By Jon Schmitz / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“It’s cheap, it’s easy and it works,” said the sign in consultant Jeff Olson’s office — a reference to making public streets and roads safer for bicycling.
Mr. Olson, who has designed bike improvements all over the world for Portland, Ore.-based Alta Planning + Design, pedaled through Pittsburgh’s East End on Tuesday as part of the city’s effort to gather input for the next generation of improvements aimed at increasing its transportation options and helping two-wheelers and four-wheelers to better coexist.
The timing was apropos but totally coincidental, coming in the aftermath of a spate of bike-vehicle crashes that included two fatalities. The city already had planned a series of community rides, before the crashes, to hear comments and suggestions that might be incorporated into its long-range transportation plan.
“What does Pittsburgh want its transportation infrastructure to look like 25 years from now?” asked Stephen Patchan, the city’s bike-pedestrian coordinator, who led a sweaty midday ride with Mr. Olson through East Liberty, Shadyside, Oakland, Squirrel Hill and Homewood. Several dozen riders participated in the series of five tours over three days.
Tuesday’s excursion demonstrated that although Pittsburgh was laid out in the horse-and-buggy era and evolved through decades of nearly singular devotion to the internal-combustion engine, there is plenty of room for bicycles in many of its corridors.
Get ready for BikeFest, a fifteen-day celebration of bicycling, August 5th-19th. The activities kick off with Pedal Pittsburgh on August 5th’ which includes a car-free section and a finish line festival. On August 10th the Bike Fest Party returns to the Pittsburgh Opera in the Strip District.