Bike/Pedestrian unfriendly intersections

← Back to Forums


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Getting across the West End Circle on foot, pushing a bike, is also an exercise in patience.


zzwergel
Member
#

List of pedestrian dead-end intersections:

  • Washington Blvd at Allegheny River Blvd. (Highland Park)
  • Beulah Rd. at Churchill Rd. (Churchill)
  • Washington Rd at Valley Brook Ramp (Peters Township)
  • Washington Rd. at Gallery Dr. (Peters Township)
  • Washington Rd. at McMurray Rd. (Peters Township)
  • Washington Rd. at Donaldson Crossroads/Shopping Center Dr./Dam Rd. (Peters Township)
  • Washington Rd. at McDowell Ln. (Peters Township)
  • Washington Rd. at Gallery Rd./McClelland Rd. (Peters Township)
  • Rt. 19 at Francis Way (Cranberry Township)
  • Rt. 19 at Rt. 228/Freedom Rd. (Cranberry Township)

What are you supposed to do in these situations when crossing one of these intersections on foot becomes necessary? Defy the signage and cross in the direction of the green light?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Yeah, pretty much.

I can add the H-shaped corner of Perry Hwy, Sewickley-Oakmont Rd, Three Degree Road, and the couple of little neighborhood streets that meet there. For a recently rebuilt road with recently upgraded traffic lights (2014), this is horrible to cross, following the rules. There are pedestrian signals, but you are best off NOT using them, as they are a sure way to get killed. You are far better off jay-walking 100 yards away from the corners. Wheelchairs and the infirm need not apply. Cyclists generally have no trouble if they take the lane, but boy, is that a steep learning curve.


zzwergel
Member
#

Why do these signs exist? Other intersections in Cranberry Township and Peters Township have pedestrian signals. Allegheny River Blvd. used to have a crosswalk on the upstream side of the intersection. The traffic light there is not much more than a year old and I thought the city had a “Complete Streets” order by Bill Peduto. That doesn’t look like complete streets to me.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Probably isn’t. The corner I mentioned, it’s more than signs. The lighted ped-xing signal itself says to go when it’s not safe to. It might look good on paper but as implemented, just doesn’t work.


zzwergel
Member
#

What about the complete streets thing? Washington Blvd. is in the city limits.


zzwergel
Member
#

Yesterday, I made it through two dangerous intersections.

In this video, they can be seen starting at 3:45 and 7:05.

By the way, what is the car on a carousel about at 1:27?

  • This reply was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by  zzwergel.

StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

@fultonco How would you bike on 88? Start at 3:50. This doesn’t look pleasant at all. On Babcock, there’s a six-foot shoulder. No shoulder here, just a gutter pan. I’d take the lane, and give zero fucks. All yinz get to follow me down 88 at sixteen mph.


zzwergel
Member
#

@stu,

Wouldn’t that be illegal to impede traffic and cause road rage?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Cause road rage, certainly. Impeding traffic? I say it isn’t. You are traffic. But it’s likely a grey area if it ends up in a traffic court.

I mention Babcock, but some of Perry is two lanes as well, from Lindley Lane (by that mural by the convenience store) all the way into and past West View. I take the lane for most of this, but practicing “control and release” where feasible. Control: You control the lane. They stack up behind you until such time that you deem it safe for you to pull to the right and release them to pass you. Then you resume control. For me, I control the lane through the Perrysville business district, then release once I get to the top of that little rise, where on-street parking disappears. I remain on the shoulder until I get to the top of that next rise, then I resume control, and keep it all the way to Rochester Road. I might release control just after the Thompson Road light, but because the shoulder disappears to nothing, I would be unsafe if I stayed there more than a hundred feet or so. Beyond Rochester, I control the lane up the hill and over the top, and do not release. There is no shoulder.

So, all told, that’s most of a mile of a non-flat road in which I insist on controlling the traffic behind me, and I will fight anyone who says I should do anything differently. Including a cop. Including a judge. I may need legal help to do that.

88 looks to be flatter, but like Perry, very few places to release. And when I say release, I do not mean rolling through the parking lot of a business. That’s not safe; it’s also not legal.

But let’s get back to the concern about blocking traffic. No. You are not standing sideways in the middle of the street, preventing traffic from movement. That’s obstructing traffic. You move down the street at 16 mph. That’s not obstructing traffic. That means that traffic is moving 16 mph.

