Guest Blog Post: South Hills Neighborhoods Form a Regional Bike/Ped Advocacy Group

Photo taken by Connor Mulvaney, SHSS Member. Photo is of a bike leaning on a stone hippo statue.

Disclaimer: The views, opinions, and words of the below guest blog post do not necessarily represent or express those of BikePGH. They are solely those of the author. 

South Hills Safe Streets wants to make their neighborhoods safer for everyone

Guest Blog Post by members of South Hills Safe Streets

United by the unique opportunities and challenges facing our communities, residents in several South Hills neighborhoods have come together to work on making our streets safer and more livable for everyone. Our group, South Hills Safe Streets, has a mission to improve the biking, walking, and transit conditions of the south Pittsburgh region for all ages and abilities. To accomplish our missions, we believe that creating safe, accessible, equitable, and enjoyable facilities for people that walk, people that bike, and people that use public transit builds stronger and more livable communities for everyone. We are excited to collaborate with residents, public officials, businesses, and other community stakeholders to encourage active transportation and promote safe, accessible streets for all! 

Current membership includes neighbors from Bethel Park, Brookline, Dormont, Mt. Lebanon, Pleasant Hills, South Fayette, South Park, and Upper Saint Clair.  While our member communities each have unique challenges and opportunities, our group looks for ways to leverage commonalities, share best practices, and create area-wide initiatives in support of our mission.

What We’re Working On

Our group formed in February of 2020 and is currently in its beginning phase of laying the groundwork to help make this region better for biking and walking. We are working on coalition building with local and regional groups who can help us make connections to improve T-Stations, Bus Stops, better connections to trails, on-road bike infrastructure, better sidewalks, and much more. 

Though we are far from the futuristic car-and-fossil-fuel free communities of our dreams, recent events surrounding the COVID crisis have demonstrated the public desire and need for more inclusive infrastructure that allows room for transit modes besides cars. Many have been replacing activities that have been cancelled by social distancing measures with walking, running and cycling in their own neighborhoods. 

In the South Hills, this looks like a wide-open, four-lane Brookline Boulevard begging for walkers and cyclists to retake parts of the street. Conversely, in Mt Lebanon, pedestrians are warned to stay off the street and keep to crowded sidewalks where social distancing may not be possible. The Look Up Lebo Campaign was launched in 2016 and the Mt. Lebanon Police launched an anti-jaywalking law and enforcement effort in 2018. 

In the Borough of Dormont, through citizen request and support from South Hills Safe Streets, has undertaken a Healthy Streets Pilot Program to allow for expanded access to recreational space in the community during the COVID-19 stay-at-home recommendations. Additionally, this pilot program has spurned another campaign for a Mobility Audit to be conducted by citizen volunteers. 

As our communities continue to navigate the Covid-19 crisis, we believe that we must help to enact measures that aid public health efforts now and provide a blueprint for social, environmental and economic recovery once the crisis is over. We believe that advocating for “complete streets” must be part of that blueprint.

Sign along Beverly Road in Mt Lebanon discouraging pedestrians from using mostly empty pull-in parking spaces during social distancing.

While automobiles may not be eliminated from our streets, as occurred recently during the Covid-19 stay-at-home orders, it is possible to better regulate vehicular traffic, design and implement infrastructure that is safer and more welcoming to pedestrian and bicycle usage. These are some of the goals of our group. We are looking forward to working together to help make our South Hills communities safe and more livable for everyone.

Connect With Us

We welcome anyone from the South Hills area to join us! If you live in any of the above mentioned areas or adjacent neighborhoods and want to join our group email, follow or join our Google Group. We hold monthly meetings that everyone is welcome to join! Please email us to find out when our next meeting will be held.


BECOME AN ADVOCATE

JOIN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD’S BIKE/PED COMMITTEE

Want to get more involved with making Pittsburgh better for biking and walking? Become a bike/ped advocate. There are over 20 neighborhood bike/ped committees across the City and surrounding municipalities.

You can find a complete list of them here. You can always start your own committee too! Email anna@bikepgh.org for more information.


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