Expanding the Infrastructure discussion

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Swalfoort
Participant
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In the Wheelset of Fortune game (similar to Tag A Rama), the current quest is to identify locations where PEDESTRIAN infrastructure is lacking, puzzling or otherwise noteworthy.

This is an audience participation game, but in this case, all photos/locations/issues identified will be shared with 3-1-1 or the appropriate municipal reps (if outside of the City of Pittsburgh).

I encourage you all to participate. But, if you are unable to take a photo of your bike in a problem location (due to safety concern, lack of photo upload capabilities, etc), I invite you to post the location and nature of the problem HERE (no photo required). I will then make sure that they are also communicated with the City of relevant municipal entity.

We are collecting your input through 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, 9/23 (for this game). Your input is ALWAYS welcome at 3-1-1.

  • This topic was modified 5 years, 8 months ago by  Swalfoort.

rgrasmus
Member
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I have complained about it to 311 for the past year, but I think any action will be delayed until they roll out SURTRAC in the area. The problem is the pedestrian crosswalk at Centre & Negley. The timing of when the crosswalk signal comes on after pressing the crosswalk button is extremely variable. It took me a month or more to finally understand its activation sequence and it’d be difficult to explain here. Nonetheless, it has led to confusion by most pedestrians and created a number of close calls by pedestrians assuming they would be getting the crosswalk signal.


Mick
Participant
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@ swalfoort the current quest is to identify locations where PEDESTRIAN infrastructure is lacking, puzzling …

My people call it “The United States.”


RustyRed
Member
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This intersection is a hazard to pedestrians. It seriously needs a RED left turn arrow before the pedestrians get the walk signal, even though the green left turn arrow for motorized traffic has expired, the cars and trucks still plow through the left turn with people now trying to get across the intersection.
The opposing traffic now has a green and if a vehicle actually stops (which rarely happens) to let a pedestrian through the crosswalk, they’re blocking now impatient cars who have the right of way.

292


salty
Participant
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Crap, how did I miss the deadline for this? Everywhere they have installed surtrac is an absolute disaster for pedestrians, who are given minimal time to cross the road if the walk sign comes on at all. Otherwise you have to wait for the cycle time which is also entirely too long (this affects traffic on side streets as well as pedestrians)

In addition, the problems with the Target intersection are well documented, but given Action United got 1000+ signatures on a petition and nothing was done it seems hopeless.

I think the intersection of ELB at Penn is also bad (and Putnam as well) – drivers are absolutely terrible about yielding to peds and the surtrac situation just exacerbates that. One problem in particular is cars turning right from ELB to Penn have a limited view of peds crossing to the south due to the position of the crosswalk and stop line, and the corner of the building which is not set back very far.


Swalfoort
Participant
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No deadline for this….I can continue to collect data forever, if necessary.

The deadline was more for the Wheelset of Fortune game tag on the same subject.

As I get input, I will be sharing it with others who might have an interest in it/ability to get an issue resolved.

Thanks!


Marko82
Participant
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40th street bridge approach. So much going on here… No curb cuts. Obstacles in the middle of the crosswalk (think ADA). Too wide an intersection leading to car/car & car/ped conflicts. No ped signal nor signage.
There are also no curb cuts up at Butler and the alley just before.

I think “squaring off” the intersection would help both peds and cars. Do we really need side streets to look like highway ramps?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I can add to that one a bit. FIle this one under “This will not scale properly”. On the far side of that photo, there are now a lot more people (such as myself) cycling on the upstream sidewalk. Many of those cyclists (such as myself) are now hooking around onto that snippet of 40th Street to go under the bridge. That turn from bridge to street is a blind, 180-degree turn, and woe is any pedestrian or cyclist who happens to be making that turn while someone else is doing the same. Just making that sidewalk five feet wider would improve matters.

There has not been a collision there yet, AFAIK, but as more cyclists figure out how great this little shortcut is, it’s bound to happen sooner or later.


Ahlir
Participant
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Hm. It’s a three lane bridge. That seems like a lot. Maybe one lane could be for bicycles? (If necessary you could probably still have three (narrower) car lanes, with some bonus traffic calming.
That would provide the opportunity to realign that intersection. Plus, on the other end there’s natural connection to the North Shore trail (and eventually its eastward extension). What’s not to like? Infrastructure!


