FINAL Forbes Ave (CMU to Pitt) Redesign Public Meeting (with bike lanes):July 17

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erok
Keymaster
#

More info coming soon, but wanted to get this on calendars.

This is it folks, the PennDOT/City/CMU/Pitt/OTMA team are ready to unveil their new design and schedule for Forbes Ave, between Bigelow Blvd and Margaret Morrison.

They are planning bike lanes along this mile-long length Forbes, with a contra-flow lane from Bellefield to Bigelow. This is a pretty significant and positive change all around, so please be sure to show up. It’s been a long slog.

Monday July 17, 2017 / 5pm-7pm

Jared L. Cohon University Center, Rangos 2, 2nd Fl

You may remember this, from last year.

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buffalo buffalo
Participant
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…any indication of how this will interact with Port Authority’s plans for BRT, or if the two groups have even talked to each other…?


erok
Keymaster
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Yes they are talking. from what i understand, this will not interfere with BRT plans. Last I could tell, BRT will be using Bellefield and onto Fifth. The Squirrel Hill branch will be mixed into traffic after Bigelow.


chrishent
Member
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These bike lanes can be seen in the BRT Oakland map.  You can see how they go in between Bigelow and Craig:

http://www.portauthority.org/paac/Portals/0/BRT/Oakland.pdf

There are a couple of spots where the bike lanes run right in front of a BRT stop. A portion of the inbound bike lane will run contraflow on Forbes, between Bellefield and Bigelow. Man, I hope they put some bollards there…


NMR
Member
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Anyone have a recap from last night?


erok
Keymaster
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The meeting was well attended, pretty much standing room only, but not as many as last time.

I really gotta hand it to PennDOT, it may have been the best presentation that I’ve seen them give. It was informative, they did a good job explaining the complexities and what they were doing and why, and brought up and addressed many of the concerns that they received from the previous meeting and the commenting process.

The plans look good too. I still have concerns, namely the intersection of Beeler/Forbes is still really wide and expansive. i’m not gonna lie, i have some concerns about the contra-flow bike lane from Bellefield to Bigelow. Also…Surtrac.

Cheryl ended with an impassioned speech about how PennDOT is learning about multi-modal design and how much they’ve learned in this process.

People left really positively, and there was even applause at the end.


Steven
Participant
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Thanks for the report.

Did they mention whether they were still planning to change the pedestrian signal at Craig to eliminate the current all-way crossing phase, and have pedestrians cross while cars were turning?


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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They said explicitly they will keep the all-walk signals at Morewood and Craig; someone suggested they also do Beeler and Bigelow and they said it would be considered.  I don’t recall if Bellefield was mentioned, but frankly it would be almost impossible not to have an all-walk signal there.

 


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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There are a couple of spots where the bike lanes run right in front of a BRT stop. A portion of the inbound bike lane will run contraflow on Forbes, between Bellefield and Bigelow. Man, I hope they put some bollards there…

Because the BRT design isn’t finalized yet, the Forbes Ave design doesn’t explicitly deal with it, but it is left flexible to allow for it.  Currently the bike lanes will simply run past the bus stops–including the big pull-off stops at CMU–but it was suggested floating bus stops (where the bus shelter, etc., would be moved to an island, with the bike lane moved behind the waiting area) be considered, and the project team said they’d think about it.

It did not seem like they intend to put bollards up on the contraflow lane, but rather the design seemed to indicate only a double-yellow line would be used. I think, again, they said they’d think about doing something more substantial, but probably not in the initial install–the City intends to do a temporary, paint-only, install this year, with the State re-doing it when they pave next year.

