Signed, Sealed, 2,071 Signatures Delivered: Time to Extend the Penn Ave Bike Lanes

The people have spoken. Let’s Extend the Penn Ave Bike Lanes!

Over the course of merely two months, we’ve collected 2071 signatures from Pittsburghers who want to see the Penn Ave bike lanes extended, using any of the available streets, to the neighborhoods in the eastern section of the City.

These residents believe that the Penn Ave bike lanes will never reach their full potential until they are extended, connected and available to residents, of all ages and abilities.

The names were collected online and in person, sometimes by flagging down riders in the bike lane itself.

These signatures also include hundreds of stories from bicyclists who experienced crashes, near misses, harassment, and even assault while riding through the Strip District.

We just delivered these signatures and stories to Mayor Bill Peduto.

It has been four years since the popular Penn Ave bike lanes were installed. Not only are the live counters showing high numbers, we’ve personally seen people on bikes comprise of as much as 30% of all vehicles during the morning commute.

However, traffic is continuing to get worse in the Strip District. With neverending office, apartment, and condo development projects, and the constant flow of autonomous vehicle testing, there is an urgent need for the City to create a safe place for biking and walking commuters in The Strip, and manage transportation in a way that doesn’t default to driving.

This should be an easy bike trip to make.

Currently there is no public plan or dedicated funding to install this connection. The Strip District needs to be designed holistically, with all needs, ie. parking, pedestrians, deliveries, and bicycling, figured out; and how it will connect to the other neighborhoods.

Below is a small sampling of the stories that Pittsburghers, many of whom were attempting to get to work or go shopping in the Strip District, experienced while riding in the Strip District.

Stay connected! Be sure to sign up to our #ExtendPenn email list and find out about the latest updates.

Stories from the Strip

Almost got hit by an Argo self-driving vehicle late one night. Now the new construction behind the Fruit Building coupled with Smallman sewer work means there is even less area for us to ride our bike! Help!!Nancy, Strip District

Recently I was riding Railroad Street and at one of the railroad crossings, a car cut me off while I was trying to properly maneuver over the tracks. It forced me to steer clear to avoid a collision and subsequently, my tires went into the grooves and I was thrown off my bike. It was a scary situation that could have been avoided if the bike lanes were extended. On my rides recently, there seems to be a lot of cars on what used to be quieter streets in the Strip District.Matt, Lawrenceville

Biking through the strip usually yields someone honking at me, shouting inane abuse at me, almost hitting me or some combination of the three. One time a guy leaned out his window to scream to me that I should bike on the sidewalk. A bike lane through the strip would be the sum of all joys for me.Nathaniel, Lawrenceville

I work at the edge of the Strip District/Lawrenceville during the day, and have an evening job Downtown several nights a week. I used to bike to avoid traffic/parking issues, but often felt that riding down Penn before hitting the bike lane was too risky. I started to use Railroad Street, but after breaking my wrist in a wreck riding over railroad tracks, I haven’t gotten back to biking because protected paths just don’t exist. It’s been over a year since I’ve been able to ride safely downtown and would love to have that ability again!Ryan, Ross

Drivers on Penn can be very aggressive. On one of my morning commutes I witnessed several cars weaving around a male cyclist towing his young child in a carrier! The drivers didn’t seem to know nor care to simply give him the space he needed to get his child to daycare and himself to work. When I caught up to him we rode side by side to take the lane, and he told me that what I witnessed was a regular occurrence.Riesa, East Liberty

I used to be a full-time commuter and saved lots of money on not using the buses (I don’t own a car), but, unfortunately, the level of harassment and lack of safety I felt from not having access to either a bike lane or roads where there was a large shoulder and people followed the speed limits precludes me from bike commuting most days anymore. I love this city and try to give back where I can.Sara, East Liberty

In June of 2018, I was biking down Penn in the well-marked sharrowed lane, when a driver turned in behind me, honked impatiently, then passed me while yelling “get off the road!” To where? I was where I was supposed to be. I was following traffic rules. I was not even inconveniencing anybody. I don’t need that kind of stress in my commute. I want better protection for cyclists.Barbara, Squirrel Hill

Every time I get to 16th Street and take that detour I think, “I’m so glad my mom can’t see what I’m doing right now.” I just wish there was a way for me to get to Lawrenceville from downtown along a route my mother would approve of.Sophia, Squirrel Hill

Bicycling home from an event in the Strip District one night, I counted six AV’s in a row on Penn Ave. They constituted the only traffic on the street at that time. The sixth and final car cut me off making a right turn; I stopped the driver to point this out, and he said, “I didn’t do it, the computer did.” If this is the attitude Uber and other testers of AVs have toward more vulnerable street users, we need to make sure that pedestrians and bicyclists are safe.Karen, Point Breeze

I love visiting the Strip District, especially on Saturday mornings, but often, the traffic and vehicular congestion prevents me from wanting to. Parking can be such a headache. Biking is the best way to visit the Strip, in my opinion, from where I live in Bloomfield because it is fast, easy, healthy, free, and easier to get around! Personally, I struggle to walk much due to some foot injuries I have had in the past, so biking or driving are my most viable options. I would be more willing to spend my time and money in the Strip District if I knew I had a safer way to travel using bike lanes.Jonelle, Bloomfield

Yes. I had an accident on Railroad street because I was getting ready to cross shallow railroad tracks and a Home Depot truck was coming at a high rate of speed. I had to abruptly stop and had a wreck where my bike went out from under me and I went down on my hands and knees both. Still recovering from the knee injury.Cindy, Washington, PA

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