Benzo
Participant
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The 40th st bridge can be jammed in the morning to butler st (and sometimes up the hill to penn ave on really busy days and times).

I doubt they would ever consider dropping a lane here unfortunately.

The transition on to the bridge REALLY needs work and I’d love to see something done to improve this. ADA compliant curbs to connect crosswalks all the way to butler st would be nice.

Also nice, would be having a curb cut, crosswalk painted, and connection to the sidewalk on the south side of foster st open instead of a truck barrier.

This Is a bit more for peds and accessability than for cyclists, but the benefits exist for both.


The Iguana
Participant
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http://wesa.fm/topic/rundowns

BY ESSENTIAL PITTSBURGH
These topics air Friday October 10, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002 412-246-2002.
A Conversation on Biking Infrastructure and Cultural Change
Recently Pittsburgh debuted a substantial amount of new bike lanes. Many cyclists are celebrating the changes, but those who don’t bike may be scratching their heads. Why is bike infrastructure beneficial for a community? Who benefits? What about the costs? We’ll speak with Ngani Ndimbie, Communication Manager of Bike Pittsburgh, and Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, about how bike infrastructure impacts communities — regardless of whether you bike or not.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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No transcript (yet?), but the audio is available at http://wesa.fm/post/sharing-road-conversation-bike-lanes-and-better-commuting-all


paulheckbert
Keymaster
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Regarding that radio show, I emailed this to Ngani Ndimbie at bikepgh:

Ngani: I was the “Paul from Edgewood” that called in to the Essential Pittsburgh discussion on “Sharing the Road: A Conversation on Bike Lanes and Better Commuting for All” today. I’m an avid cyclist.

Thanks for being on the show. I agreed with most of what you said.

But there were two issues where I thought your responses did not stand up for cyclists’ rights as much as they should have.

One caller said roughly “bicycles need to focus on not impinging on cars … responsible bicycles should never take somebody’s legal right of way”. Of course, if another vehicle has the right of way, then you yield, but if he’s suggesting that bicycles need to get out of the way of cars always then I think cyclists need to stand up for their rights and correct such attitudes. Bicycles are legal vehicles on the streets, of course, and they have their own right of way. The law does not always require cyclists to get out of the way of cars [though pulling to the side is sometimes polite].

Second, regarding cycling on sidewalks, you said that Bike Pgh believes “the safest place is in the street and not on the sidewalk”. I think it’s unwise for Bike Pgh to urge people to avoid the sidewalks in all situations. Two cases where I think it’s wiser to bike on the sidewalk:
a) young kids in residential neighborhoods, on streets with a lot of traffic;
b) on very busy non-business-district streets. [I’m a very experienced cyclist, but if I need to bike on 5th Ave between Shady and Beechwood and I’m not part of a group, I’m on the sidewalk! I don’t want to die!]

There is a misconception I wish I had corrected during my call-in. People sometimes say “Our roads were designed for cars, not bicycles.” Often not true! Many Pittsburgh streets were designed in the pedestrian and horse era, or during the bike craze of the 1890s, so for many Pittsburgh streets, it would be more accurate to say “Our roads weren’t designed for cars!”.

I hope Essential Pittsburgh does more shows like this; they help educate the public.


Ngani
Participant
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Paul, I’m glad you were listening and able to call in! There are certainly exceptions to the rule that the safest place for bikes is on the street and I could have better articulated those, but for the most part our conversation focused on the riding habits of adult commuters.

As for the caller who spoke about right of way, I didn’t interpret his question in the way you did. You are spot on regarding the laws.


Ahlir
Participant
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I ride Shady-Beechwood on the street (and vice-versa). Usually I pedal like heck to stay ahead of the next wave of cars (unsuccessfully). Now, if we had some sharrows maybe we could all get along…

Where’s my 5th Ave sharrows?


jonawebb
Participant
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Ahlir, I think you like sharrows way too much. Do you really think a few cartoon cyclists would help cyclists between Shady and Beechwood?