(A note on scheduling:  If I recall correctly, aside from the City’s repainting between Bigelow and Craig, the intent is to work up final designs this fall, get bids and choose a contractor this winter, and then begin installing the upgraded and replacement traffic signals next spring and summer.  The paving will come hopefully late summer or perhaps early fall 2018.  There will be at least one more public meeting once they’ve chosen a contractor who’ll actually do the work, in order to present the final (subject to weather, etc) schedule, as well as additional private meetings with the universities, hospitals, etc., to select blackout dates, plan alternate emergency-vehicle routes, etc.)


erok
Keymaster
#

It did not seem like they intend to put bollards up on the contraflow lane, but rather the design seemed to indicate only a double-yellow line would be used. I think, again, they said they’d think about doing something more substantial, but probably not in the initial install–the City intends to do a temporary, paint-only, install this year, with the State re-doing it when they pave next year.

One thing that they didn’t go over in the meeting was what they are thinking for the “final” design for the contra-flow lane.

The City intends to put the contraflow with a double yellow sometime this summer. The final PennDOT plan calls for putting some parking in that location, and having a parking-protected, contraflow lane between Bellefield and Bigelow. PennDOT probably didn’t mention this at the meeting because they are currently not allowed to install parking protected bike lanes on their roads. PennDOT Central office is currently trying to change the vehicle code to allow for parking protected bike lanes. They predict this will be accomplished by the time the final project is built. There are apparently legislative cosponsors in PA Congress and they intend to introduce the change in September.

Now i’m sure you’re thinking, “wait, didn’t PennDOT install a parking protected bike lane on E Ohio St?”

Yep. then they found out they weren’t allowed. So now they have become advocates for this vehicle code change within legislature. ¯\_(?)_/¯


erok
Keymaster
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i guess the shrug emoji doesn’t work on the site.


erok
Keymaster
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Article: http://wesa.fm/post/updated-plan-forbes-avenue-well-received-cycling-community#stream/0


erok
Keymaster
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The images and presentation from the meeting were finally posted today.

Here’s our write up and where you can view some of the details

Bike lanes, pedestrian and traffic improvements coming to Forbes Ave in Oakland


erok
Keymaster
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erok
Keymaster
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erok
Keymaster
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Here’s what the City intends to install this summer, with the contra-flow bike lane


Benzo
Participant
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So much excite. Looking forward to riding this once it’s done. It will be nice to have more options for getting in/out/around oakland.


Eric
Member
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So if I’m reading this right, the city is going to make some changes this summer well ahead of knowing if the brt will even be funded or built, right?

 

Edit: new designs look great.  Hope they will be continued if the brt goes through.

  • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  Eric.

buffalo buffalo
Participant
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So if I’m reading this right, the city is going to make some changes this summer well ahead of knowing if the brt will even be funded or built, right?

It’ll just be paint, so by the time they’re ready to do anything with BRT it’ll be time to redo it anyway.  Also, I think most of what they’re planning, at least with the inbound side, is also in the BRT plan, at least as it sits currently…


erok
Keymaster
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correct. they claim that this design won’t affect anything that the Port Authority is planning with BRT. Port Authority was very involved in this design


jonawebb
Participant
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Installation starts Tuesday: http://pittsburghpa.gov/mayor/release?id=7584


erok
Keymaster
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jonawebb
Participant
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Ha, they seem to have comments turned off; good thinking.
Also the poll has very gradually been shifting against bike lanes.


Eric
Member
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No, comments are there and the trolls are out in force.

 

Even Trump commented on it.

  • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  Eric.

erok
Keymaster
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Here’s an action shot of Bigelow.


Eric
Member
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Did they get rid of that head in parking in front of the cathedral?


erok
Keymaster
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i believe it will be parallel parking


erok
Keymaster
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well, more than believe. if you look at the image of the “interim” design that i posted above it shows the parking


erok
Keymaster
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Here’s a blog post of images  that the city put together explaining the changes and new features to forbes http://www.bikepgh.org/2017/08/17/forbes-ave-changes-explained-contra-flow-bike-lanes-two-stage-turns/


Ahlir
Participant
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Bikes lanes on Bigelow and Forbes, next to Cathedral, are in place.


Eric
Member
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A+ for the city trying to get as much done before the students come back.


erok
Keymaster
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here’s some early shots of forbes:

  • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  erok.

