Realistic ideas for Murray avenue

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Ahlir
Participant
#

re the title of this thread…

Could we at least get some sharrows on Murray?
Traffic is slow enough that this shouldn’t disrupt current driving patterns (except maybe uphill below Phillips) and many riders naturally take the lane. But it would serve to legitimize cycling.

Also, racks for bikes (more densely spaced ∩-tubes for starters). When I’m there to shop I always seem to either share a stand or have to move down the street to find one with space. Both sides of the street.


jonawebb
Participant
#

I’d suggest asking the shop owner for the bike rack. I think they’re the ones putting them up. And, since you’re a customer, they should listen.
When I asked at the liquor store, I eventually got referred to the landlord, who dropped it, I think. But it’s worth a try. (BTW the liquor store landlord is Lou Malini at Prudential Realty Company, 412-261-6500.)
Also, I don’t think the differential pricing on parking would work; Pittsburghers will definitely cross the street to save 25¢ on parking. Plus, it’s going to annoy the shop owners on that side, so they’ll oppose it, so why not just go for eliminating parking?
And while I generally think sharrows are useless, they might help on Murray Ave. There are quite a few old drivers there who think bikes should stay out of their way.


Xuth
Member
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For reference, I and several other people I know pushed on both the squirrel hill and greenfield giant eagle to add bike racks (writing letters, calling management and complaining in store). The best they ever did was finally allow the city to put up bike racks on the sidewalk outside their business but even with that, neither has adequate bike parking.


byogman
Member
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“lso, I don’t think the differential pricing on parking would work; Pittsburghers will definitely cross the street to save 25¢ on parking. ”

That’s exactly the point!

I mean, I think for short visits people will still use uphill side parking, it won’t completely clear very much, but if you just bias those people who are, say, going into a restaurant or something else long-ish into preferring downhill side (or, say, the lot between phillips and Douglas) then you’ll get a lot of clearing in practice many times during the day.

I don’t love merging in and out and I’d rather have a lane south of Nicholson at the very least but I think an environment with a lot of crosswalks (for instance, add them at Douglas and Nicholson) and if we can keep bringing the culture of aggressive pedestrian-ism further down the hill, that keeps speeds lowish and makes those merges are a lot easier to do. And it’s still valuable even with top end speeds kept down. Thinking in practice to 15 or 20 or so. Some cyclists can and will do 15 up Murray. The overwhelming majority will not. Having a place to bail to that’s not in the way of pedestrians and where you can rest the legs is nice.


reddan
Keymaster
#

I suspect that people would still park on the uphill side, then walk across the street to use a downhill side kiosk, to save the quarter or whatever the price differential might be.

What might be more palatable would be a trade: on-street parking on Murray becomes free, but no parking is permitted at all on the uphill side.


byogman
Member
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I think this same treatment could also be well applied to a sharrowed Forward avenue between Murray and Shady (it’s often almost empty already and there’s a generally underutilized lot in front of the cleaners that maybe could be negotiated to be paid but usable by all (not just those in the plaza), with revenue going to the businesses in the plaza that gave up their dedicated lot.


byogman
Member
#

reddan, it depends on software, right? Can the meter maid check to see where their location matches the side of the road where they paid. If not, obviously it’s no dice, but I don’t see what’s hard about it in principle, again, because not all these meters charge the same rate so PRESUMABLY there’s at least some of this capability already?

Making parking on Murray free but restricted to one side will make it impossible to find a spot and impact business much more negatively than even nixing the uphill parking entirely and leaving the downhill side paid. Uphill or down, it’s all to some degree valuable space and there needs to be an incentive to clear out.


reddan
Keymaster
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No, it’s not hard in principle. I can’t speak to the underlying technology, which (along with bureaucracy) would define how hard it is in practice.

I’d be all in favor of paid parking on downhill side and nixing the uphill side completely, as I’d rather not rely on the invisible hand of the free market to provide a usable bike lane.

Honestly, assuming we could incentivize people to park primarily on the downhill side, having even a quarter of the uphill spaces still in use would force cyclists to weave in and out of the primary travel lane. I’d really rather have either one lane shared by all, or two guaranteed lanes, to minimize the number of transition zones.


byogman
Member
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Agreed that 1/4 of the uphill spaces in use is about as bad as them all in use. 1/10 is not. So how it works in practice depends heavily on the parking demand curve and traffic speeds at the time. I will say the basic premise is flexible in degree, so maybe it’s tune-able to work kinda well, kinda most of the time. The heavy weasel wording there is telling. It would actually work much better in conjunction with first parker penalty, per area served by the meter, though I think that would cause still more confusion and teeth gnashing.

