Allegheny Dreamin'

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Anonymous #

I know there’s probably a good chance I’ll get laughed at or told that someone already had this idea, but here goes…

Has anyone ever considered lobbying/advocating for the addition of a Bike lane, to that Bus-way that runs from Edgewood, all the way downtown?

You really get the full effect of just how awesome it would be, by unfolding the paper trail map and tracing the length of the bus-way all the way along its east-West trajectory. It would be like a Bicycle Superhighway!

Is it possible? Would it work? Who has intimate knowledge of that Bus-way route and surface? I would love to hear from anyone and get a reality check on the actual route/surface itself. Specifics such as pavement quality, Bus-way width, traffic lights, etc…

Thanks for reading and for your assistance.


boostuv
Participant
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You want to trust your life in the hands of a port authority driver with no one else around to see an possible incidents? I sure as hell dont.


Anonymous #

StuInMcCandless
Participant
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It’s been suggested. It won’t fly. That isn’t to say it hasn’t been done, though.

Sunday, May 22, 1983, bicycles owned the busway. The event was a bike-a-thon fundraiser. The busway had recently opened, and was not yet in use for operation on Sundays. That was the last day buses *didn’t* use the busway. I was involved in helping stage the event.

But as to the question, the busway is not designed to have anything on it other than buses. It is not wide enough, and especially in that area behind Shadyside Hospital, barely fits at all.


Vannevar
Participant
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It is an excellent suggestion though. From a bike perspective it would rock.


steevo
Participant
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There was a lot of shenanigans on the bus

way when PAT went on strike in 89 or 90. haha


Anonymous #

What about the city of Pittsburgh closing certain roads on Sundays to cars and making it a weekly event for bicyclists to come into town without fear of cars? There would be minimal or no additional costs in terms of police, and, if handled correctly, it can be done without disruption of traffic, and small store owners can make some money. The pop up program supporting stores such as Awesome books and some of the art galleries and restaurant owners would probably benefit from it. It could really be such a cool thing. If I am correct, Bike Pittsburgh is involved with Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership so maybe the city will listen to the idea. All the city would have to do is figure out a way to connect the trails to some bridges and roads through town without shutting everything down, so there is no opposition.


Anonymous #

I just think that this would do a lot to place bicyclists into the consciousness of people so that they would open their minds to other bicycling related projects and development. I envision sunny spring, summer and fall afternoons with all types of people hanging in the city, cruising around having fun. Add some free music and art and cool food-it could be a beautiful thing!! People who previously never thought of hopping on a bike with friends, spouses, partners, significant or not-so-significant others would see no cars, perhaps envy the fun and try it without fear of cars!! This CAN happen!!


edmonds59
Participant
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Maybe, probably, this has been thought of or mentioned but I’ll go anyway.

Why not plant the idea somewhere of closing the East and West busways and any HOV lanes on all Sundays, maybe Saturdays too, and letting people ride, walk, and run on them. There’s hardly justification for their usage on weekends, other than as ready-made weekend trails. Wouldn’t help bike commuters but I bet it would encourage tons of recreational use. It could be like an every week Sunday streets that would be completely invisible to motorists.


Anonymous #

Are you sure there isn’t enough room on the busway? I never really looked that close, but it seems huge. The only way it would work is if cyclists had a barrier between them and the busses. There are no doubt some bus drivers that really hate us, but not all, just enough to make me extremely cautious around them.


melange396
Participant
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@freakflag51: a cyclovia is an awesome idea!

edmonds59’s suggestion sounds super cool, too. how do we make that happen???


Anonymous #

HOV lanes open on Sunday would be great. I can’t speak to gg’s legitimate concerns about the buses, but I know I am afraid of them. I routinely get buses coming off of the smithfield street bridge behind me who terrorize me. I can imagine what a bus on the HOV lane would be like. To address liability concerns/objections, maybe users can sign a waiver. I do not know if this is possible, but maybe PAT can get a tax write-off for”donating” the use of the lanes every weekend to a non-profit like Bike Pittsburgh, so they have a financial incentive to agree and know they can’t get sued.


Anonymous #

Thanks for CYCLOVIA melang396! I was not aware of that term until you enlightened me. Love it! CYCLOVIA PITTSBURGH 2013

I assume the BikePGH powers-that-be are aware of this/these ideas. Any input from above how to get this done? Do you think PAT and the City of PGH would be open to these ideas?


Mick
Participant
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The East busway really does get used on weekends.

When I lived near the East Busway, I’d stand out waiting and a bunch of “express” buses would pass by without stopping. Then after a long wait, an East Busway all stops articulated bus crammed to the gills would stop by.