Someone prove me wrong. But also worthy of note, this was the basis for the argument against the guy in Westmoreland County a couple months ago (aside from his rock throwing stupidity).


zzwergel
Member
#

For one thing, I do not want to end up becoming the next piece of roadkill rotting away on the side of Library Rd. or end up in court or jail. Also, is someone willing to help me with my mental stability when situations like this arise and/or show me the technique of control and release at different points along various roads where it becomes necessary.

Also, on this major street in the city limits, why is there no sidewalk let alone a shoulder? Were the planners deliberately trying to create a dangerous and stressful situation for pedestrians and cyclists?

  • This reply was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by  zzwergel.

StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

It’s State Route 88, so we’re talking PennDOT, not City Planning, for the design. And like Saw Mill Run Blvd, Penn Ave in Point Breeze, and West Carson Street, it’s designed to move cars, not people.


zzwergel
Member
#

Penn Ave. has sidewalks it’s entire length except in Churchill. Would installing BMUFL signs help on these streets?


zzwergel
Member
#

Freeport Rd at Eastern Ave., Aspinwall. there is a bus stop on both sides of Freeport Rd. yet there is no painted crosswalk. Because of thise, the bus stops don’t get used that often. I wonder if the same reason also applies on Butler St at 49th St. since the crosswalk was just painted a few weeks ago.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Signs, or the lack of them, is not the problem. Traffic moving 53 mph on a road posted 35, that should be 30 or less, is the problem.

This video, about a half hour in length, was from the memorial for James Price, a cyclist who got mowed down by a high-speed driver on Penn Ave near Lexington. Not necessary to watch the whole thing, but the five minutes after about 9:50 are telling. Very close passes from traffic while I stood on the curb, and one car moving close to 50 mph. This is absolutely routine, and no sign is going to fix it. A motorcycle cop got mowed down here by a driver while trying to do some speed enforcement.


zzwergel
Member
#

Regent Square. Braddock Ave. at:

  • Forbes Ave. (Traffic light with pedestrian signals)
  • Guthrie St.  (Two crosswalks)
  • Biddle Ave. (Two Crosswalks and a pedestrian-activated crosswalk warning)
  • Henrietta St. (Two crosswalks)
  • Overton St. (No crosswalk)
  • Hutchinson Ave. (Traffic light with exclusive pedestrian interval)
  • Sanders St. (No crosswalk)
  • Charleston Ave. (One crosswalk)

zzwergel
Member
#

Saw Mill Run Blvd. at Library Rd./Glenbury St./ Hillview St.

Today, I went for a ride from South Bank to the Rite-Aid opposite this intersection. After crossing Library Rd. expecting a crosswalk crossing Saw Mill Run Blvd. over to Rite-Aid, I Turned into Hillview St and noticed the only crosswalk crossing Saw Mill Run Blvd is on the north side of Glenbury St. I had to cross the Library Rd. speed turn lane, Library Rd., and Glenbury St. before crossing Saw Mill Run Blvd. just to cross the jug-handle to reach Rite-Aid. Why can’t a crosswalk be painted across Saw Mill Run Blvd. between the triangular island and the southern corner of the jug-handle? This is clearly a City traffic light and I thought the City had a “Complete Streets” order. This bullshit does not look like complete streets to me. I will post video later.


fultonco
Member
#

Saw Mill Run Blvd. at Library Rd./Glenbury St./ Hillview St.

That is the intersection, to which I was referring, in an earlier post in this thread.  It has never been good but since the re-design, it is definitely more dangerous for bicyclists.

I don’t doubt that if anyone could pull off taking the lane all the way down Route 88, it would be Stu but I’m in that area all the time and rarely see any bicyclists.  It just isn’t a good prescription for living a long and full life.  South Hills drivers are not used to that sort of thing so one would have a number of horns stuck up one’s ass.  That is just not how I want to spend my time on the bike.  It used to be possible to use the network of roads above 88, on the north side of the road, to get to Hillview and cross 51 to Ivyglen and on up into Overbrook and Carrick.  But with the re-design that option has been essentially removed.  I prefer now to cross at Marylea and Delco, a bit further north.  There is a traffic light and the action on those two roads is significantly subdued.

I know that Stu and a few others did a ride on 51 a few years ago but I would repeat the part in the previous paragraph, about living a long and full life with a horn up your ass, when describing the “joys” of bicycling along its path.


zzwergel
Member
#

@fultonco,

I have video of it here.