At the end of the day I really do prefer my reverse angle parking on the downhill side, lane on the uphill side idea, I’ve just haven’t seen that there was a lot of love for the idea, so I’m trying to come up with others. Non-committal and broadly implementable ones obviously I think are especially experiment worthy.


reddan
Keymaster
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“I will say the basic premise is flexible in degree, so maybe it’s tune-able to work kinda well, kinda most of the time. The heavy weasel wording there is telling.”

That, to me, is the deal breaker. Especially for less-experienced cyclists, I’d rather have a reasonably consistent level of danger than a “sometimes okay, sometime not, you’ll find out when you get there” sort of thing.

(Also, bear in mind that one of the selling points for the new parking kiosks was that you don’t have to use a specific one, just a nearby one. You’re supposed to be able to use whatever kiosk is most convenient, not necessarily whatever one is closest to your car.)

“At the end of the day I really do prefer my reverse angle parking on the downhill side, lane on the uphill side idea”

Me too.


byogman
Member
#

Maybe being able to use whatever kiosk was one of the advertised benefits, but honestly is it one people care about? The real value of the kiosks is fewer points of failure in the system and that end users don’t need a stash of quarters.

I think it would work much better with a first parker penalty rate. I think you’d get a much clearer pattern of whole block on, whole block off most of the time, a pattern that would guide more experienced cyclists to take the lane in blocks where parking is claimed and less experienced ones to divert to sidewalk (which is terrible, but less terrible than them being there the whole time).

Glad to hear at least a little support for the real lane, though.


jonawebb
Participant
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“Glad to hear at least a little support for the real lane, though.”

I wish I could support this. But I don’t see it as realistic. There are blocks there where the only parking within a short distance is in front of the store. And I don’t think you’ll be able to persuade shop owners that traffic from an uphill climbing lane will replace what they lose from having a parking space right in front of their store, even if there’s still a space across the street.
Even though I don’t think parking is any God-given right, it’s what they have now. So there has to be some trade-off to compensate them for what you’re taking away.
The city could possibly purchase the lot between Schoolhouse Yoga and Alan’s and make it a city lot. That would provide a few spaces. But north of Douglas, there’s no space the city could offer.


Xuth
Member
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You’re missing the public parking lot on Phillips directly behind the businesses on Murray (with pedestrian access to both Phillips and Douglas). Unfortunately the city doesn’t have good signage for this lot and it goes mostly unused.


jonawebb
Participant
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No, I know about that lot. It’s across the street from my house. It exists now, though, and we’d be taking something away. So it isn’t something the city could offer in a negotiation.


byogman
Member
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Better access to that lot perhaps? From Douglas? Plus the “mineos” crosswalk?

I think in general crosswalks, not parking, should be the way to compensate for lost parking.

Though it would at least yield a more efficient use of a scarce resource if the private lots (the one you mentioned, plus the larger one just uphill of the gas station) were all public, metered ones.


byogman
Member
#

Maybe try and strike a deal with First Niagra and/or giant eagle to reduce pressure at the top of the hill? I care about this somewhat less because the last block (Hobart->Beacon) isn’t as steep and is almost always congested, but scarcity does propagate some.


edmonds59
Participant
#

Forbes and Murray in the business district each need a couple of strategically placed bike corrals. Especially Murray, the sidewalks are narrow and installing racks significantly reduces pedestrian passage. Maybe somebody already said that, didn’t go all the way back.


byogman
Member
#

Additional relief valve: in the same area as the underutilized lot between Phillips and Douglas but on the north side of Douglas, there’s a home that’s probably a tear down (I happen to know the owner) and behind that, from satellite view, what looks to be an empty parking pad. Between the home’s lot and the empty parking pad you could park another dozen cars.


jonawebb
Participant
#

I assume you’re talking about the last residence before the carpet shop. That would work pretty well, You could make the alley next to the Mexican restaurant one way to the lot, and exit the lot onto Douglas. It would definitely improve the parking situation in that block. You’d have to do something so people could walk from the lot to Murray through that alley without running into cars.
If you also got some paid spaces in the Niagara lot I could see this working pretty well.


byogman
Member
#

There’d be room for, and great demand for, a healthy ride station just north of Forbes and Murray along the side of the library. Many other good locations scattered throughout squirrel hill. Though, to close the loop, lower stress passage up the main North/South hill would be pretty key to making it work well (the three lane arrangement of Beacon also sucks and changes there would complement changes made to Murray as they run perpendicular-ish and together take you from bottom to top).


byogman
Member
#

Alas, second to last residence before the carpet shop.

