Take a ride on bicycle-dense Liberty Ave in Bloomfield-Lawrenceville this week to make sure to get a whiff of the freshly painted bike lane and shared lane markings. Just in time for the summer riding season, the Public Works Department was busy putting paint to pavement and sign to post over the weekend, in the first of several on-street bicycle improvements coming to Pittsburgh. Cyclists rejoiced after leaving their house on a beautiful day and realizing that their daily riding ritual would be greatly improved.
Bike Pittsburgh, working in tandem with the Pittsburgh Department of City Planning, has been working on this initiative for several years. The initiative involves two components, the first of which is the “bike lane” and second is the shared lane marking, or “sharrow.”
The bike lane spans both directions from the Bloomfield Bridge to Ligonier St, right near the Pittsburgh Brewing Company (note: as of writing this, they haven’t painted the inbound side yet). The lane is pretty straight forward, two lines with a bicycle marking in between, providing an exclusive bicycle-only travel lane. There are however two things to take note of, both of which we are working with the city to improve. The transition out of the bike lane near the Bloomfield Bridge is not marked and cyclists should proceed with caution through this intersection, especially at the on-ramp to the bridge. The second thing to be aware of is the transition out of the bike lane going inbound. After the bike lane ends, Liberty Ave is hairy and should be avoided. Simply make a right to catch either Penn Ave or Smallman St into town. We expect more signage to follow.
Shared Lane Marking or “Sharrow”
The second component is the shared lane marking, or “sharrow,” a marking new to Pittsburghers and Pennsylvania in general. In full use in California and most notably in San Francisco for years, these markings required the city to obtain federal approval. The idea behind them is to establish the cyclist as a normal part of everyday on-street travel, and to place cyclists in the safest place outside of the “door zone.” They are not exclusive bike lanes, but, as the name suggests, a “shared lane marking.” Think of them as a “share the road sign,” but painted on the street. Please read this FAQ for more information, and feel free to contact us if you have further questions or comments.
Bike Pittsburgh is commited to establishing an on-street, commuter-oriented network of bicycle facilities throughout the city. Now that the wheels are rolling, we are working with the city to make sure that these sharrows appear in other places around the city in combination with bike lanes, when space permits.
First things first, so please if you have a moment, email the City Planning Department to tell them that you appreciate the new facilities and say THANKS! Believe us, they really appreciate the kind words as they are usually used to people complaining about things, not to mention the fact that they worked really hard on this.
So, please take a moment to email Richard Meritzer, in the Department of City Planning:
Now it’s time to celebrate!!
Ride with Mayor Luke Ravenstahl on the new lane!
Join us on Monday, June 18 at 11:00 AM for a kickoff and celebratory ride along the new facility with the Mayor of Pittsburgh, Luke Ravenstahl. We will be meeting at the parklet at Baum Blvd and Liberty Ave at 10:45 AM for a press event and speech by the Mayor. PLEASE RSVP TO firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan on riding along. An RSVP is not necessary to ride, we just need to get a rough estimate on how many folks to expect. Don’t forget your helmet!
The ride will end at the Church Brew Works. Although we are not footing the bill, join us for lunch afterwards at one of Pittsburgh’s best restaurants.
In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the new markings, and make sure to stop into one of the many local Bloomfield businesses (carrying your bike helmet of course), and let the store owners know how much you appreciate the new facilities.