Eliza Furnace Trailhead -3Hr Parking Limit

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Dangermouse
Member
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Pittsburgh Parking Authority is now enforcing a 3 hour parking limit at the Eliza Furnace Trailhead parking lot. I arrived at 9am and cars were already being ticketed.

The 3 Hr limit will be enforced Monday to Saturday 8am to 6pm, so it looks like this is going to make it unusable for any of us who commute from here to downtown.


Marko82
Participant
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I dont recall seeing any signs with a time limit down there. However there is one sign that says for recreational use, but how is that defined?

Did they put up new signs?


Dangermouse
Member
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New signs are up, but don’t know when. I didn’t see any on Friday, but they are all along the fence by the UPMC lot now.


gg
Member
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Wow, that is sad. That was a nice park and ride for people on bikes. Why would they do that? (insert money here) One would think this region would promote health, but I guess not! I see a lot of people parking in Millvale doing the same thing, but I don’t think the city can do anything about that nice park. Is there any alternative for people wanting to ride the trail into the city?


stefb
Participant
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I still see people park there in the morning and commute in even after the signs went up. That is dumb if they are ticketing.


Benzo
Participant
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Bummer. I wonder if this has anything to do with preventing people from parking here now that the saline st parking is being removed for the bikeway?


The Iguana
Participant
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I noticed the other day a sign (which must have been there for a long time) that said the trailhead parking is for RECREATIONAL users–not that it would be easy to enforce that.

I suspect with the protected lane going in on Saline and the lost free spaces taken by UPMC employees there, they are expected to fill the trailhead lot–and this is an attempt to ‘make them honest.’

Some recreational user (myself included) will spend well over three hours…And if the reason is to keep commuters out, then six hours would still keep them off–hell, 8 hours would keep them off.

Though I think commuters who are legitimately using the trail (not the parking lot)–to walk/bike/blade/fly/… along the trail to Town should be allowed to use the lot.

Lately the lot has filled up very early, and possibly there were complaints. I figured that the nice weather attracted more people to the trail–and it sure looked like a lot of bike racks to me….

With the three hour limit, the lot will be empty during the day. [I haven’t been down there yet, but suspect the limits are till 5PM???]

I wonder if there are restrictions on the SS trailhead under the Birmingham Bridge.

FYI: You may have noticed gates installed at the Pumphouse–that is so they can restrict parking when they have events. But there is an official Waterfront trail access parking lot at the Ladle Car between TGI Fridays and Uno.


Marko82
Participant
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I guess the parking in this lot is in flux with the elimination of the parking along Saline Street (in order to put in the cycle-track). It would be very tempting for a person to park at the trail head and hop on the UPMC shuttle so I guess enforcement of a time limit might be needed at the moment.

Maybe we should have a larger discussion with the city about the need for “park & ride” options for cyclists. (What a great problem!)


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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And I will again raise the issue that if there was a ramp structure at the top of Saline St, near the Greenfield Bridge, to allow a direct connection from Pocusset — and half of the East End — that there would be decreased need for commuter parking.

That new structure in Manchester at Chateau-Beaver-Island is exactly what I am talking about. We need another one to connect Saline to Greenfield/Pocusset in the same manner.


rgrasmus
Member
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I haven’t seen the new signs lately, but I remember reading one of the signs in that lot the other week where it said it was for recreational and commuter use only. I distinctly remember the commuter use only part as I considered it to mean the parking was for use as a biking park & ride and could see confusion when Saline St. parking closes.


byogman
Member
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The best long term answer to scarce parking is to make parking less necessary.

But this one is really ashame… loosing low stress starter option WILL mean fewer people biking.

And I’ve told a lot of people about parking here and riding in so now I have to make sure they know about this.

I think it makes more sense to just charge something nominal and if there’s money for it (or money becomes available from charging), gobble up some spots from the UPMC side.


erok
Keymaster
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to be honest, this is news to me. as far as i know, this is unconnected to the saline stuff, but i have some inquiries in.


gg
Member
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“But this one is really ashame… loosing low stress starter option WILL mean fewer people biking.”

This is no doubt a byproduct of a three hour limit. Three hours is so short. What if someone wanted to spend the day riding and going out to eat in Pittsburgh via bike? Guess they can’t even do that anymore, or they will get a ticket. Shame! Does UPMC have anything to do with this? Are they possibly to blame? I don’t know the lay of the land down there. UPMC wanted to put in a parking lot in Aspinwall’s Marina. They certainly don’t think of neighbors in their area. Thankfully Friends of the Riverfront got it and it is now a park.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Does the idjit who was busting into cars in this lot a couple of years ago, who has a vested interest in something nearby, have anything to do with this? Sorry, I’m too lazy to dig up the details, but IIRC he had it in for cyclists.


steevo
Participant
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This seems to fall in line with a lot of other things the Peduto
administration is doing. They really seem to be trying to come up with
money wherever they can. I have seen tons of examples, but parking
is one of them for sure.


cowchip
Member
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This is insane ?
we need a F@#%$^^% YOur 3 Hr Ride


Vannevar
Participant
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it’s kind of a fascinating problem. So the core-city trails and bike infra are successful enough, and have (or are about to) displaced enough car parking spots, that the first-tier trailhead parking lots have insufficient capacity for demand.