The last one? Two years ago or so I think I recall being cursed at, I think in Korean, for using the shared driveway between the two places, so that was entertaining. It was a bit unsightly then but don’t know whether it’s a tear down candidate or not.

I can’t really tell if the alleyway behind schoolhouse yoga or beside the picture framing place is wide enough, but it would be super cool to have a continuously drivable off murray uphill parking horseshoe between just south of Phillips and just south of Hobart.


byogman
Member
#

While we’re talking mid-Murray and improving the bike/ped access, the strangely wide sidewalk in front of Jerry’s might be another opportune healthy-ride station location. A good mid-hill location and good east/west branch point.


byogman
Member
#

Sorry for the slightly frenetic pace of blarging folks, I’m seeing some pieces potentially fitting together into something bigger and am excited. Also, don’t know how long the kids are going to last tonight at that meeting.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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> There’d be room for, and great demand for, a healthy ride station just north of Forbes and Murray along the side of the library.

the part of that block that’s not part of (or relevant to) the driveways for the parking garage under the library is a bus stop. somewhere near there would be good, but i don’t see it going on that block.

maybe around the corner near the actual entrance to the library (either one)?


edmonds59
Participant
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At the mid-block ped crosswalk on Forbes (by the shoe store), I would put a Healthy Ride station right next to the crosswalk on one side and a bike corral on the other side, each on the upstream traffic side of the crosswalk, improve sight lines and safety for peds from motor traffic so people aren’t trying to walk out past a parked car.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I would push for a new midblock crosswalk on Murray right at Giant Eagle, and have the exact same arrangement there. GE has their own parking lot, so any whining about losing a street parking space should be obviated.


byogman
Member
#

Murray and Forbes is the symbol, the beating heart of squirrel hill. There has to be something at that intersection. Even if you have to piss off a church (muttering under my breath about a couple recent happenings).

I really like your idea but I think it’s in the awkward position of being too close to where something has to be already.


Benzo
Participant
#

What? There is a public parking lot off phillips? I never knew. You’re right, the signage for it sucks.


Benzo
Participant
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Just like the public parking lot in bloomfield that’s hidden a block off liberty.

I’d love to see all these little public lots get big old signs with a Parking logo on them as well as wayfinding signs on adjacent corridors directing you to them.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I’d love to get out there and put in a plug for a different issue, creating a connection from Pocusset to Saline St. Being able to get downtown without dealing with traffic in Oakland or Uptown should get some attention. Unfortunately, it’s already 6 p.m. and I have things I have to do tonight, so I’m not going to make it.

Whose ear do I have to bend to get some attention on this?


Ahlir
Participant
#

creating a connection from Pocusset to Saline St

I had a chance to drop in and check things out. The cycling table looked to be the busiest one in the room (though I did come late). Among the displays was a map showing proposed cycling paths. A connection between Pocusset and Saline was one of them.


MaryShaw
Member
#

At this evening’s SHUC open house there was a really good turnout at the bike/ped table. We collected a lot of annotations keyed to map locations about things that could use attention. This will provide a good initial list of things to be done. We also collected a dozen names and contacts of people who would like to be involved in a neighborhood bike/ped committee.

Several contributors to this thread were there (thanks for coming!), and this thread is incorporated in the information collected for use by the committee.

If you were not able to be there and would like to be added to the list, indicate that here and we’ll get you added.

Yes, the connection from Pocusset to Saline St was discussed and supported. Also a possible connection from Forward and Murray to Saline St.


byogman
Member
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Thanks to the SHUC for putting together a good meeting. I have to admit I never strayed from the bike/ped table. My eldest daughter did, and said she had fun, so that was an unexpected win. The doughnut holes smoothed things over for the kiddies too.