Benzo
Participant
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My one big concern about these lanes in practice is that the bus waiting area on bigelow blvd may not provide enough space for busses in front of the cathedral of learning, which means busses may be parked partially in the bike lane as part of the regular routine.  It might be ample width for car parking, but possibly not for busses.


erok
Keymaster
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i have the same concerns, but i don’t think this is the endgame. i get the sense that pitt really wants to completely redesign bigelow altogether to limit, if not exclude motor vehicles, but i think those plans will take several years to get together with community input, studies, etc.


Eric
Member
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Agreed.  Pitt is already half way there with closing Bigelow a lot during the fall semester.


erok
Keymaster
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erok
Keymaster
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just rode this today for the first time. was there around 4:30pm, which was clearly rush hour, because i went back around 5:30 and traffic was lighter. Cars were still flowing smoothly, and no back ups.

I didn’t realize how much of the lane was going to have bollards, i think they may have made that decision last minute. There are bollards in front of the Carnegie music hall (eastbound) as well as some on the contra-flow lane.

Some observations:

The contra-flow lane worked really well. Right now at the beginning of it there are about 1/2 block or so of water filled jersey barriers, then it goes to yellow bollards. So no surprise there that it felt fine. entering it was much easier than i predicted. heading westbound, you simply stop at bellefield and wait for the ped signal. There’s some signs that say Bikes use Ped Signal. Kinda feel like it should say Bikes Wait for Ped Signal. Either way, it wasn’t a long wait, and then it’s an exclusive ped/bike crossing. It will definitely be improved with the addition of the bike signal.

The end of the contra-flow lane at Bigelow was probably the weirdest part. It’s only going to be an issue if you want to make the left toward the Hillman Library. The cars making the left from Forbes onto Bigelow act really shitty, to basically everyone and try to squeeze through the pedestrians. The best thing to do here is to stop or slow and basically act like a ped, because cars aren’t yielding to anyone.

Eastbound the only problem spots that i forsee are the right turn onto Schenley Dr extension. It just seems like it’s unclear what to do, and cars should really merge into the bike lane to make the right turn in order to avoid the right hook. I didn’t have any problems there, but i can see that being a potential issue.

At Bellefield, they put in a way for bikes to make the left turn by going onto the sidewalk for a second, then crossing with the ped signal. In order to do this, there is a weird ramp in the bike lane, but it’s not really a big deal. When PennDOT builds this next year, they are supposed to integrate this into the curb more officially.

There are some drainage issues on Forbes, which may be a problem in the winter. It really needs to be repaved.

Other than that, i thought it worked really well. Curious what other people’s thoughts are.

 


erok
Keymaster
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Also, i was quickly reminded how many cars just blow red lights thru this stretch. it’s actually quite impressive/sad

it’s not quite clear how this section brings out the worst in drivers

  • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  erok.

StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Did I miss something? I think we just set up a deadly situation.

I rode from Craig to Bellefield on Forbes yesterday on my way to the Flock ride. That involved getting in the left lane to get to the contra-flow lane. This is going to be a problem for any rider who is not already an experienced rider, since they are not going to understand you need to be in the left lane in order to safely get to the contra-flow lane.

Your target audience for having these at all are inexperienced riders. Most of them are going to be in the right lane, and most of them are going to be curb-hugging right-lane users, and so are going to have the extremely unsafe situation of trying to get across right-turning traffic from cars in the left lane of inbound Forbes.

I cannot see how nobody did not point this out beforehand.

I guess it isn’t politically wise or possible to do the right thing, which is to truly and properly mess up traffic flow by restricting inbound Forbes to one lane after Craig, drop speed to 15 mph, and force bikes and cars to use the same space so that bikes can get to the contra-flow lane.

Where am I misunderstanding this? If anyone has a better explanation or solution to this, I would love to hear it.


Eric
Member
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Posting a 15 mph speed sign won’t drop speed on that stretch.

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