P.S. I wore a bright orange vest and had my read red blinker on as I did this ride.

  • This reply was modified 11 months, 1 week ago by  zzwergel.
  • This reply was modified 11 months, 1 week ago by  zzwergel.

zzwergel
Member
#

I just took a look at Google Maps. What you are supposed to do is continue on Saw Mill Run Blvd. past Library Rd. and turn R. onto Fairhaven Rd., L. onto Stewart Ave., L. to Saw Mill Run Blvd. and R. onto the Jug-handle. After that, turn left off the Jug handle into the Rite-Aid parking lot, or onto Ivyglen St. I’ll make it a point to do this when there is another break in the weather.


fultonco
Member
#

Thanks Z.  Nice video.  Good quality.  I’ll have to give that intersection route you recommend a closer look some time.  Be safe out there.

  • This reply was modified 11 months, 1 week ago by  fultonco.

fultonco
Member
#

Z, you called it.  “This is the stupidest intersection…”

It ain’t meant for pedestrians, or bicycles.


zzwergel
Member
#

@fultonco, What happened to the “Complete Streets” order that was in effect when this traffic light was installed? I’m pretty sure that is a City-owned traffic light based on its appearance.

P.S. the bus stop on the jug-handle across from Glenbury St. was a really good idea because it takes an eternity to cross Saw Mill Run Blvd. here. After I was done at the store, I caught the Y49 back to Downtown from that stop.

  • This reply was modified 11 months, 1 week ago by  zzwergel. Reason: Add comment about bus stop
  • This reply was modified 11 months, 1 week ago by  zzwergel. Reason: Correct capitalization error

fultonco
Member
#

I don’t know, Z.  Before the re-design, vehicular traffic there was a nightmare.  It is also a frequently flooded area.  I think complete streets was way down on the list of priorities.

This is why cycling into Pittsburgh city proper, from the South Hills is so unpalatable.  Most every crossing of Route 51 is quite unfriendly to bicyclists and pedestrians.

Smart move, with taking the bus back.  If you wanted to ride, once you were across 51, continue up Ivyglen and through the hillside neighborhood streets to Brownsville Road.  Then take it to 18th Street and down into the South Side.  Your ride on 51 was valiant but I wouldn’t recommend doing it on a regular basis.

I believe I have a video of that ride, in the downhill direction, in the thread called South Hills Commuting Films.  Would love to have your video on that thread as well.

 

 

 

  • This reply was modified 11 months, 1 week ago by  fultonco. Reason: Additional information and comments

zzwergel
Member
#

@fultonco,

Another problem with cycling from the South Hills is Mt. Washington. In order to go from Mt. Lebanon, Dormont, Beechview, or Brookline; one would have to descend the Hill on W Liberty Ave. and then climb the back side of Mt. Washington on Warrington Ave., Boggs Ave., Woodruff St./Merrimac St or Southern Ave. just to have to descend Sycamore St., 18th St., P.J. McArdle Roadway., or Arlington Ave. If going from Bethel Park or Castle Shannon, it would be necessary to add inn at least one more climb of Castle Shannon Blvd. before the two mile long descent on W. Liberty Ave.


Steven
Participant
#

What happened to the “Complete Streets” order that was in effect when this traffic light was installed? I’m pretty sure that is a City-owned traffic light based on its appearance.

PennDOT redid that intersection, not the city, and PennDOT’s understanding of Complete Streets is mostly “cater to both cars and trucks equally”. Their money, their rules. I doubt the city had any say in it.


zzwergel
Member
#

@steven,

Why does that traffic light look like the traffic lights on Smithfield St. in Downtown as well as the new traffic light on Butler St. at 46th St? Butler St. is also a state maintained road, but the traffic lights belong to the City of Pittsburgh.


zzwergel
Member
#

@fultonco,

In that video, you crossed the T tracks at Casswell. Why can’t you just walk to Casswell and hop on the T there when you don’t need your bike?


Steven
Participant
#

How do you know those Butler Street traffic lights belong to Pittsburgh?

I’d guess traffic light selection has to do with stuff like the width of the road, traffic speed, and maybe whether it’s synchronized with other lights.


zzwergel
Member
#

@steven,

There are many places in the city limits that have those type of traffic lights. Once you leave the city limits, you will no longer see the antique traffic lights such as on Butler St. at 52nd St. or the black traffic lights like on Butler St. at 40th St. The traffic lights seem to be dependent on the local municipality.