The most prolific and cross referenced notes, and the worst handwriting is mine and am happy to clarify anything that was unreadable from that handwriting and my being pulled, metaphorically and literally, in other directions.

Thanks to jonawebb for adding a picture annotation to the earlier (reverse angle parking downhill, bike lane uphill) Murray avenue idea as well as communicating some of the parking ideas from this thread in the uphill direction though I don’t think that got written down?? I also didn’t add any notes about the differential parking pricing because I was out of time and there were already two proposals on Murray (the aforementioned and also just sharrows) and really, mainly, because I was out of time anyway.

It did my heart good to hear from others in person not only that Panther Hollow Rd’s disastrous pedestrian crossing was key, but also Bates, and that I wasn’t even the one who put the note that the path through the “wildflower meadow” needed to be paved. The first two things together (or if available, something better on Panther Hollow Rd. most especially) would more or less establish a credible link replacing what is cut off from squirrel hill now with the bridge going out, and putting the path through the wildflower meadow and a crossing at the top would be terrific follow-on improvements and pedestrian improvements generally.

It was a good group and I very much look forward to what it might accomplish.


edmonds59
Participant
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Ben, your comment about the “beating heart of Sq.Hill” got me thinking, someone should at least throw out the idea of a Shared Space intersection at Forbes and Murray, remove all signals and signage, even though it would’t have a snowballs chance of being constructed. I think the idea needs to start being put out there in the public awareness, that it has been done elsewhere, and works; http://www.citylab.com/commute/2013/04/lots-cars-and-trucks-no-traffic-signs-or-lights-chaos-or-calm/5152/


Marko82
Participant
#

@edmonds. that citylab video is amazing!

There was something in the paper earlier this summer about trying shared-space at the clusterf**k that is stanwix and liberty, but maybe forbes/murray would be an easier sell.


byogman
Member
#

Forbes and Murray is takes a while to get through by car, but it’s pretty good otherwise. A better target for experimentation might be the cluster^&* 5-way at the base of squirrel hill.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I’m intrigued but skeptical. I grew up with roundabouts everywhere, and they’ve doubled in quantity in the years since I left metro Buffalo. The ones that were there in 1965 have not changed at all in that time. They worked well then, they work well now. I’m amazed so few exist here.

These, though, I am less sure about. I want to see some unbiased video in operation. I know I’ve seen video of similar setups in places like Vietnam — with dozens of people traversing the ring, some on bikes, some on foot, throw in a few cars, buses, trucks — but accompanied by a sense of derision, as in “how the actual F does something like this work?”

SqHill-ish, other possible spots for either a roundabout or one of these are Beechwood-Wilkins-Linden, and any corner on Wightman.


jonawebb
Participant
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I think you’d want to do this in some place where there’s a sense that “the rules might be different here.” That’s why the concept works well in Market Square. The different road surface, the constant change in traffic direction, and the open area all announce that there’s something to pay attention to here. I don’t think it would work well at a single intersection like Forbes and Murray, with traffic arriving from different directions. Same for Forward and Murray.


byogman
Member
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I mention it because there’s a lot of space to work with and nobody remotely likes how it works now. Also, as the entrance to squirrel hill from the parkway, it feels like the place to put something distinctive and nice looking.

By connectivity, this should be a very heavy pedestrian area but it’s below average for squirrel hill because of the self reinforcing cycle of anti-pedestrian design and overall crapitude.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Forward and Murray classifies under “if it was possible to get through there in anything other than a car, maybe someone might actually try getting through there in anything other than a car.”

Still, there are lower hanging fruit.


MaryShaw
Member
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Squirrel Hill bike/ped meeting Thursday 12/10 6:30pm

Re-posting from Next Door Squirrel Hill:

Hello Neighbors,
I’m Marshall Hershberg, Coordinator of the new SHUC Bike-Ped neighborhood committee. We are holding the first “official” meeting of this committee Thursday, 12/10/15, 6:30-7:45 PM, in Room 202 of the Jewish Community Center, 5738 Forbes Avenue. We will be discussing the many suggestions/comments about bike-ped matters that were raised at a community meeting SHUC conducted this past October. Please feel free to join us if you can.

He has a 4-page list of the comments people put on the maps at the October meeting

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