 2014) citations, respectively.
Rounding out the top five is Chester County, which clocked 166 distracted driving citations in 2015 (130 in 2014). However, it should be noted that increases in the number of citations in any county could be attributable to increases in enforcement in those counties.
Just two counties in the state — Cameron and Forest — clocked zero total distracted driving citations in 2015. Cameron County also had zero citations in 2014, compared to Forest County’s two that year.
Data for 2015 for Philadelphia County, unfortunately, was not included in the study, with the report noting that that data is maintained by the traffic division of the Philadelphia Municipal Courts. In 2014, Philadelphia County tallied 195 distracted driving citations total, according to a previous AOPC study. In 2013, the number was also 195, compared to 2012’s 276 citations.
Overall, the report found that Pennsylvania’s men have more instances of distracted driving than its women, with 67 percent of recorded citations between 2014 and 2015 going to male drivers.
Of the total number of people cited in Pennsylvania during that time period, folks in their 20s made up about 40 percent. Drivers in their 30s, meanwhile, made up 26 percent, and individuals in their 60s amounted to just 2 percent.
Most citations, the report found, were written between 8 a.m. and noon, with May serving as the most active month of the year.
Not enough, IMHO.
County releases its paving plan, with work starting Monday: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/10163853-74/road-county-paving
45 miles of paving and other repairs—
– rebuilds on much of Fox Chapel, Jacks Run, Lorish, Middle, and Stroschein Roads;
– chip-and-seal work on several roads including Blackburn Road north of Sewickley and McConkey Road near the wave pool in South Park; and
– milling and paving of a whole bunch of roads including part of Becks Run and nearly all of Mount Troy.
Actually, the Liberty Bridge sidewalk has been closed to pedestrians for the past week or so, and I don’t think it’ll reopen until they are done with the construction. They posted plenty of detour signs. However, the detour gets dangerous when they have you cross Arlington at McArdle to get to the stairs to get up to the McArdle sidewalk. There is no crosswalk here and lots of congestion/aggressive driving during rush hour. But I guess a posted detour is better than nothing…
Regarding the City and County paving projects , it looks like a good chunk of the northern portion of the PedalPGH route will get fresh pavement this year. Nice.
A Bicycle Times article from Trib photographer (and cycling blogger) James Knox, on covering breaking news by bike:
And you can find James Knox’s bicycle blog at https://blog.triblive.com/icycle/
Casino planning new hotel on the grassy area between it and the Science Centre. No word on potential impact to the trail.
(Despite the headline, they aren’t even going to the Planning Commission until at least next month…)
Maybe they aren’t saying who is behind this until after the election…because it is a Trump affair :-) Or maybe Sanders …is he hiding something:
Moon Township still intends to develop a long-planned park on the Ohio River just above Sewickley Bridge, but still needs several million dollars just to fix industrial pollution.
(I’d initially mistaken this for the effort to build a park at the mouth of the Montour, below Mile Zero of the Montour Trail, but that’s Robinson Township. This is on the other side of Coraopolis, between the end of the borough and the Sewickley Bridge.)
Moon Township police chief, trail group look to improve bicycling safety
My sarcastic editorial comment on this:
“This year, McCarthy has told his officers to make traffic stops for cyclists who violate the law, he said. The intention is not to ticket people but to improve safety for everyone, so warnings can be given.”
Yeah, that’s the key to combating cyclists’ deaths.
I know we have a couple of semi-recent threads about steps, but I can’t find them.
Today’s PG has a column by Diana Nelson-Jones about the City Accelerator project to fund steps repair. I am quoted in it (though at this writing, she has my first name incorrect; I emailed; it should be fixed soon).
I sure would like to see a million bucks spent on getting these fixed. I use them every chance I can. They’re an opportunity, not an obstruction.
Pittsburgh board approves retail, housing plan for historic Strip District produce terminal
I’ll be glad to see those ‘Back-out-into-traffic-without-looking.’ parking stalls disappear.
