City proposes bike lanes on Smallman St, from 16th to 21st

Coming Soon: Bike Lanes on Smallman

On Wednesday, Sept 12, there was a significant development in our #ExtendPenn campaign, our push to connect the Penn Ave bike lanes from their terminus at 16th St, to the eastern neighborhoods, using any of the available streets or rights of way.

At the third meeting in a series of public meetings about a redesigned Smallman St, the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) announced that they will install bike lanes on Smallman from at least 16th St to 21st St.

While this falls short of our goal of a seamless connection between 16th St and the Liberty Ave bike lanes and Lawrenceville, it does take us closer, with a recognition from DOMI that the connection needs to be made.

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Proposed Smallman St from 16th St to 17th St

(Click photo to enlarge)

At the meeting, they laid out plans for the segment, as well as a draft for how the Penn Ave Bike Lanes will connect to Smallman St, using either 15th St or 17th St (extending the Penn bike lanes one block east). East of 21st St, Smallman will be marked with “sharrows” until the City is able to figure out what to do with the street.

Councilwoman Deb Gross secured $200K to study the parking and traffic needs of the Strip District, and once finalized, the City will be better prepared to make recommendations. It’s worth noting that the outbound ride is the more dangerous part of the east-west commute, as people on bikes heading eastbound must contend with the afternoon rush hour, large trucks, and autonomous vehicles, with very little space.

Proposed Smallman St from 17th St to 19th St

(Click photo to enlarge)

The path to this point was not easy. This was the third in a series of public meetings about this small five block segment of Smallman. At the first two meetings, DOMI presented plans that did not include bike lanes, and were not well received, leading to tense discussions pitting people looking for bike safety against business owners looking to maximize parking. After going back to the drawing boards, the third public meeting seemed to fare much better, with a relatively tame crowd, who seemed to be in agreement that the city is moving in the right direction.

Proposed Smallman St from 19th St to 21st St 

(Click photo to enlarge)

Whether this ends up being the final result of the process is still up for debate. DOMI plans on more public meetings in the upcoming months regarding transportation in the Strip District.

Stay tuned, and stay involved!

The results show that it is important to show up to public meetings, be vocal, and state your case. Your presence at future meetings will be even more important as we push toward the more difficult, yet ultimate goal of securing the connection between 21st St and the eastern neighborhoods.

After the series of Smallman St meetings, many of you have been asking how to get involved with the #ExtendPenn campaign.

PS. Don’t forget to join our #ExtendPenn email list at bikepgh.org/extendpenn

Here are four things you can do right now to help Extend Penn

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