Cyclist hit on West Carson
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Does anyone have any info?</p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”>it was on the new part.</p>
This is all i’ve seen, which isn’t much
- This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by erok.
This from Twitter:
Allegheny County ?@Allegheny_Co 6m6 minutes ago
PGH: W Carson St. closed from the West End Circle to Corliss St. due to vehicle/bicycle accident. Emergency crews on scene.
BTW, shit. Thanks for the heads-up, stef.
Fuck. I was just talking to a coworker about riding on this road now that it’s open. Hoping for the best…
WESA 2 4:15pm is announcing that the road is closed due to “an accident,” but doesn’t mention a cyclists.
I hope it’s not as serious as it sounds.
Well hell, that didn’t take long. Open, what, 8 days? Thanks for the support, PennDot.
WPXI reports “that the bicyclist was taken to a hospital in critical condition.”
From what I read on FB, it’s every bit as serious as it sounds, Marko! The driver did stop, and stayed at the scene, but observers report large amounts of blood and ambulance for the cyclist.
Edmonds, glad to see you are safe at a computer. I hope the rest of the West Hills regulars are also far from this horrible crash site.
I’m OK too. Haven’t left work yet. Will be going through the area on my way home.
On my commute through the very first Monday morning it opened, I saw a car crash. Now this. Way to fucking go, PennDOT.
KDKA @ 5pm showed a maroon pickup truck with classic smashed passenger side window; bike looked like it had flat bars with a white suspension fork.
Both the bicycle and truck were stopped in a wide yellow cross-hashed area where the bus-way enters route 51. It seems they were headed inbound toward town.
Thanks Sara, yeah I’m good. Desperately hoping this wasn’t the day Stu decided to give this route a go. On the first day this was open, I drove inbound to work, and about halfway between the ‘rocks and West End, some complete asshole in some white company pickup was blowing down the center lane, which is designed and painted as a left turn lane, at about 60 mph with no intention of turning, just using it as a fast lane. PennDot needs to be held accountable for every crash and fatality that happens in this corridor due to their shitty, retrograde design [edit; and when I say every, I mean every motor vehicle crash and fatality as well. This is absolutely no safer for motor vehicles than it was before, and that was a large part of their stated mission for this $42 mil bullshit]. They had every opportunity to reconfigure this road in a safer way, they disregarded every recommendation. Short of finding out that the cyclist actually tried to commit suicide by traffic, this is blood on PennDot’s hands.
@marko82, the sidewalk along this road is next to the inbound lane between McKees Rocks and the busway ramp, then switches to the other side at the intersection with the busway. If headed inbound, the cyclist may have been riding on the sidewalk up until that point and then either switch to the other side or merged into the inbound lane.
This fucking sucks.
Thanks, btw, to WPXI for not calling this an ‘accident’.
— WPXI (@WPXI) August 30, 2016
Thread on FB’s ‘PGH Bike Party’ group (one of several, I’m sure…):
- This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by buffalo buffalo. Reason: no automatic links from bare urls?
For those not familiar – or for the cyclists’ lawyer looking for info – here are links to our discussion on this board of how dangerous the PennDot design of this road is, including some of us sending letters to local politicians.
Marko….based on the KDKA website chopper photo the truck was heading outbound (Busway ramp on the left, Ohio River on the right) and the bicycle is ahead of the truck and also in the painted out center lane.
Combined with Chrishent’s description of the sidewalk arrangement one possible scenario (speculation at this point) is that the bicyclist was also outbound and crossing from the outbound sidewalk to the inbound sidewalk when struck.
Can’t help but think of the guy I saw riding on the outbound sidewalk yesterday, just before 3 pm…
Pinky! I thought and thought, and just could not come up with your board name! So sorry!
Glad to know you are ok! Still hauling your bike up and down the stairs at the bridge!
Not that I have much of a presence here, but since I figure I’m one of the only Weat End commuters on the board I’ll add a mention that this wasn’t me.
I do the 60-West End Circle-staircase-sidewalk until the SS trail dance. I actually took West Carson from the Corliss Tunnel headed inbound this Saturday. I lasted about three seconds before I hopped on the sidewalk (really nice condition, incidentally, until you get to the West End Bridge). Traffic was FLYING past me. I would estimate 50 mph is an easy average.
I’m sorry, but blood is on PennDOT’s hands. There is ABSOLUTELY no reason for 14-foot lanes. They’re getting the speeds they asked for.
Very sad to hear this. My thoughts go out to victims family and friends. What a shame.
Horrible, and terrifying.
There was not a single mention of this on WPXI’s morning news, by the way.
From that WTAE story: “A bicyclist was killed Tuesday night after an accident with a pickup truck on West Carson Street, officials confirm. The medical examiner’s officer identified the victim as Dennis Flanagan, 49. He died at Allegheny General Hospital.”
