PennDOT wants your input
PennDOT is soliciting comments and prioritization input from all of us, we should all go to http://penndotstc.metroquest.com/, and tell them where bike lanes need improvement, etc.. And share the comments you make here, please.
Their survey does not force you to answer every question; you could go straight to section 4, add a bicycle icon and comment to the map, then click Next and Submit, and be done.
Some comments I added there included:
need good bike connection across the Glenwood Bridge to connect Duck Hollow Trail & Hazelwood Trail on right (north) bank of the Mon with GAP trail on left (south) bank. Model it on the Hot Metal Bridge, downstream.
Add a bicycle path (separated from traffic by a curb or jersey barrier or plastic delineators) from the Ft Pitt Bridge to Coraopolis (where it would connect with the Montour Trail). A teenage girl on a bicycle was struck by a car and died on route 51 a few months ago (not on this section, but at the Sewickley Bridge, downstream from here).
PennDOT is soliciting public input on the state’s multimodal transportation system (car, truck, rail freight, transit, bike, ped).
Go to http://paontrack.com/ , click on Comment Here.
I nominate these issues for discussion:
* provisions for bicyclists and pedestrians on Route 51,
* Fort Pitt Bridge sidewalks – keeping them clear of obstacles.
what did I miss?
“provisions for bicyclists and pedestrians on Route 51”
Provisions for bicyclist safety along all PA state bike routes.
If they are not safe for bicyclists, they should be made safer or rerouted. If they are re-routed, the state should work with local advocacy organizations (like bike-pgh and bicycle coalition of greater philadelphia), PA walks and Bikes, and National League of Cyclists for help in developing a statewide bike plan.
Regardless, there should be a statewide bike plan if there is not yet one. If there is one, it should be updated if it is more than 10 years old.
“Fort Pitt Bridge sidewalks – keeping them clear of obstacles.”
All bridge sidewalks – keep them clear of obstacles and signage when performing construction. Make this clear in contracts with contractors, with penalties of fines for every day that the sidewalks are blocked to provide a deterrent.
What I want to see does not require a shovel or a truck, but rather paper and policy.
I will probably go there and comment, but
Why do I kind of feel like my dog when I wind up my invisible ball and throw it across the yard, and laugh and laugh as the dumb dog sniffs all over the place for a ball that doesn’t exist?
One swing of the axe doesn’t do much, but 100 swings can cut down a tree.
From the PA On Track report:
Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities – Respondents commented that transportation planning needs to
focus on the movement of people over vehicles. Improved bicycle and pedestrian connections to other modes, particularly public transit centers, and to community centers are desired in order to
increase mobility options. Investments in these modes improve health and wellness, and can help address congestion and mobility.
Ok, I think they got it half right. It’s connections to everywhere, not just transit hubs and community centers that’s needed. Rural people need to get to other rural places, urban to suburban, etc. In other words, we need to get to the places the people in the metal boxes are going to – all of them! (well, maybe not the gas station – unless they sell snacks)
As a Pittsburgh resident I’ll point here, though bicycling is up all over: http://bikepgh.org/2014/09/23/new-census-numbers-show-pittsburgh-has-the-nations-largest-bike-commuter-jump-since-y2k/
It’s true that in some outlying areas, bicycles don’t make much sense. But in dense urban areas, they’re in many ways the best form of individual transit since the vehicles take up so little road space preventing jams, don’t tend to circle dense areas looking for parking, and can better get around (rather than reinforce) what jams do arise. Also, encouraging more in the mix saves money in the long term due to their low weight and the non-linearity between wear and vehicle axle weight.
So I’ll ask you to live up to your name (transportation, not implicitly motor vehicle centric) and the nice icon at the top of this page showing a variety of modes, pedestrian first, and mind pedestrian safety and make crossings easier for them and safe passage generally easier for folks without a safety cage by considering calming selective route sections rather than just going by motor vehicle “level of service” as a guide.
Such calming is always important but it’s especially vital when passing through high value business districts, when there’s no parallel dedicated facility, or when there are substantial topographical advantages to staying on that particular roadway. A key sore point example would be ignoring the feedback of the bicycling community in plans for Carson street. This is exactly the type of mistake that just can’t be repeated.
I’d also like to propose consistent consideration of bicycles (and other wheeled, low power transport) in center line re-painting on any segment of roadway with a gradient exceeding 2%. It just makes a categorical difference in practical relative velocities and therefore how well different modes mix (see http://bikecalculator.com/) because crossing the center line is often not feasible and even when it is, many motorists resist because it goes against what they’ve deeply ingrained as a driving habit. Think of it as making space, like truck lanes on the interstate, except in an urban environment.
The landscape of transportation is changing with generational preferences, I wish you luck in these interesting and challenging times. If you ever wish for an education, there are lots of friendly folks who’d love to talk to you. But ultimately best would be to walk/jog/bike the routes in question. These are general principles, but nothing truly substitutes for direct experience.
PennDOT has written up a “Twelve Year Program”. Browsing it, I see no analysis of past successes and failures, no weighing of priorities, no explanation of reasoning, mostly a maze of bureaucracy: “we’re going to repair this bridge and fix this road, etc, and it’s going to cost many millions of dollars…”
They’re having an April 16 online meeting. Read report, register here: http://www.talkpatransportation.com/ . After which, they’ll run a survey for comments on their Twelve Year Program.
This is awfully boring stuff, but some of us should speak up for the bike/ped community.
What they most need to change is process. The total screwing-off that the bike community got in the West Carson to McKees Rocks project, is the sort of commotion we need to make ourselves heard about.
I sure hope they aren’t just tabulating spots on a form from a #2 pencil, or electronic equivalent.
They are required by state law to consider the needs of bicyclists when they plan new projects. I think that’s all they’re doing, and all they plan to do.
What we need is a state law requiring the construction of separated bicycle lanes on all new construction, or major renovation.
https://talkpatransportation.metroquest.com/ has an online survey up. You can mark your favorite routes for bike trails and paths. Which I’m sure will influence PennDOT’s plans just as much as they have in the past. But we should at least try.
Saw this on Twitter. This seemed the most logical recent thread to post it in.
From Streetsblog, a how-to guide for your local DOT to deal with citizen input.
BTW, this reminds me: did you know we have our own personal Bike/Ped Coordinator? I was looking to see if PennDOT had hired a statewide Bike/Ped Coordinator — apparently they haven’t, yet, the right candidate is the kind of person who doesn’t draw attention to themselves, and naturally takes time to ferret out — but while searching I found this page, with links to the traffic engineers for the various districts. Ours is Ben DeVore, for District 11:
District Number 11-0
Name Ben DeVore
Phone 412 429-4981
Fax 412 429-4978
BTW if you contact Ben with a Bike/Ped concern, be gentle; he may not be aware he has this responsibility. His page on the PennDOT site doesn’t mention it; he has a lot of people reporting to him, and concerns about important things like freeway service patrols and traffic cameras.
Hang on, are we sure that’s a real person?? It sounds suspiciously close to “Ben Dover”, which is much more closely aligned with PennDot’s usual policies.
As a reminder, keep filling in the DoT survey and express your priorities, at
At the moment the ranking is reasonable (pavement, bridges, safety, transit, …) On other hand, “mobility” is ahead of “walking and biking” which seems wrong. Mobility is defined as expanding road capacity (ie, more, wider, faster, roads).
So do take a moment to contribute your thoughts…
Vote early, vote often.
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