Nice Q& A with Cathy Rogers of Aero Tech Designs.
Carnegie Science Center to expand from the IMAX theater towards the North Shore trail. Construction to begin this fall, lasting through 2018.
“We’ll be enhancing the trail system”:
I hope so, currently that is a major bottleneck if there are any number of trail users there (school groups, riders, peds).
Penn Hill allocating federal funds for sidewalk improvements:
Just short of six months later, charges at last in the death of Susan Hicks: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/10353269-74/witherspoon-death-police
“David Witherspoon, 49, of Beltzhoover, is charged with homicide by vehicle in the death of Susan Hicks, 34, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed Friday.…Witherspoon is also charged with accidents involving death while not properly licensed, involuntary manslaughter, possession of a controlled substance, driving without a license, following too closely and careless driving.”
[There is, of course, a dedicated thread for this incident, over at http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/cyclist-killed-in-oakland/ ]
A couple pointers most of you probably already know about.
BikePGH: Bike lane to be installed on One Wild Place as soon as weather permits
PPG: City may upgrade railroad crossing to South Side bike trail
Good news on those railroad crossings. They’re definitely in need of some love. The writing on that article needs some editing, though. It makes it sound they are closing South 9th St in its entirety, not just the area around the railroad crossing. Also, what does Muriel St have to do with the Hot Metal Bridge? I’m guessing this is a mistake, and the “bike path link” on Muriel would be for getting to the 10th St bridge.
This is the type of gate (from Philly) that they refer to in the article:
I’ve heard that the positions are:
* CSX prefers to close all RR crossings; in their world, level crossings are pure liabilities;
* Terminal Building workers park in the parking lot on the river side of the RR tracks, so the 4th St crossing is vital to them. 9th St, less so;
* current trail users need the 4th St crossing, but not the 9th;
* PUC wants any level crossings that exist to be safe.
Frank Bryan Concrete feuded with CSX to get their own level crossing at 3rd St. (Drewolf Crossing, “impedimenta victa modus factorum”) within the past few years: http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/tag-o-rama-4/page/16/#post-323193
That gate’s mechanism looks similar to the Philadelphia one.
9th is a much better street for biking. No stupid Polish block.
The Trib’s photographer and cycling blogger James Knox, on covering the Pittsburgh Marathon by bike:
Re Muriel St., I’d thought it was not quite public yet, but the City wants to implement a “neighborhood streets” plan for the south side using Wharton and Muriel as an alternative to Carson between Hot Metal and South Tenth.
What I do at railroad tracks (walking, biking, hoverboard, car) is stop, look both ways, listen for any loud “train-like” sounds, then proceed across. Trains are difficult to miss and their path of travel is fairly predictable.
How did humans ever survive to be the dominant animal species on this planet?
ICYMI: OpenStreetsPGH dates announced for 2016:
The first two events, on May 29 and June 26, will use the same route as last year. The third date, on July 31st, will be on the West End and the North Side, including the West End Bridge
Green Tree PD to get a bike, thanks to the Moose, though not a dedicated bike officer: http://triblive.com/news/neighborhoods/carlynton/10410791-74/police-green-tree
“When what is now a section of the Great Allegheny Passage originally opened near West Newton, local kids blocked the trail, threw rocks at riders and egged them from an overpass.”
Committee seeks to make Shaler safer for pedestrians, cyclists
I added a comment on the Shaler article:
The bit of Babcock Boulevard that travels through Shaler is only about a mile, but is miserable to bike. This is the only real way to get from the river trail to North Park. The part in Ross has wide, paved shoulders, but the Shaler part has no shoulder at all. Cyclists have to fully take the lane; there is no safe alternative, and no alternative route to ride. This angers motorists, the majority of whom would dearly love to exceed the posted 35 by 10 or more. How do I know? I drive, too, and follow people through here. 43 mph is typical. By contrast, a cyclist is going 14. Simple solution: Drop the speed limit to 25, as it already is through Millvale, and actually enforce it.
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