Anonymous #

I genuinely appreciate the feedback, positive and negative. I think from a logic standpoint, the bus-ways have to be older road sections converted for use as a bus-way. That being the case, they would have to be at least two lanes wide. I know it’s easy to spew ideas but it would seem with Pittsburgh cycling advocacy and local government participation, it could somehow be possible, if not in the very short term. And definitely a route worth having if it could be available for safe use.

I’d agree with a barrier of separation and probably at some point, some extra lighting here and there. People talk about the danger of bus drivers but at least they’re professionals. Look how many auto drivers you put your back to, every single ride. And I doubt any bus driver has ever dismounted and attacked anyone with a knife, either.

I have been to Bogota’ many times and had the good fortune to have a bicycle -two, actually. Cyclo-Via was a fun way to spend a Sunday and hit some great pavement and even trails, if you knew where to find them. And of course, Colombianas…

Again, thanks for the input and if anyone has a burst of genius on how to implement any or all of this, pass it on. I look forward to hearing more from you.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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Stu can check me on this, but my understanding is that most of the busway ROW is old railway that had to be pried out of Conrail’s cold, dead hands; there was no roadway there before the Busway was built. (If you look at old aerials/satellite photos, there used to be several times as much rail in that ravine as there is now.) As the fight to widen 28 also showed, Port Authority are often lucky to have gotten as much width out of the railway as they did.

(As for the auto drivers I put my back to, they aren’t driving a 20- or 30-ton vehicle at 50+ mph, which is the posted limit along most of the East Busway away from the station stops.)


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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buffalo buffalo is right. Both E & W Busways are old rail ROWs; I’m less certain about the S Busway but it might well have been a rail or perhaps an interurban. No, there wasn’t space to put in anything more than two lanes of pavement. On the W-Bwy, the Berry St Tunnel had to be re-bored just to get two lanes. It had been a single track.

There was some talk about putting a bike lane in alongside the W-Bwy when it was still in ink-and-paper form, but it never came to fruition. Even at that, we would only have had Carnegie to Crafton. A case could be made that there’s space to put one in there, but there’s still that small mountain between Crafton and Sheraden.

Really, lose the idea of gaining Busway access on any of the three. I recently had a pretty detailed description of the hoop jumping that routine maintenance workers have to go through on a daily basis. That’s just for simple stuff like changing burned out light bulbs — one day, one crew, one spot.

Choose your battles. This isn’t one of them. Plenty of fruit on lower branches.


Steven
Participant
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The Wabash Tunnel isn’t very low-hanging fruit, but it’s a lot lower than the busways. PAT owns both, but:

Unlike the busways, PAT doesn’t run any buses through the Wabash.

Unlike the busways, the Wabash doesn’t contribute to PAT’s revenue. In fact it’s a drain.

Unlike the busways, the Wabash never carries very much traffic of any kind.

Unlike the busways, the Wabash is considered too narrow to carry two lanes of car traffic, so almost half its width is unused at all times.

If PAT is unwilling to put a bike path through the Wabash (and that’s been their position so far), there’s no way they’d consider retrofitting one onto a busway.

On the other hand, some day PAT might need to complete rebuild a busway, or build a new one. That would be the time to press for engineering that adds a bike path to the design. Bear in mind, PAT added a bike/pedestrian path to (most of) the East Busway extension they opened in 2003, so this is doable if they’re approached at the design stage.


jonawebb
Participant
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@steven agree with the difficulty of getting any change in the busway, but, unlike the Wabash tunnel, if the busway was opened to bikes, it would be filled the next day with cyclists. The Wabash tunnel needs a connection at the other end to safer roads than Sawmill Run to be used by riders uncomfortable with risk. And even then it will take time before many residents of the South Hills start riding bikes to downtown. It’s natural to search for a way to open up a safe, direct route between downtown and the East End, since that’s where the need is right now. And given Pittsburgh’s geography and narrow roads any such route is going to require giving up some space currently used by motorized vehicles to bicycles.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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> if the busway was opened to bikes, it would be filled the next day with cyclists.

part of the point is, the busway is already filled with buses. The P1 (EBA) runs more than a hundred times a day from Swissvale to Downtown–and that’s just one route, one direction.


jonawebb
Participant
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@buffalo, I know. I think there are about 5 routes between the East End & Downtown: the Parkway, Boulevard of the Allies, Forbes, Center, and Bigelow, not counting the busway. Excepting Center, which I don’t know much about, every one of these routes is in heavy use and cannot safely be used by bikes. So either we don’t get a safe route to downtown, or some compromise has to be made between motorists and cyclists. I vote for making things a little more inconvenient for drivers to make things a lot better for cyclists. I agree, the busway seems to be at least as hard as any other route to change. But there has to be some compromise somewhere. For example, what about improving Center as a route for motorists to use, and adding a bike lane to Forbes?


