Bike Pittsburgh Celebrates 15 Years of Changemaking

Celebrate BikePGH Day on September 16

Pittsburgh City Council will be recognizing BikePGH’s accomplishments on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 with a proclamation, sponsored by District 7 Councilmember Deb Gross. City Council will declare September 16, 2017 to be “BikePGH Day” in the City of Pittsburgh.

“When we started BikePGH, people weren’t shy about telling us how naive we were and rattling off every excuse you could imagine on why our mission was futile,” said Scott Bricker, executive director.

“Now, fifteen years later, there’s an entire City department dedicated to making our streets and neighborhoods safe and accessible for everyone whether they walk, bike or drive. We’re collaborating with them on linking all the various projects we’ve worked on over the years into a connected and comfortable network. We have moved light years ahead of where we were, but now we would be naive if we thought we were anywhere near finished.”

On Saturday, September 16, Bike Pittsburgh will celebrate fifteen years of Pittsburgh bicycling and walking improvements at the organization’s 15th Birthday Party at the Millvale Riverfront Park. The casual gathering will be a chance for individual supporters and organizational partners to see old friends, meet new members, and recall Pittsburgh’s not so distant past and celebrate how far we have come in the last fifteen years.

Major improvements seen since 2002

BikePGH’s work is responsible for increasing ridership in Pittsburgh by shaping biking improvements throughout the city with bike lanes, street markings, bike parking, educational resources, events like OpenStreetsPGH and much, much more.

“In fifteen years, BikePGH has not only changed Pittsburgh’s streets, but has been a leader in changing Pittsburgh’s culture,” said Mac Howison, BikePGH Board President, “the organization will continue to lead into the future, as the need to tackle the problems of climate change, air quality, and health intensifies.”

Then vs Now: How Far We’ve Come

Bike Lanes and Sharrows

Fifteen years ago, Pittsburgh had only 10 miles of bike lanes, installed way back in the early 80’s. Now, nearly 70 miles of on-street bike lanes and sharrows have been installed, bringing safe and convenient transportation options to neighborhoods across the City.


 

Increase in Ridership

Pittsburgh’s census numbers show a doubling of bike commuter rates since the city started earnestly installing bike lanes in 2007. Also, Pittsburgh ridership has experienced the largest increase in the nation since the year 2000.


Innovative Infrastructure

BikePGH helped introduce many innovative features to Pittsburgh’s streets including protected bike lanes, bike corrals, bike-share, two-stage turn boxes, contra-flow bike lanes, and Pittsburgh’s first bike signal, installed at the end of August.


Complete Streets

Our advocacy introduced the concept that everybody, regardless of who they are, where they live, or how they get around, should have the choice to travel in a safe and convenient manner. Riding on the coattails of the Mayor’s Complete Streets Executive Order in 2015, the 2016 Complete Streets Ordinance enshrined these concepts and principles into law. This also led to the development of the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure.


Bikes on Transit

In 2011, the Port Authority “completed the fleet” when they added bike racks to the front of every bus in their system. Additionally, people couldn’t bring bicycles on the T during rush hour until that same year.


Resources

In 2007, BikePGH created Pittsburgh’s first bike map since the Mayor Sophie Masloff administration, 15 years prior. Since then BikePGH has created 6 editions of the award-winning Pittsburgh Bike Map and has distributed almost 250,000 copies. BikePGH has also distributed 50,000 copies of the Biking 101 Guide since 2007, which Ray LaHood, former United States Secretary of Transportation, called, “A welcomed confidence-building gift to those who are still uncertain about commuting by bike.”


Education

In 2014 BikePGH launched its very first in-the-saddle bicycling education classes called City Cycling. The following year, in 2015, BikePGH took on Positive Spin, a youth cycling and mentorship program in Pittsburgh Public Schools, that helps get middle schoolers riding bikes safely around the city. Since 2014, 2600+ people have taken our classes and workshops. Last year in 2016, Positive Spin classes were adapted for young people aging out of the foster care system. In partnership with Action-Housing and Auberle, over 25 participants have now graduated from the program earning brand new bikes and commuter accessories.


With your generous support we can expand our advocacy that directly makes your life better as a pedestrian and bicyclist. Please consider making tax-deductible gift to keep our wheels rolling!


Bike Parking

In 2002, there was not a single public bike rack for riders to securely park their bikes. In 2004, one of our first initiatives was the controversial installation of the city’s first twelve bike racks for public use. This has led to the installation of thousands of bike racks citywide as well as a zoning requirement that new buildings install bike parking.


Businesses Embracing Bicyclists

More and more people are choosing to live in places that are walkable, bikeable, and have access to great public transit service. To date, over 100 businesses have signed on to our bike-friendly business member network and take steps to encourage employees and patrons to ride.


Community Building

Starting in 2005, BikeFest has brought together the city’s cycling community for 12 years of bicycling themed fun. BikeFest wraps up each year with PedalPGH, Pittsburgh signature bicycle event, attracting visitors from across the country to attend Pennsylvania’s largest bike ride. OpenStreetsPGH is inspired by the open streets movement – a global phenomenon promoting healthy outdoor activity and community engagement using city streets. Pittsburgh is one of hundreds of cities worldwide (over 100 in North America alone) that hold open streets events. OpenStreetsPGH blossomed from 6,000 participants at the pilot event in 2015 to approximately 90,000 participants over three events in 2017. BikePGH has now grown to 3,000 members and donors, one of the highest per capita rates in the nation for a local biking and walking advocacy organization.


BikePGH Birthday Party Details:

Date: September 16, 2017 (Can’t make it? Save the date for our Annual Members Meeting – Oct 24)
Time: 1pm – 4pm, speakers at 2pm
Location: Millvale Riverfront park
Price: This is a free event for up-to-date BikePGH members, and newcomers and encouraged to join in on the fun and become a member at the party for $15 for our 15th birthday. Register here.

Ride down to the Millvale Riverfront park to meet new friends and see old ones. BikePGH will have the “I Heart My Bike” photo booth and bike registration, family-friendly activities like helmet decorating, the Wheel Mill mini bike course for kids, and more. Plus, there will be a free BikePGH t-shirt pile! Cake and beer will be provided.

For more information on BikePGH’s history, see: bikepgh.org/history


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