Greenfield Bridge Demolition/Replacement

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Ahlir
Participant
#

Just to note, the 5′ bikelane would (I assume) be two-way, providing a connection to the Pocussett. (or, hey, just have that light at the north end). Though 5′ seems a bit tight; maybe steal a foot from the sidewalk?

The center lane is there probably because of rush hour traffic to the highway and/or Homestead. Here’s a thought: double-deck the bridge and have the lower level continue on as an on-ramp (merging with the existing one). What’s not to like? (Yes, yes, I know, it’s all been Decided…)


byogman
Member
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Sorry, two way 5′ or even 7′ is not a step in the right direction. I’m also rather certain the bridge decking design, at least, is Decided.

Option A is categorically awful (14′ outside lanes and no protection for cyclists or pedestrians, really??). That needs to be fought, hard.

Option B would be ok if instead of the 14′ lane (that they said would be striped 11′ with a 3′ “rideable shoulder”), they narrowed the other lanes so it could be a 5′ lane there as well.

Close to original plans but better still in terms of encouraging new cyclists would be 5.5 ft. of space (a narrow line of bollards and a little less than 5 ft lane proper) in both directions which would be possible if the car lanes were all 10′ as they are currently.


byogman
Member
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Another option, I’ll just throw out there as a thought experiment and also because I don’t see a unidirectional protected bike lane getting plowed, but we’ve got an inside lane for bikes, outside lane for pedestrians pattern on Poccusset street proper. You could try and harmonize the bridge with that as follows:

Each side of the bridge should have a unidirectional bike/ped area with a dividing line stripe for bikes and peds (bikes closer to the bollards, peds closer to the outside). If you keep the 10′ driving lanes then you get 10.5 ft. per side to work with. You’d need some protection which would cut into that a bit, but still, you’d even be able to run a regular plow through that, right?

To make crossing from pocusset street south across the bridge better, I think installing a roundabout is what makes the most sense. You’d need to narrow and slow greenfield rd. substantially to make that low stress, but there’s an easy and natural way to do that, continue the same bollarded outside lane protections for both bikes and pedestrians up that hill on both sides, especially wide (and possibly keep the grade separation by keeping existing sidewalk) on the downhill side of greenfield rd for the pedestrians.

The thing I don’t know because I don’t ride Pocusset Street much is, do the lines guide behavior, do pedestrians mostly (thinking, better than the jail trail), keep to the outside or do they walk wherever 3 and 4 abreast? Because if that’s the case then even 10′ isn’t good. But if not, this could be a reasonable model for a lot of low stress low gradient facilities.


Steven
Participant
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“Just to note, the 5? bikelane would (I assume) be two-way”

In the PDF you posted (which, granted, is two years old), the 5′ bikelane in option B is one-way northbound (uphill). Southbound, cyclists are shown sharing one of the two lanes.

Given that Benzo’s post says the next meeting is to “review the final plans”, I’m guessing they’ve now picked either Option A or Option B. I’d be surprised if they wound up with an Option C where the 5′ one-way bikelane has turned into a 5′ two-way bikelane.

In any case, it’s done. Per the schedule in the pdf, final design was last fall, they’re doing “review” now, and bidding starts next month. We’ll see soon what they’ve decided to build.


Ahlir
Participant
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Just to continue beating the horse:

Keeping a 5′ (or whatever) bikelane clear is not an insurmountable challenge. Why is it that bikers have to do their own street/bridge shoveling? Drivers don’t.


byogman
Member
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Agreed. I just hypothesized that an arrangement where bikes and pedestrians were in the same space would give more impetus to the idea that it’s a space that needs to be kept clear, and also hypothesized that ease of clearing with existing equipment would be a useful nudge in the right direction to actually do it.


jonawebb
Participant
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BTW the info that’s been posted here is from the Jan 2013 meeting. There may have been some accommodation made to the comments by cyclists etc. resulting from that meeting, as well as from the new focus on bikes. I’m still hoping for a cycletrack which would connect to Pocussett St (which was one of the comments I made to Pat Hasselt at that meeting).


byogman
Member
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The bridge by itself is a pretty short segment without intersections… you could hug the eastern edge of the bridge with a cycletrack but then the right onto Alger becomes problematic and the already ugly left from Alger gets even more problematic. Or you could put the cycletrack on the other wise make the connections both to and from Pocusset unnatural as opposed to having at least an easy connection to. I just don’t see a benefit here as compared to a lane in each direction, especially if you bother to protect those lanes.

It’s sorely tempting to draw these lines on the map, don’t get me wrong. Especially eyeballing a continuation up the inside of the turn along greenfield rd. That seems to cast another vote for a cycletrack on the eastern edge of the bridge. But it’s a bad idea. There’s a real gradient on greenfield rd. and a relatively sharp point to the curve, making it blind. It would just be a recipe for producing bad wrecks.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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All this contention between cyclists and car traffic boils down to car speed. There generally won’t be a problem if we could calm motor traffic to actually go the speed limit, not 150% to 250% of that. That applies to both bridge and Greenfield Rd.


chrishent
Member
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Do we need a cycle track here? I don’t go through this bridge and Greenfield Rd inside the park every day. Other than the terrible pavement, I’ve never had any issues in this particular area.

I think for this case, painted-on lanes on both sides of the bridge should be enough. The inbound lane would connect easily to Pocusset and the uphill shoulder/”bike lane”. The outbound lane maybe should just have sharrows.

