A “traffic calming” first in the City of Pittsburgh
The City of Pittsburgh recently added speed humps and bicycle markings to Gold Way, a narrow, winding road that connects North Oakland to Melwood Ave in Polish Hill. The road serves as a popular shortcut for both cyclists and drivers, and despite lacking sidewalks, is the shortest, most direct pedestrian connection from the Polish Hill neighborhood.
The road has also seen it’s share of speeding aggressive drivers since it opened back up to motorized traffic in the late 90s. In recent years, Polish Hill residents have been complaining about these dangerous conditions, with no solutions being implemented. The Polish Hill Civic Association (PHCA) prioritized this problem, and working with the Council District 7 office (formerly held by Patrick Dowd), City Planning, and the Zone 2 traffic division, the team decided that the best solution was to calm the traffic. They proposed installing speed humps, however this type of infrastructure did not exist anywhere within the City of Pittsburgh.
After several months of talks, the Department of Public Works decided that they wanted to not only install speed humps, but to further enhance them by creating a “Bike Boulevard” along the route. A bike boulevard is simply a low-speed street that prioritizes the ease of bicycle mobility over auto mobility. The humps were placed in such a way that a bike won’t need to go over them or slow down, but an automobile must. DPW also added sharrows to reinforce that drivers should expect to see bicycles here.
“Cut through traffic continues to be a problem in Polish Hill,” says Alexis Miller, president of the Polish Hill Civic Association, “but we are totally thrilled about what has happened on Gold Way. We would love to see these traffic calming measures expanded down Melwood into the more residential parts of Polish Hill as well.”
This is a great direction for the city, and we congratulate the Polish Hill community for their advocacy that has surely helped trailblaze future traffic calming measures citywide.
For more on bicycle boulevards, check out this Streetfilms video: Portland’s bike boulevards become neighborhood greenways.
BikePGH’s Better Bikeways Vision stresses that Pittsburgh’s bike routes must be interconnected, safe, attractive, and comfortable in order to appeal to people of all ages, especially those who are interested in riding a bike but concerned for their safety. Learn more about BikePGH’s Better Bikeways Vision.