PLANPGH Open Space Planning meeting TONIGHT – Need comments from Mountain bikers
Reposting from facebook:
TONIGHT at 6pm in East Liberty/Larimer, there’s another Community Forum for PLANPGH Open Space planning. We encourage mountain bikers to have a presence, as it will be valuable to learn how City of Pittsburgh park land is planned and developed, meet some of the City staff (some of whom are mountain bikers, themselves) and hear other park users concerns.
There are 3-more sessions next week (check the link) if you can’t make it today. But hopefully some of you can make it.
WHY: One unresolved point of debate that has been discussed over the last few years is whether the City acknowledges mountain bikers as a legitimate non-motorized trail user. We believe mountain bikers should be permitted equal non-motorized access to all trails (including singletrack, noted as “narrow, wooded path” in code*), unless otherwise designated as explicitly “off-limits” (example: Nature Center). It is currently, largely subject to interpretation.
As a new legislation is on the horizon (read: new Mayor and new long-range open space plan), establishing a precedent where mountain bikers are treated as equal trail users is important, not to mention, significant as hundreds of volunteer hours by mountain bikers have provided trail maintenance. Many other non-profit organizations are in support* of this dynamic, demonstrated by Memorandums of Understanding between the PPC, PTAG and the City.
IF YOU MTB AT FRICK AND OTHER CITY PARKS, YOU MUST READ THIS, REGARDING THE MYSTERIOUS “OBATACLES” PLACED AT SINGLE TRAIL TRACKS -From @Greta Daniels: Headsup to all my MTB riding friends: I attended a public meeting to review and comment on the OpenSpace plan for all of Pittsburgh’s parks and green spaces last night. I attended primarily to learn more about how this plan will impact our trail system and its usage. I asked specifically if the plan would formalize the policy regarding multi-usage of city park trails (ie. allowing MTB, hiking, horseback-riding in some cases) so as to mitigate some of the confusion/conflict that springs up about “who is allowed to be there.” Their response began with, “well technically, it’s illegal to ride bikes in any park in Pittsburgh.” They agreed that rules needed to be updated to reflect current usage, but were not really upfront about how those rules might change. Later, I tried to impress upon one city gentleman how important these changes to policy are to the safety of MTB riders in city parks and cited the recent incidents in Frick where “vigilante” park users were placing obstacles on single track and creating dangerous situations for riders. He responded by saying that these obstacles were not placed by random park users, but were put there intentionally by CITY PUBLIC WORKS employees in order to dissuade MTBers from using the trails. I was floored. How can the city use such dangerous tactics? I won’t go into any more detail about our conversation. The plan has not been adopted just yet, so I hope all my MTB enthusiast friends and other avid city parks users will send in their comments and make our collective voice heard. http://exchange.planpgh.com/portal/openspace/openspacepgh
According to the Citiparks page:
Ride bicycles on a paved vehicular road, or path designated for that purpose. A bicyclist is permitted to wheel or push a bicycle by hand over any grassy area or wooded trail or on any paved area reserved for pedestrian use.
There doesn’t seem to be an explicit statement of “no bikes on the trails.” You could argue that since the signs inside the park explicitly list what is forbidden, unless that list includes bikes, they can be reasonably interpreted as not forbidding bikes. Of course, it sounds like the ass-hat in the aforementioned conversation is taking the view of “if they are not explicitly listed as allowed, then they are forbidden.” This definitely needs to be clarified, especially since many people see the parks as the only place safe enough to ride.
Tuesday, May 14th, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Schenley Ice Rink
Overlook Drive, off of Greenfield Road (15213)
Nearby Transit: Bus Routes 52L, 53L, 58
I 311’ed the concerns about people placing the “obstacles” on singletrack in Frick and received a call from Dick Wolford from the city indicating it wasn’t City employees doing it, and that he had heard that some park users were saying that riders were “being more aggressive and riding fast down trails” and had taken it upon themselves to put up barriers.
Anyway, if so inclined, attending one of these meetings to ensure trail access is protected would be a good idea. I’m going to try to make it to tomorrow’s meeting.
The Pgh MTB Working Group is working together to support mountain bike access on single track. Please take a moment to fill out our mountain bike trail user survey, the results of which will be shared with planners, council people and other trail groups in upcoming meetings –like the Community Forum for PLANPGH Open Space planning, happening today and tomorrow. BUT if you can attend the meetings as well, please do!
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