Safe Trips in the Strip – History
Every Pittsburgh resident deserves streets that are safe and accessible, no matter how they choose to get around
In 2014, the outbound lane on Penn Avenue was converted to a protected bidirectional bike lane, something that BikePGH wholeheartedly supported. At the time, former Mayor Peduto expressed the need to extend the bike lanes into the surrounding neighborhoods so that they would see their full potential. This gave us hope that the City was working on the vital connection to Lawrenceville and Bloomfield – neighborhoods with some of the highest bike commuter rates in the City.
This should be an easy commute
Despite the clear popularity of the project, there has been little progress on extending the Penn Ave bike lane, nor on any eastward alternative. In 2017, there was a brief hope that a safe connection along Smallman Street would be created after the public process that led to the Stoss plan in early 2017. This plan created a completely new vision for the street and was supported by stakeholders including BikePGH. However, few of the ideas in this plan are being pursued.
New Development, New Jobs, Autonomous Cars
Recently, multiple housing developments, new offices, and autonomous vehicle testing have increased the motorized traffic in this same corridor. While job and residential growth can be positive, there has been no plan to manage this increased traffic demand on our streets.
As the saying goes, if we plan for cars what we get is more cars, if we plan for people we get more people. If we increase the number of people living and working in a neighborhood without providing safe biking and walking facilities, people will drive and park wherever they can. To complicate matters, if we allow companies to test autonomous vehicles without providing bike lanes we are further putting people in harm’s way.
Providing safe and connected bikeways and sidewalks will ensure that jobs and amenities are available to all, regardless of the ability to pay for a car.
We Need Your Help
Extending the Penn Ave bike lanes will serve more residents while helping reduce the traffic burden that the new developments and autonomous vehicles have created. We can solve multiple problems at the same time by making
Thousands of Pittsburghers travel to and through the Strip every day on their commutes and for shopping and visiting. Yet roads in the Strip remain some of the most confusing, aggressive, and dangerous. A project to make the Strip easily and safely accessible for pedestrians and bicyclists began in 2014 but was never completed.
As the Strip and surrounding areas boom, and as we emerge from the pandemic as a city excited to reinvigorate and reconnect, now is the time to finish the job and complete this crucial transportation infrastructure.
Timeline and media
- City proposes to redesign every major street in the Strip District – includes outbound bike lanes on Smallman St and inbound bike lanes on Penn Ave
- Mayor Gainey’s draft 2024 Capital Budget includes money to build bike lanes on Smallman St and Penn Ave – Stay tuned and be sure to sign up for our Strip District email list for the most up to date information
- City completes Strip District Parking Study. Finds 10,300 parking spaces in the Strip (7,000 not available to the public) and recommends bike lanes on Smallman St
- The City is awarded $2M from the Federal CMAQ program to go toward completing the Allegheny River Green Blvd
- Launch of #ExtendPenn campaign
- Pittsburgh City Paper: Bike Advocates Call for Extending the Penn Ave Bike Lane Through the Strip District
- Making the Case: Strip District Roads Ceded to Autonomous Vehicles
- 1000 Signatures and Counting for the #ExtendPenn Petition
- Making the Case: Whatever happened to the Allegheny River Green Boulevard?
- We reach 2000 signatures (and counting)
- July 31: Smallman Street Public Meeting and Live tweet of the event
- WESA: The Plan to Reconfigure Smallman St that No One is Happy About
- Pittsburgh City Paper: Are Pittsburgh City Planners Overestimating How Many People Drive to the Strip?
- WESA: Cyclists Clamor for a Safe Route in the Strip; Looking Back May Provide a Solution
- Aug.22: City hosts special meeting about Smallman St redesign and how they plan to #ExtendPenn and Live tweet from the meeting
- Trib: Merchants, bicyclists want to be heard before City overhauls Strip District’s Smallman St
- Trib Opinion, Joseph Sabino Mistick: Respect past while welcoming future in Strip District
- City hosts third public meeting about Smallman St (16-21). They have decided to install bike lanes along this corridor, with plans to connect them to the Penn Ave bike lanes. What happens east of 21st is still up for debate, as we await results of a traffic and parking study of the corridor
- WESA: After Advocates Complained, City Says Bike Lanes Are Coming To Smallman Street
- Four ways you can make an impact to #ExtendPenn
- Guest Blog Post: The fastest way to get to and from Downtown is by bicycle
- Guest Blog Post: Help Cyclists Feel Welcome and Safe
- Guest Blog Post: A Voice From Amsterdam: Cycling Through the Strip Should Be Easy