Imagine if everytime somebody wanted to build a trail, the books said: sure, but you have to provide sufficient parking. Hah.

So the tragedy of the commons strikes, and perhaps some commuters who approach from that direction will park at the PumpHouse instead of the JailTrail lot. Oops, that’s getting crowded and gated also. Well, over near EatN’Park, for a while.

When more people learn they can park under the Birmingham Bridge, or up at Western Penitentiary, or Millvale and bike into Downtown and save $10/day, those places will see the same thing.

This is kind of (short-term painful) good news, right? It means things are going the right way, I think.

It’s not too big a stretch to see places like Bicycle Heaven offering parking/coffee/bike commercial services in new places around that first tier zone. Then we’ll see bike commuter facilities that won’t be competing with avid-drivers for parking.

Hey, Bicycle Heaven, you got your ears on? People could leave their bikes at B-H after their commute, they wouldn’t have to take them home on the back of their cars every night. B-H could be the Drive-Bike Coffee Concierge. It would reduce downtown congestion, etc.


The Iguana
Participant
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The signs are not quite consistent. One says:

“This lot is reserved for recreational bikers. This is not a UPMC Employee Lot. Please use a UPMC designated lot.”

Another says;

“For Trail Recreational and Commuting Use Only”

And of course the three hour limit limits recreation and prevents commuting.

If the City wants to raise money, they could easily meter the lot with the new meter system…

So I think the Junction Hollow lot by the soccer fields will be next….I didn’t check–maybe they have three hour limit signs as well–anyone know…


The Iguana
Participant
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It looks like the Birmingham Bridge Parking is going away soon…September until May 2017:
http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/news/2014/06/26/parking-under-birmingham-bridge-to-close-during.html


gg
Member
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The Birmingham Bridge has nothing to do with this topic and of course you shouldn’t park there if they are repairing it. Overspray on a car? Anyway, back to the subject, I feel metering at a lower rate could be an option, but I personally don’t want any meter and feel the city should encourage cycling. Just the health benefits alone. I am pretty disgusted about this. I never used that lot, but I want to see encouragement for those that want to try cycling. It leads to riding a bike from home. There needs to be a stepping stone and a park and ride is great for that. Now it is gone!


mjyc
Member
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I use that lot as a park-and-ride 2-4 days/week. I wrote a letter to Corey O’Connor, District 5 Councilman (for Greenfield/Hazlewood) and also the Chair for Urban Recreation. I referenced this thread, so hopefully our concerns are voiced and considered. If I receive a reply, I will post it!


Marko82
Participant
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Thanks Iguana, I was unaware that the 18th street lots were going off line and although I dont use them it’s good info to know.

And dont forget that the area also lost the lot at the bottom of the Duqesene incline which was recently converted into payed parking. Granted this lot is not owned by the city, but it does contribute to the problem of being able to drive to the edges then bike into the city.

Just like PAT has the park-n-ride lots to facilitate transit use, we need to have established parking lots near the trails that will facilitate car-n-cycle commuting, not just weekend recreation.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Yes, to reiterate for anyone not often on this board:

**Keep cars out of downtown!!**

ANYTHING to get people to get downtown without dragging a two-ton tin can with them, helps everyone. You WANT people to park way out (like here) and bike in.


Mikhail
Member
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Just like PAT has the park-n-ride lots to facilitate transit use, we need to have established parking lots near the trails that will facilitate car-n-cycle commuting, not just weekend recreation.

And bike infrastructure going out of the city way into suburbs. Then people would ride more during weekends and use it during commuting. It’s pretty amazing to see how many people ride on weekends on those trails but afraid to use roads.

PS Someone is counting people on EFT. :) Would those numbers be released to the public?


Dangermouse
Member
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Just got a reply back from the Mayor’s Office this morning:

“Thank you for your feedback for Mayor Peduto. We have discussed this with the Parking Authority. They are enforcing this because the lot fills up everyday by 9am with commuters and leaves no room for those that want to use the trail mid-day for recreational purposes. We hope to discuss alternatives that allow for both uses.”

Got to love the logic here.


gg
Member
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Not much logic. 3 hours? There are countless recreational users that would be gone much longer than 3 hours. Don’t they know people ride a bike to a restaurant and enjoy a meal and then casually ride back? Seems they are taking money out of restaurant owners pockets as well.

What an odd thing to do!


czarofpittsburgh
Member
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I can understand some of the logic here. The parking along Saline St. that will be eliminated for the protected lane is full of people who parked there for free in order to take the bus into Downtown. With the loss of that parking, I would imagine there’d be a huge push of those displaced commuters coming into the EFT lot to park and take the bus in.

Ideally, this lot should exist for anyone riding a bike on the EFT for any length of time and for any purpose. I don’t know how to enforce that though. Letting the EFT lot become a park-and-ride lot for people who don’t want to pay to park downtown is a bad idea. It would be nice if there were some mechanism that could allow only bicycle commuters and recreational riders to use the lot.