NMR
Member
#

@zz this is a bit complicated. Under PennDOT’s Green Light Go program the state funds some signal systems on state roads, but allows the municipality in which they’re located to actually operate them.

http://pennshare.maps.arcgis.com/apps/OnePane/basicviewer/index.html?appid=a31ed30f42f849d591631140df98c2bb

All of Pittsburgh’s are managed in this manner. This generally means that the city is allowed to select their preferred hardware (signal poles and mast arms / cabinets / signal heads), software (computer system that runs the signal), and detection systems. This is why you see consistent design on newly replaced signals throughout the city. The state also generally defers to the city for timing of the signals, within reason.

That being said, this program does not extend to the design of the actual streets the signals control, and as Steven said, the state does not have their own Complete Streets policy.


zzwergel
Member
#

@nmr,

Don’t crosswalks, pedestrian signals, etc have do do with the (City owned and operated) traffic lights?


fultonco
Member
#

zzwergel
Member
01/04/2018 at 8:24pm #

In reply to your comments from this date, you are correct.  The hills that must be traversed, in order to get from town to the South Hills are big challenges.  Thrown in Route 51 and some of the other approaches, such as Brownsville Road, 88, West Liberty Avenue, Crane Avenue, Whited Street, and you have a daunting ride, no matter the skill level.

Essentially, to get from downtown to Mount Lebanon, one  must climb two major hills and take on heavy traffic.  Some the side roads, besides adding distance to one’s commute, are very steep and involve more frequent ups and downs.

The Seldom Seen Greenway is an option but there seems to be no will to address that project.  Even if developed, it too is a major climb from 51 into the Beechview neighborhood, which is the home of 3 Dirty Dozen hills and a number of honorable mentions.

If the Wabash Tunnel would ever be opened to cyclists and pedestrians, at least one big climb would be eliminated.

As an aside, one of my co-workers is incredulous regarding the cyclist he sees who rides up that first portion of Potomac, from Banksville, without getting out of the seat.  That is a pretty amazing feat.

  • This reply was modified 11 months ago by  fultonco. Reason: more information

zzwergel
Member
#

@stu,

It’s State Route 88, so we’re talking PennDOT, not City Planning, for the design. And like Saw Mill Run Blvd, Penn Ave in Point Breeze, and West Carson Street, it’s designed to move cars, not people.

Why was this? I’m pretty sure that road predates widespread motor vehicle use. It was probably built to accommodate horses, buggies, and pedestrians, but not motor vehicles at first.

  • This reply was modified 9 months, 4 weeks ago by  zzwergel.

zzwergel
Member
#

What is a pedestrian supposed to do in this situation?

This doesn’t look like complete streets to me. This traffic light was installed in late 2016 before the Dirty Dozen


zzwergel
Member
#

Bump


Steven
Participant
#

What is a pedestrian supposed to do in this situation?

I think you’re supposed to turn around, go back the way you came, and be thankful that some street planner has protected you from getting where you were going.


zzwergel
Member
#

Why are there no crosswalks and/or pedestrian signals given this traffic light was installed in late 2016 after the Complete Streets ordinance took place? Is it because hanging up signs on the traffic light gantry posts cost less than getting out a jackhammer and chiseling out those triangular speed wedges, narrowing the approaches with a garden and sidewalk, installing pedestrian signals/buttons, and painting crosswalks so the few pedestrians that want/need to cross the intersection are protected by an exclusive pedestrian interval? Motorists shouldn’t worry because the exclusive pedestrian interval will only occur if the button is activated and my proceed in turning right after stopping if the crosswalk is not activated. All this would make this problematic intersection much safer for all users.

I got video of me biking through that very intersection on a Saturday afternoon.

P.S. Why does the sidewalk from the bridge only extend downstream and not upstream as well forcing pedestrians to cross fast moving, non-stop traffic entering or exiting the bridge from/to the east?

  • This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by  zzwergel.
  • This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by  zzwergel.

StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

I need to grab photos of the Babcock-Siebert corner in Ross Twp. Signs posted on three corners saying “No pedestrian crossing”. It’s a T intersection.


zzwergel
Member
#

You can cross Siebert Rd. at Evergreen Rd. and you can cross Babcock Blvd. at 7th St. at Hillcrest Dr. which is one block either way.

← Back to Forums

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Click here to login.

Supported by