The first inkling I had of trouble was a text about 4:20 from someone I know to be generally anti-bike asking me what ever became of the plan for a West Carson bike lane, and my reply was “PennDOT stupidity”. I was in a meeting at work, and didn’t get back to my desk until after 5:30. By that point, my phone was alive with inquiries to my location and condition. It would be over an hour before I stood up again.
My first tweet said “Better question: Why is it necessary for me and every other cyclist in the city to drop what we’re doing and inform everyone we’re not dead?”
In the software world in which I spend most of my time, there are things that, by design, Should Just Work. You design the system to avoid trouble. You don’t want breakdowns, you don’t even want annoyances. Traffic is like software, in this regard. You don’t want crashes gumming up the works while police and tow trucks clean up, and you surely don’t want total failures that lock the system down for hours. Back to the design phase: You can usually foresee such trouble occurring before you ever write a line of code, because others have tried it and reported on it, and so you just don’t do that. If you do do that, and stuff breaks, you will soon be seeking other employment.
My condolences to Dennis’ friends and family. This should never have happened.
Bicyclist hurt in West Carson Street collision; road design faulted
“We saw an answer to this from the very beginning, and PennDOT wouldn’t listen,” said Scott Bricker, BikePGH’s executive director.
That long-ass turning lane is such bullshit. There’s only a handful of places where a left turn can be made outbound (busway ramp and Corliss tunnel are the busiest ones). There’s also a long (read: highway speeds-long) merge lane outbound for traffic coming from the West End circle onto W Carson that could be a lot shorter if drivers would approach this point at the speed limit. This section is so wide it could’ve easily accommodated bike lanes on both sides, and still have the outbound merge lane.
Traffic on this road will only get heavier, as more people rediscover it, GPS maps/units are updated, and 8 PAT routes resume full-time use of the road in late September, when the next service adjustments kick in. Right now, the G2, G3, G31 and 28X only use West Carson inbound and will resume outbound use to the busway ramp. The other four routes are the 20, 21, 22 and 24, which will travel along the full length of the road between McKees Rocks and the West End
Could we, pretty please, ask for a meeting with the PennDOT Bike/Ped coordinator (Roy Gothie) to discuss this?
It seems like something he might have an interest in doing something about.
There’s a ride being organized on Tuesday on to W Carson St. Info below.
Tuesday, September 6 at 7 PM – 9 PM
S 27th St & Tunnel Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15203
We watched Dennis Flanagan’s death play out in slow motion. For 5 years the community has voiced its need for a safe W. Carson St. Corridor for all. These needs were thrown by the wayside, and 9 days after the project’s completion, a person biking the corridor was killed.
Traffic deaths are avoidable tragedies. They happen because decision makers create designs that prioritize automobile “speed” and “congestion” over human life. This is the same tragic story that played out on West Carson Street.
We will meet one week from Dennis Flanagan’s death. Tuesday, 9/6, 7pm at 27th St & Tunnel Blvd Healthy Ride Station (Southside Works).
Join us Tuesday night to change the narrative to include the safety of all people – young, old, abled, disabled, on foot, bike, transit, car: everyone.
I don’t post here often, but this is really sad.
The fact that this happened a mere week of so after the road reopened and that this was a totally foreseeable event that could have been prevented is tragic.
My condolences to Mr. Flanagan’s family and friends.
What a disaster. Has the paint even dried on the lane markings yet? PennDOT could and should take action to prevent future tragedies from happening on this street. While the opportunity to do this project correctly has long past, safety for all road users could still be improved by reconfiguring the lane markings as soon as possible to encourage safer driving behavior and to provide dedicated space for people on bicycles.
In segments where it isn’t possible to turn, the space dedicated as a two way left turn lane should be reused as a delineator separated two-way cycletrack along the river, with automobile travel lane widths reduced to discourage speeding. Even where turn volumes do warrant a turn lane, PennDOT could and should provide a dedicated space for people on bikes.
The road’s geometry should encourage safe driving and provide dedicated space for all users. Instead, PennDOT has chosen a geometry that asks people on bikes to ride with traffic in a 14′ wide shared lane or dodge pedestrians on a narrow sidewalk. What is the design speed for this road? 40, 50 miles per hour? Whoever designed this facility as a “safety improvement” should have their engineer’s license taken away. Unbelievably tragic and completely avoidable.
Expanded article on Dennis Flanagan and yesterday’s incident:
Note that, just like in Susan Hicks’ case, the medical examiner’s office ruled his death “an accident”. However, that’s just the ME’s assessment (and perhaps poor nomenclature on their part). Police are still investigating the crash.
