Proposed Advisory Board on Bike Lane Infrastructure

*This is a developing story. Scroll down to see ongoing updates.

On Tuesday, Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith took us by surprise with a proposal for an advisory board on bike lane infrastructure that would create guidelines for developing bike lanes and publicly review all bike lane plans prior to installation. The members of this advisory board would include:

  • Director of Mobility and Infrastructure
  • Bike Pedestrian Coordinator
  • Rep from the City County Task Force on Disabilities
  • Bike Pittsburgh representative
  • Director of Planning or designee
  • Director of Public Works or designee
  • Director of Parking Authority or designee
  • Representative of the business community

While we are not at all opposed to the formation of a bicycle advisory committee as they can accomplish a great deal, however, this version seems to be more concerned with oversight than in actually making the city better for biking. The City has already mandated the formation of a Complete Streets Advisory Committee and it is assumed they will be dealing with these same issues and more.

There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel.

The Complete Streets ordinance highlights that the Complete Streets Advisory committee will be, “consulted on an as ­needed basis for large planning projects related to Complete Streets, such as the creation of street design standards for Pittsburgh.” It seems as though the proposed Advisory Board on Bike Lane Infrastructure could be redundant to the Complete Streets Advisory Committee. We believe it would make more sense to focus first on creating the Complete Streets Committee, then monitoring what is needed, if anything, after that committee is established (e.g. subcommittees on each mode of transportation). What we don’t need are two advisory committees focused on similar goals that don’t collaborate with one another.

If the City is going to put the time and effort into establishing a formal committee singling out bicycle policy and infrastructure implementation then it should be based on nationwide best practices. No matter what form this committee ends up taking, it’s important that it focuses on a proactive work plan aligned with the implementation of the forthcoming bike plan that we are eagerly awaiting from City Planning.

BikePGH is in touch with the bill’s sponsor and other council members on this issue in order to help steer this legislation in a direction that is best for Pittsburgh.

Click here to read the full legislation details.

Updates

  • Wednesday, January 11, this bill went to Council for Standing Committee discussion
    • BikePGH provided a statement to Council, stressing that we are not opposed to a Bike Advisory Committee, and actually encourage it, however, we need to make sure it is a) not creating a redundant committee to the forthcoming Complete Streets Committee, b) subscribes to best practices from other cities, c) makes the best use of City staff time, and d) does not apply to projects in the 2017 Capital Budget, that Council already voted on
    • Council held a lively discussion, with Theresa Kail-Smith stressing that the intent of the bill is not to be adversarial to bike lanes, but to make the process better
    • Council voted to hold the bill for a week, and discuss again on January 18
    • BikePGH is actively attempting to work with Council on amending the legislation to reflect best nationwide practices

January 12: News Update:

January 3: In the News:

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