The Iguana
Participant
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I can’t see how a few cartoon bikers can hurt. Are you suggesting we stop sharrowing…get rid of the ones in place?…Here’s a study https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/pedbike/10041/10041.pdf


jonawebb
Participant
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I think they’re useful to mark good routes. I don’t think they help that much in really bad areas like Fifth between Shady and Beechwood. The only thing to do there is to take the lane, or ride on the sidewalk. But I’ll read the studies you cite to see if I’m wrong.


Ahlir
Participant
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You’re probably right that I’m over-focusing on sharrows. But I’m actually interested in legitimation.

The sharrow is a constant reminder that bikes have the right to be on the road and that this is officially acknowledged by the authorities. This is particularly important on streets like 5th where drivers have come to assume that somehow they have privilege and can treat the street as a limited-access highway.

sharrows + speed enforcement = a safer street for all

[note:] Beechwood-Shady is a connector, and other than going up/down Shady, the most direct way to get from Shadyside to Squirrel Hill and points south. Maybe once all that Bakery Sq hoo-hah settles down there will be a useful alternative. As well, I see people going up and down 5th between Shadyside and Oakland (students by the looks of it). It’s a legitimate biking road, though some of us tend to avoid it (for good reason).


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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On a four-lane street, I stand determined in asserting that I can take the right lane and go any damned speed I please. I sometimes don’t feel like hammering along at 22 mph.

Traffic: Slow. The. Fuck. Down. I don’t know how you get on the radio and say that, but say that we must. Because that, and that first and foremost, is what needs to happen.

Police: Enforce the goddamned speed limit. Everywhere. Actually show up in the DJ’s office and prosecute, every single ticket.

PennDOT: Stop it, just stop it, about “improving traffic flow”. NO!! Not only no, but Hell No. We don’t want improved traffic flow. We want impeded traffic flow. Every single traffic engineer out there, and his/her professor, and his professor (because nobody in engineering was female before the 1980s), and HIS professor, and HIS professor, all bought into the idea of making cities accommodate cars. The only way I know to reverse this nonsense is to say it, yell it if necessary, over and over and over and frigging over, that cities are supposed to accommodate people, not cars. Leave the goddamned cars home. Or at least leave them as far away from your destination as you possibly can.

Ngani, I’m glad you were on the radio instead of me, but I think the whole conversation needs to change.

I’ve said it, here and elsewhere, 100 times, but I’ll say it again. My purpose in life is to make it possible for people to conduct their lives without dependency on cars. Nice tool, yes. Some things just can’t be done without a car. But if we want to expand the infrastructure discussion, we have to start with challenging that chiseled-in-granite mindset that “I can’t get where I’m going without my two-ton tin can.” And we do that by forcing — FORCING — people to face up to cyclists’ absolute right to use the lane, anywhere, anytime, as long as they want, at any speed they want.


neilmd
Member
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FYI, we are having an event at CMU on Tuesday evening from 6-8:30 regarding actions the City of Pittsburgh can take to mitigate (i.e. help prevent) climate change *right now* (i.e. before State, Federal or International policy catches up to the issues in a meaningful way).

http://www.cmu.edu/environment/steinbrenner/building-a-resilient-pittsburgh-forum.html#Building%20A%20More%20Resilient%20PGH

This is co-sponsored by the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research at CMU (which I direct) and the Mayor’s Office. The objective is to assess people’s receptiveness to various potential city policies that relate to reducing the city’s climate impact. It is open to all — you can pre-register at the above website but to no have to, and you can participate in a formal pre- and post-event poll.


Ahlir
Participant
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actions the City of Pittsburgh can take to mitigate (i.e. help prevent) climate change *right now*

Some years ago I decided that preventing climate change starts with personal action: In our house incandescents were gradually replaced with CFLs (and more recently LEDs). Daily travel shifted to bicycles (and buses). Other stuff (like recycling, composting, insulation) we did a while ago on the simple principle of reducing waste; in retrospect it helps climate change as well.

I would say that the critical action is education: make people realize that some of their actions have consequences and that there are alternatives, most of which are actually low effort, and moreover can decrease one’s cost of living.

The role of the city government should be education. It should be education by example: make public transport more available; encourage biking by improving infrastructure. Increase the cost of bad decisions (like driving to work), Though the latter mustn’t happen before the former is in place.

Spend the money for stuff like LED street lights, energy-efficient city vehicles, LEED buildings and so on.

Make it easy to do and set an example.

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