My heart just sank when I read this news. I was almost hit crossing West Carson at the West End Circle the first day it opened back up last week. This could have been me. I’m a lot more careful there now that I know the intersection better. Thoughts and prayers are with Dennis’ family.
Carson Street absolutely sucks to ride on. My commute is from Edgewood to the West End and after 2+ years of commuting I still sweat every second I have to ride on Carson St. For some reason I find myself being a little shook up by this one, maybe it’s because it was so close to home. I come off of the West End Circle ramp and pray there’s no oncoming traffic so I can jump on to the sidewalk at Pacific Pride but the traffic the day this happened left me stuck in the right lane up to the light. All I could think was “please don’t let me get hit”. Meanwhile the traffic was so bad because my worst nightmare was unfolding for someone else a mile behind me. For now I’m taking a break from commuting by bike but will likely hump the steps at the West End bridge when I decide to resume.
I rode this section of west carson to get to the Mountour trail once. It was the most harrowing ride I’ve ever been on. PennDOT really failed in this design.
I motorcycled it, inbound, Wednesday afternoon and rolled video. I give a play-by-play in the long caption, pasted below.
A cyclist was killed on West Carson the previous day. Video starts in McKees Rocks by Island and Chartiers, then to Stanhope and West Carson. Crash scene is at 3:58. Blood spot covered in kitty litter clearly visible between a big truck and a grey car, where the sidewalk switches sides. (Recommend turning sound off.)
* 1:18 newly rebuilt West Carson starts
* 1:33 the couple of businesses on the right fought successfully to keep the outbound turn lane.
* 2:08 I don’t know what the work truck parked in the center of the road is for, but it is not impeding traffic
* 2:20 driver of work truck on the narrow sidewalk. Imagine meeting a bike here.
* 3:02 pedestrian on sidewalk.
* 3:11 one of a couple “share the road” signs
* 3:18 center lane lined with orange traffic cones for road work
* 3:30 outbound curb lane redirected to that center lane
* 3:38 Corliss Street and Tunnel. Outbound, one of two places a left turn only lane is needed
* 3:42 sidewalk on right is new. The crossover used to be here.
* 4:01 scene of fatal crash on 30 Aug 2016. Look for red blotch in center yellow hatched area, between rear wheels of the big truck and the front of the grey car. That’s blood and kitty litter.
* 4:03 This first traffic light did not used to exist. It was added as a pedestrian crossing light where the sidewalk switches sides of the road.
* 4:05 entrance to West Busway, the second location a left turn only lane is needed.
* 4:15 right shoulder disappears. Also worth noting is that this is a north-facing road, so the right edge of the road here remains in shadow all winter, even in daylight.
* 4:56 the railroad structure and bridge just ahead is to be removed, a “creep of scope” atop the original project, unnecessary, and possibly not desirable as it could provide a critical bit of infrastructure for bike access between McKees Rocks and other western suburbs and city neighborhoods, and the rest of the city.
* 5:15 this tunnel is dangerous, even for cars. It is always wet, frozen in winter, poorly lit, with bad sight lines. Nobody should bike here.
* 5:41 this merge is troublesome for cyclists from both legs. Ambient speeds are 40+.
* 5:44 cyclists ideally should get on the opposite sidewalk here, but it’s difficult. No shoulder.
* 5:48 The long building at left is 1600 West Carson. Its owners, or the building’s existence at all, thwart extending the bike trail between it and the railroad tracks. The RR does not service the building.
* 5:56 – The buildings and businesses on the right side come out to road-edge. No space for a sidewalk.
* 6:25 At this traffic light, cyclists can finally access the trail by getting on the river side of the street. The trailhead is on this access road, and continues without interruption for hundreds of miles.
* 6:33 Duquesne Incline, with its pedestrian bridge across West Carson.
* 6:42 lane split. Left goes to Station Square, right goes up onto the Fort Pitt Bridge. Imagine a cyclist who got this far, wanting to go left.
* 6:49-on. No longer having to do with bicycling, but included for general interest.
* 7:02 The Fort Pitt Bridge has four lanes. I come up into the first and need to get into the third or fourth to go out the Parkway East.
* 7:04 Fortunately the lane splits. I take the right-most of the pair, now lane 2. Tunnel traffic is in 3 and 4.
* 7:08 The slight jiggle is me checking over my shoulder to be sure 3 is clear, then I make my lane change. I am and have been going a steady 35 since West Carson St.
* 7:21 I veer right to make my turn onto the Parkway East. Lane 3 splits; I could just as easily have gone downtown from here.
* 7:29 Once I am on the straightaway, I increase my speed to 50 mph. This is a common speed on West Carson, posted 35.
* 7:54 Starting to decrease speed for the left lane off-ramp for Grant Street.
* 8:02 Exiting
* 8:19 Homeless woman soliciting money.
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