Assuming you all know The News, many of you might be wondering what it might mean for biking and walking. Luke’s leadership in helping make Pittsburgh more bike-friendly will doubtless help define his legacy. While the City had a great trail system in place prior to Mayor Ravenstahl taking office, its only on-street bike lanes looped around Highland Park, Riverview Park, and linked Frick Park via Beechwood Blvd (if that one could even be called a bike lane). Bike racks were virtually nonexistent here, and many people had horror stories of biking in Pittsburgh, which begged the question, “Can Pittsburgh Learn to Love Bikes?”
Today there are over 50 miles of bike lanes and sharrows, and somewhere in the vicinity of 500 bike racks in our business districts and parks including two on-street corrals. We advocated for these efforts, and the Ravenstahl administration made it happen. One of the many positive results from this partnership was a Bronze Bicycle-Friendly Community award given to the City by the League of American Bicyclists. At the ceremony, the Mayor promised to fight for Silver and beyond. While things could still improve greatly for bicyclists and pedestrians, the City has charted a good course.
At yesterday’s press conference the Mayor stressed that it will be business as usual for the next 10 months he remains in office. It goes without saying that we will still work in partnership with the Mayor and his directors to implement major bicycle and pedestrian projects during this time.
Councilman Bill Peduto and Controller Michael Lamb remain in the race. However, with the Mayor bowing out, many more could throw their hats in the ring. An article in today’s Post-Gazette mentioned Council President Darlene Harris, Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess, and State Senator Jim Ferlo as possibile candidates. Moments ago former State Auditor (and City Councilman) Jack Wagner announced he is likely to enter the race as well. We can only hope that each candidate offers a strong and ambitious vision to get Pittsburgh to Platinum and beyond, and address many safety concerns as they relate to pedestrians as well.
Because of our 501(c)3 charitable status, Bike Pittsburgh cannot endorse candidates. What we can do is educate the candidates on the issues most important to us and our thousands of members (2,200 and growing), subscribers (13,000) and followers (6,500 on Twitter and 5,700 on Facebook). We will also give all of the candidates an opportunity to educate our voting constituents about where they stand on our issues.
Later this month we will announce our campaign to reach out to all the candidates in the race for Mayor and City Council. We are excited for this campaign to bring our issues to the forefront, and to work with the various candidates to make our city an even better place to bike and walk. Please stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information.