Comment on the Port Authority’s Transit Development Plan at Today’s Open House in Oakland

Please Go to the Open House today in Oakland

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is in a process of restructuring called the Transit Development Plan (TDP).  One of the components of this ambitious plan is to include comments from users and the public at large on what they think can be done to improve service and make public transit an easy and convenient choice for people.  So, they are holding a series of Open Houses “where you may review the concepts, ask questions, and offer your thoughts on the plans.”

As anyone who lives in the city knows, bicycles are an integral part of a complete multi-modal transportation network.  But, for this to work seamlessly, certain accouterments need to exist to ensure that people can use the system without problems.  Fortunately, the infrastructure that cyclists need is relatively inexpensive (or as simple as educating operators or changing rules), so a small investment on the Port Authority’s side, will help increase ridership, something that makes good business sense.  Accommodating bicycles increases the Port Authority’s “catchment zone,” making an unwalkable distance accessible to more people.  Many people aren’t willing to walk one mile to a transit stop, but that distance is relatively easy on a bicycle.

Bike Racks on All buses

For example, one complaint that we frequently hear is that many buses are not outfitted with bike racks, so it’s a gamble to depend on the bus for this service.  One commenter on our messageboard says that “it would be great if I could bike from my house on the North Side to the East Busway stop at Penn Station (just under a mile) get on a fast Busway bus with a rack and get off at the Homewood stop and then bike to Free Ride.”  Until all of the buses are outfitted with bike racks, people cannot make this a dependable part of their daily routine.

Better and Consistent Access to the T, Incline

Another problem that we’ve heard about is where operators have told cyclists that they can’t board the T, despite what the rules say.  Access to this important transit choice should not be up to driver discretion.  Whether the driver is ignorant of the rules, doesn’t like the way you look, or you happen to get on at the wrong stop shouldn’t matter.  One user told us that ” [I] tried getting on with my bike on a Sunday afternoon, inbound.  I was told by the driver that he had the right to refuse a bicycle anytime he wanted, and that bikes were only allowed to come on board in stops that had raised platforms. Both of these things do not appear in their rules anywhere.  I love the T, but this makes no sense to me, as it was not rush hour (or even a weekend).”  We’ve heard similar reports about the Incline.

Secure Bike Parking at Transit Hubs

The same goes for secure parking at transit nodes.  People can simply bike a short distance, lock their bike up, and hop on transit.  The thing is, they want to be assured that their bike will be there when they return.  So safe, secure bike parking near transit is a must.  Currently, there is no bike rack at the Wood Street Station nor Station Square, for instance.

Unfortunately, not everybody sees this, and if we can take anything from the past it’s that cyclists are often overlooked, or straight up forgotten about.  Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen again, so please show up and let the Port Authority know that we want to use transit, but in it’s current state, we can’t depend on it.  We’re not asking for much, and we’re just trying to help.  A little will truly go a long way.

To better familiarize yourself with some of the issues, check out this conversation on the BikePGH Messageboard.

For more info, please see the Port Authority’s site dedicated to the TDP

When: Mon, June 8, 2pm-5pm, 5:30pm-7:30pm

Where: University of Pittsburgh Alumni Hall, Connolly Ballroom, 4227 Fifth Ave (map)

To find out more about using bikes with transit, check out our page that tells you all you need to know

Not a member of Bike Pittsburgh? Join today! We need you to add your voice! Bike Pittsburgh works to protect cyclist’s rights and promote the vision of making Pittsburgh a safer and more enjoyable place to live and to ride. For more info, check out:

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