Freeport Road between Blawnox and Powers Run

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Eric
Member
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Any idea if penndot is going to fix the rock fall area or if their fix are those temp signs? Also, the southbound/westbound side is clearly a bike lane. The other side is too but less well marked and looks like a big shoulder. Any idea if they are going to mark the lanes with bike logos?


stefb
Participant
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Not sure if I have this right, but I heard that someone doesn’t want to spend the money on painting the bike lane icons (maybe Blawnox?).
I heard that Penn dot put down the lanes, but I am not sure if that is actually true.

I am assuming that the rock fall zone is permanent. I always see New rocks and debris there. I feel like they wasted money on the pavement if their intention is to keep people off of it for good, if it is a danger to road users, and they’re not putting up a fence to catch it all. Why not build a curb out and plant grass? I don’t know why the buffer inbound isn’t between traffic and the bike lane. Again, another bike lane right next to the travel lane for no good reason.


the beast
Participant
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The reason they were not marked as bike lanes is, from what Ive read, is that no one wants to take the responsibility of making it an official bike lane.
There is another thread on the subject with links to articles, but I cannot find it right now..


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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My recollection is, PennDOT was willing to make room to put the lanes in, but not to actually take responsibility for them. Bike lanes, like sidewalks, are things our State Department of Automotive Transportation just Does Not Deal With. The townships, if I recall correctly, weren’t interested in being responsible–and legally liable–for the state’s substandard bike lanes, so they said no thanks.

(ETA: Per http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourfoxchapel/yourfoxchapelmore/9307158-74/road-freeport-bike, the townships said, if you’re going to make it an official bike route, we want a barrier to protect people; PennDOT refused.)


andyc
Member
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It’s been easily ride-able westbound the past few weeks.

If no one is actually responsible for it thought, it’s probably going to become all debris after a while.


scott
Keymaster
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In a nutshell, this is why they aren’t actual bike lanes http://bicyclecoalition.org/pa-bicycle-advocacy-groups-call-for-solution-to-obstacle-to-bike-lanes-on-state-roads/.

No bike symbols will be marked in the shoulders. We still see this new design as a great short term win.

Trib: Freeport Road between Blawnox, Harmar dropping from 4 to 3 lanes to give room for cyclists


Marko82
Participant
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^nice write up, thanks for the link.


Benzo
Participant
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Any photos of the new wider shoulder alignment? Did this happen? I havn’t seen it yet.


erok
Keymaster
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PennDOT paved and marked the road, but I was told the responsibility of fixing the landslide hill is that of the municipality (ie not PennDOT).


Eric
Member
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Whatever they did I agree that this is a better short or even medium term solution. It was like the Indy 500 before when it was a 4 lane road. Traffic is so sparse there it never needed to be 4 lanes. It seems less scary now with the current setup.

I assume the rocks have been falling forever. What did Penn dot or ohara do before the rock fall zone? Go out and clean up every few days?


gg
Member
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Just rode this the other night. It was dark and I was going southbound and felt perfectly safe. I didn’t ride the bike lane, but the fallen rock area, which got me away from all the cars. I would do this route anytime without fear southbound. Not sure about going north yet.


Benzo
Participant
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FYI. I recorded a video and uploaded it to youtube showing the current state of Freeport road between the Hulton bridge and blawnox. It’s from a car POV. You can see that from the bridge towards blawnox, it looks nice after a narrow transition area, there is a much smaller shoulder currently northbound (or should I say eastbound) towards the hulton bridge.

I’m wondering how it’s going to look once they address the falling rock areas.


tucksayre
Member
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I rode outbound Blawnox to the Hulton Bridge a couple times over the last couple of weeks. It might be worse than before because now cars have to speed and swerve into oncoming traffic. I’m not sure why they didn’t put a reasonable shoulder in the outbound direction.

I don’t ride it regularly anymore…


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Isn’t this pretty much what West Carson is going to look like when they get done with it? Which should be soon, I think.


Eric
Member
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I don’t think anyone has a plan to fix the rock fall area. I think that the signs and the new stripes would be a temp-perm fix. Especially since the state repaved it and striped it for bikelanes but then O’Hara and Sharpsburg refused to make it into a bike lane because they wanted one separated from traffic. So now we have the hybrid which it is now of non-bike lane bike lanes.


Benzo
Participant
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With this setup, i would consider riding contraflow in the rock fall area before I would prefer to ride the small shoulder on the opposite side. I wonder if ARTEZ folks have any updates?


Benzo
Participant
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Eric
Member
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I think they would need to dynamite off some of the hillside and put up a big fence like on 28. Only problem is that there are lots of houses up top in that part of O’Hara. My guess is that this will never happen. It is cheaper for them to bulldoze the ones that fall and have a huge buffer between the rock wall and the road.


Eric
Member
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Article on the bike lanes/no bike lanes

http://triblive.com/mobile/9307158-96/road-freeport-bike


Eric
Member
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Harman supports a trail, not bike lanes. Sorry if this is old news.

http://triblive.com/mobile/9271827-96/lanes-bike-harmar


Benzo
Participant
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Bicycle Occupancy Permit granted by the state has something to do with the municipalities objections. See Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s write-up about the issue and letter to the state.

http://bicyclecoalition.org/pa-bicycle-advocacy-groups-call-for-solution-to-obstacle-to-bike-lanes-on-state-roads/#sthash.qqjqL9kZ.dpbs

I swear there was another thread talking about this, but I can’t find it


Benzo
Participant
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Though, at this point I would love for them to mitigate the rock fall issue and restripe the wide ‘special shoulders’ on both sides of freeport once they reclaim the rock fall buffer space that occupies a whole traffic lane width.


stefb
Participant
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I have ridden along there a bit in both directions. I haven’t had any issue. It is really weird though. I use the small bike lane outbound.


paulheckbert
Keymaster
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@benzo wondered about Allegheny River Town Enterprise Zone (ARTEZ). They are folding. http://triblive.com/news/neighborhoods/foxchapel/10405874-74/artez-money-organization


Eric
Member
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Having a defacto bike lane while both penndot and the local municipalities claiming it isn’t really a bike lane is ripe for a lawsuit that will settle the matter by ending up in front of the PA Supreme Court. Unfortunately this will take someone getting hurt and then being willing to sue and go through the process for years and years


Swalfoort
Participant
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I don’t know how “Having a defacto bike lane while both penndot and the local municipalities claiming it isn’t really a bike lane is ripe for a lawsuit” comes into play here.

The question of implied liability is a major reason why communities DON’T want to install bike lanes. But, legal sources say that there IS NO liability assumed when a community installs a bike lane.

In other words, liability is the same for roads with a bike lane and without a bike lane.

At least that is what I have been told by the most knowledgeable folks I know on the matter.


Ross
Participant
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That road is my primary route to and from work. I really like the new configuration, especially inbound…but I have to admit that it feels like people pass closer and faster in the morning going outbound (I am riding out to Cheswick then)…still, it’s great not being in a traffic lane up against a guard rail with no shoulder.

I think it’s great that the powers that be did this. It feels like we have some sympathetic friends in PennDOT…


Benzo
Participant
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Yeah, this could be awesome if they fix the rock slide area and re-stripe. Glad to see a few positive responses on here about the current config. I’m sure just narrowing it down to two motor vehicle lanes has modified behavior and now there is at least some buffer space for cyclists in both directions. Though, inbound towards pittsburgh has way more space.

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