Pierce
Participant
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Was the lot filling up before they got rid of the Saline St parking? If I have to choose between a bike lane I didn’t need in an area where I’ve never encountered hostile traffic or longer than three hour parking for people riding their bikes, I choose the latter


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Again, putting a bike-climbing ramp in at the top of Saline — like the north end of the Fort Duquesne Bridge, like the new one in Manchester at Beaver/Chateau/Island, like the one over to Washington’s Landing —
would open up much of the East End to direct travel downtown.

Can someone figure out where all these people are coming from? Solve the upstream problem.

Seems there would be plenty of space all over Hazelwood to warehouse a few dozen to a couple hundred cars for a few weeks until we iron this out. If there are legitimate reasons not to, then please spell them out.


rgrasmus
Member
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They haven’t even gotten rid of Saline St parking yet. The only influx I have seen is just weather related (ie summer = more bikers). Nearly all cars I’ve ever seen parked there have bike racks on their trunks. 3 hours clearly is not enough time.


jonawebb
Participant
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Maybe somebody could figure out where else folks commuting downtown can park and ride in, and print up some flyers. We have enough of a trail network that I would guess other lots might be accessible — right?


byogman
Member
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I’m surprised by how few points I’ve seen for on trail parking. Doesn’t have to be free (though it helps!), but attractively cheap, at least, is vitally important. Would be a good public service to map those out, I’m sure there are more than I know about.

Park and bike in could be a pretty major mixed mode option here if given a little intentional support. A lot of people don’t mind riding a bike if they’re not battling hills and dodging cars.


Ahlir
Participant
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I feel like I’m missing something here but can’t this all be fixed by modifying the begin-end time of the 3h parking to something like 9-5, or 10-4? Maybe even make the period 4h. People who use the lot for workday parking will be suitably inconvenienced and will have to park elsewhere (since they will always need ~8h of parking) but weekday recreational riders should do ok (well, as long as they’re back by noon or 1pm, or don’t get there before 1-2pm). Paid parking with the first 3h free also sounds good.

For that matter, why not make only one side of the lot restricted? Recreationals get their daytime access and commuters have to get there earlier or simply park elsewhere. But I’m not a traffic engineer so I may be missing something.

I sympathize with commuters who would like to park there and bike in, but that’s not the purpose of the lot. There are nearby options: Saline goes up a ways and though I haven’t looked recently it never looked all that parked up. So why not there? (Unless it’s already permitted, I suppose.)

The park’n’bike issue is a separate one that the city (and adjoining districts) need to address directly.

Another random idea: Sandcastle has a huge parking lot. Why not turn part of it into weekday paid parking? It’s right on a trail. And probably could contribute an order of magnitude more parking spaces.


erok
Keymaster
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i have a feeling this has more to do with UPMC employees who (i believe) have to pay to park in the UPMC lot to take the shuttle, and are opting to park in the “free” section because they know there was no one enforcing it. The city needs to figure out a way to designate between “trail” users and non, so adding a time limit is probably the easiest way to do this using the tools that they have.


The Iguana
Participant
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If it is UPMC commuters that are eating up the spaces, then the UPMC shuttle driver could enforce it by making sure all the passengers have paid to park in their lot.


steevo
Participant
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My friend and his 78 year old dad regularly park and ride more than 3 hours.
This also kills revenue for businesses that stand to profit from
People riding the trail and stopping
Along the way and eating or buying
Things.


The Iguana
Participant
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So far the Junction Hollow lot is not restricted–it’s about .5 miles from EFT–I wonder if that is too much for the (health unconscious) UPMC employees to walk. Also street parking in the area away from the new protected bike lanes.

Riverfront Park and the Waterfront–though possibly less inconvenient for some–could take up some of the slack–I used Riverfront Park today.

And keep in mind that the trail is multi-use and that some of the users (recreation/commuters) use the trail for running, blading. and walking…it’s not all bikes…


gg
Member
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steveo, that is what came to my mind on my earlier post. Lots of people make a day out of the trail/city, so the 3 hour limit is a killer for enjoying the city on bike from that spot. It is STUPID all the way around. Why don’t they discuss these things with the cycling community before spending money? Last I checked, brainstorming and less chest pounding brings a good result, instead of total stupidity!

Sorry that your 78 year old friend can’t enjoy the city anymore. I guess that is what the mayor calls progress!


steve k
Participant
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I’m all for this parking lot not being abused by people parking all day every day so they can park for free for work. I also understand the idea of not being limited to a three hour ride downtown and around everything else to be enjoyed by others.

But really, I think there are plenty of alternatives for those looking for a long term parking arrangement. I’m pretty sure the run has plenty of parking and is not permit. This is similar to the Panther Hollow parking lot. The lot at the EFT trailhead is small. Can we make the lot for the trail bigger or just ease access to the trail from other parking alternatives (not that I’m advocating using residential parking but it appears there is more parking available in the run than is required by the residents.) I think only one of these options is feasible considering who the other section of the parking lot is for…


salty
Participant
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When I want to ride on the EFT I ride my bike there.

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