Steven
Participant
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think there are about 5 routes between the East End & Downtown

Don’t forget the jail trail.

And much of Forbes is pretty safe for bikes (not that it couldn’t be safer). I’d say Forbes is fine for bikes in Uptown, but needs work around the Birmingham Bridge. Through Oakland it’s a mixed bag, with room for improvement, but I wouldn’t describe that part or the parts farther east as “cannot safely be used by bikes”.


jonawebb
Participant
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@steven I don’t have a problem riding on Forbes but I think a lot of people would be uncomfortable with the traffic there. My belief is that for most folks there have to be at least bike lanes, preferably separated, to feel safe.

When I was listing routes I was thinking for cars. And the jail trail is in any case not connected to Oakland via any kind of safe route, nor is it that direct from most of the East End.


Anonymous #

Buffalo, those buses certainly weigh more than any car but I wonder if you could really tell the difference when it runs you over? If anything it seems as though the Buses are a more-humane end for any cyclist. Fascinating that the Bus-Way used to be a Railway; that’s a Wild Card that I probably wouldn’t have guessed but I will check out the photos.

Stu, you have been a wealth of information and I figured someone had to know all of that. Thanks for taking the time to provide your input.

Steven, I think your comments regarding Timing, and the merits of being included/involved with the Planning are on-target. I also try to adhere to the philosophy that ‘No’ doesn’t actually mean ‘No’, it just means ‘Not Right Now’. From the newcomer’s perspective, the advocacy group is here in town seems to be doing a superb job improving conditions for cyclists. I’ve been riding in town quite a bit for the last couple of years and thoroughly appreciate what Pittsburgh has to offer.

I’m going to try and look at some of the places you all have mentioned, on the map, thanks again.


dbacklover
Participant
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I understand how nice it would be to be able to take your bikes on the busways…

Wait a minute, you already can, I do it all the time. Multi-Modal is not just a word with a hyphen and alliteration. What we need are bike lanes in the outer circle to allow people to ride safely to the busway, then they can throw their bikes on the bus and head into town. (like some of us do all the time)

I have heard people here talking about the stigma of riding the bus. (which is why we have to many cars on the road) Do cyclist suffer from the same stigma?


melange396
Participant
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>And the jail trail is in any case not connected to Oakland via any kind of safe route

junction hollow trail to joncaire isnt safe??


jonawebb
Participant
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@melange, maybe “safe” isn’t the right word. I think very few people would ride Joncaire St willingly. I avoid it. Steep Polish brick streets are not what we’re looking for to get more folks riding.


Steven
Participant
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My belief is that for most folks there have to be at least bike lanes, preferably separated, to feel safe.

But that’s a bit of a different issue. Before, you were saying “cannot safely be used by bikes”. That’s different from “some riders won’t feel safe”, which has to do with perceptions (at least in part).

Making an unsafe road safe is a different sort of project than showing people that a fairly safe road is safe. The first usually requires traffic engineers and heavy equipment. The second can be done to an extent with paint, signs, or group rides.

(Of course, it’s all a continuum, and there’s no such thing as “safe” or “unsafe”, just more safe and less safe.)

Also, Junction Hollow trail to Craig Street gets you into Oakland pretty safely. Admittedly it’s not direct if you’re heading to the western part of Oakland.


jonawebb
Participant
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@steven, fair enough.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Downtown to Oakland via anything other than a car is under study by the city as part of the MovePgh project. Lots of space on Forbes, if you lose the idea of it having to have two driving lanes and two parking lanes.

People here are probably tired of hearing me say this, but if we ALL set a goal of having the Pittsburgh of a generation from now be as vibrant and economically viable it is now *without using cars to do it*, the better.

The thing about goals, you don’t have to necessarily achieve the goal perfectly, but if you go off in another direction, you’re not striving toward that goal.

Dreams are just goals not written down.


jonawebb
Participant
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@stu, not tired.


helen s
Participant
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I have taken all 4 of the ways from Oakland to Panther Hollow- I feel they are all safer than most streets in Oakland.


Anonymous #

@val there is a big difference. It’s possible to do with car — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJz2VTg2rkU and no way to do it with bus. Moreover, I had my foot ran over by a small car with no damage at all (yeah it heart for a minute but after I was able to my regular training session without a problem). As a matter of fact I kicked the car and did more damage to it rear fender than car did to me. Boy, I was pissed off.


Anonymous #

In my mind regular Cyclovia event is possible if everyone can assist bike pgh and find a way to coordinate with the other outdoor activity and cultural organizations in this city.

Bike fest, being the closest event we have is amazing. But alone has it’s limits being associated with a single interest group. My experience with Cyclovia is that there is something for everyone to participate in. And this is why thousands turn out on a regular basis.

Thousands turning out on a regular basis is what it will take to gain a significant respect of those who work for US in elected positions. If not, Their political career should be non existent.

I truly respect and am very thankful for everything that has been and will be accomplished by the BPgh staff and members. Hopefully this is not taken as throwing a pile of steaming shit at anyone.

Everyone is trying and making things the best they can. But I don’t like the non-exhaustive excuses of why this city cannot provide a adequate amount of even something simple as paint on a street and support both the education and enforcement of cyclist/driver safety.

To continue, I find myself rather cynical about significant projects taking multiple decades to complete. This is is appeasement loop and not progress in my eyes.

A large portion of Lawrenceville was demolished and reconstructed with a massive world class hospital in less time. Private sector? Maybe? But if it is really is that big of a hassle for the city to paint lines I am sure there is at least a dozen people willing to go out and do it at no cost.

Just Stamp a paper giving the permission.

I wish! And as citizens we deserve this. But in the meantime, it is up to all of us to come up with ideas and keep growing from the ground up. I think it would be really helpful to have other organizations have our back and in return have theirs.

Also make bike fest every day!

That is all the poorly written garbage I have for today. Who needs a drink?


ieverhart
Participant
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Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is on the record as supporting a ciclovia here. Perhaps his office could grease some of the wheels to make this happen.

10. Would you work to get more bike/ped safety projects underway in the county? If so, what would be your focus?

Yes. I would like to one day have a ‘Ciclovia’ in Allegheny County. Cities across the America have opened roadways to bikers and walkers and I believe an event in our region would be a great boost for encouraging more outdoor recreation in our region.

http://bike-pgh.org/campaigns/bicycle-advocacy/bike-the-vote-2011-county-executive-rich-fitzgerald/


Anonymous #

The success of cyclovia/ciclovia in Pittsburgh would hopefully open up the eyes and ears of the public, politicians and transportation officials to all of these suggestions/ ideas concerning safer bicycling commuter routes, use of the Wabash tunnel, the hov lanes, etc. If retail and other city businesses, bars/ restaurants get on board and show the economic benefits, maybe we can use cyclovia as one stepping stone to bigger and badder things.

There is an upcoming Mayor’s race. It looks like Misters Lamb, Peduto, Ravenstahl, maybe more, have to make the rounds looking for votes. If we interject this into their heads during the campaign and at least get them to entertain the idea, maybe it can become policy.


Anonymous #

I spoke to City Controller Mike Lamb about his thoughts on Cyclovia in Pittsburgh. He was enthusiastic about it. He was in Barcelona during a cyclovia there and said it was fantastic. He really understood it and talked about it enthusiastically. We went back and forth about what streets would be utilized and he threw out Grant street because of its connection to the jail trail. He kicked around the names of other downtown streets with the idea of making a loop over to the Noth side from Grant street and connect to the trail on the Northside but still have some streets open to traffic so people can’t bitch about that. We also discussed the people it would bring into the city and the economic benefits, but also talked about police costs and liability concerns. He was definitely into it, but candidly admitted he was unsure of what it would take from the City to put it together.

Now we know Rich Fitzgerald is on record suporting a cyclovia event, and Mike Lamb is definitely enthisiastic, having seen firsthand how a city benefits. If someone out there knows Bill Peduto or any other candidates, would you raise the issue with him/them? The more public officials we talk to and make them understand what this event is and how it is such a cool thing, the better chance we have of actually having our own CYCLOVIA PITTSBURGH


jonawebb
Participant
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FF, totally awesome!


edmonds59
Participant
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The mental vision I have had for some time for a Cyclovia here would be to close Fifth Ave from Penn to Bigelow in Oakland. Flat, wide, connects bunches of Universities, churches, convenient alternate routes, accessible to major neighborhoods, FLAT, many positives.


Anonymous #

I would love to hear from everyone with their ideas on routes for cyclovia,or ANY ideas on cyclovia. I am sure there are HUNDREDS of great ideas floating out in BikePgh space.

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