It’s been a while since I’ve been on this road. If I recall correctly, when you are coming downhill at speed, where you can easily hit the posted 25 mph limit, you’ll make a (relatively) wide right turn into the bridge. By the time you can move over all the way to the right, you’re probably 1/4 of the way through the bridge


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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It’s that “move over all the way to the right” bit that bothers me. The whole point of sharrows is to remind motorists that there will be cyclists in the lane. Shared space.

Slow down the motor traffic to 25 — really, 25 max, not posted 25 and tolerate 40 — and then there isn’t a problem with cyclists right in the lane, particularly on the downhill side.


chrishent
Member
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@stu, what I meant was move all the way to the right to get inside a bike lane/cycle track on the outbound side of the bridge. Hence my preference for sharrows in this scenario.

I bet anybody passing you on the bridge going outbound will likely just end up stopping at the red light on Alger.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I don’t want anyone passing me on the bridge. I want them getting in line behind me.


byogman
Member
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chrishent, you can’t really carry the speed from Greenfield Rd. across the bridge because the turn is too sharp. That was a question that came up at the last meeting… if you make that a shared lane can you smooth that out so it’s easier to carry speed. Answer then was no.

That said, it’s true it’s not really a stressful area. I think the cycletrack comes up because of how Pocusset street is truly zero stress, and so there’s strong desire to build something as close to zero stress as possible as an add on, start playing connect the dots on that.

It’s a very good desire, and to get the “interested but concerned” to move in large numbers you have to provide more and more connected zero stress riding in your core high ridership areas… even if you can’t totally get from A to B that way if you can get close the ride gets a lot more approachable.

I just have have concerns about a cycletrack from an intersection standpoint and, continuing up greenfield rd as per the budget line-item, from a speed/blindness standpoint.

Talking about moderating speeds is yes, well, if cars drove slower this stuff would be pretty easy… but probably still not quite that 8-80 easy. More importantly, we’re talking to ourselves. Motors and an insulated cabin inevitably create unconscious speed and until driving is looked at as an option rather than a necessity there will never be a crackdown on it.

So, in conversations about how to change the physical environment to facilitate biking, I really believe we’re more productive if we stick with how to change the physical environment.


richierich
Member
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I live near here and go through not infrequently. If the pavement were less ragged I’d probably go through more. A big reason in my mind to have some kind of protected lane(s) for bikes is because during certain hours of the day traffic is pretty much at a stand-still on that bridge. There are no gaps to get onto it from Pocusset. One of the best things about bike lanes, even flawed ones, is that it allows us to bypass all that traffic. It pisses me off to no end when I have to sit in traffic to pass through my neighborhood because a bunch of idiots want to drive through it everyday at 2 miles per hour to get to the highway. Climbing Greenfield is the same way during part of the afternoon. I should not have to trackstand up a multi-mile hill to pass through a residential area to get home.

All around, though, narrow lanes and sharrows would be much more practical. The bridge is short, the posted speed limit is low, traffic is minor when it isn’t stop-and-go, and merging in and out of traffic on either end to get into the desired lane would be a huge headache. So if they do go with bike lanes, there should also be traffic controls that make those lanes practical to use. Head start on green lights for cyclists?


erok
Keymaster
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Mayor just put out this press release:
http://pittsburghpa.gov/mayor/release?id=4011

The new bridge combines a graceful design with improved accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists.”
Connecting the community of Greenfield to Schenley Park and beyond, a 10-foot pedestrian sidewalk and dedicated bike lane will make the bridge safer for drivers, walkers and bicyclists while expanding the City’s efforts to make Pittsburgh more walkable and bike-friendly. Landscaping of adjacent greenspace and its incorporation as part of Schenley Park will complement the attractiveness of the bridge upon entering and leaving Greenfield.


erok
Keymaster
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this is tomorrow people!


byogman
Member
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I’ll be there.


Mick
Participant
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Given how politics sometimes works, if I were given the choise between something very modest that was actually built into the infrastructure VS something grand but could be painted over to make a car lane some day when King Lou Krevanstahl (or his ilk) makes his return, I’d take small and permanent.


paulheckbert
Keymaster
#

repeat:

Benzo said: PUBLIC MEETING
The City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works, Bureau of Transportation & Engineering will be holding a Public Meeting to review the final plans for the Greenfield Avenue Bridge project which will replace the existing structure along with minor roadway upgrades. The new bridge will be constructed on the current alignment following the closure of the existing bridge in October of 2015 and implosion in December.

PUBLIC MEETING DATE: Tuesday, February 3, 2015
TIME: Open House – 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Presentation – 6:30 PM
LOCATION: St. Rosalia Catholic Church, 411 Greenfield Avenue, Wuerl Hall

Source: http://southoaklandpgh.org/current/public-meeting-on-greenfield-bridge-project-tue-23-6pm-411-greenfield-ave/

Ahlir said: I don’t believe that a pointer to this presentation http://www.pittsburghfederalprojects.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Greenfield-Bridge-PMtng-FINAL-01-12-13.pdf has been posted as yet.


jonawebb
Participant
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That’s the old presentation, BTW — from two years ago. Unless they reused the filename.


paulheckbert
Keymaster
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Notes from the meeting today. Pictures to follow.

Pat Hassett, asst dir of Pittsburgh’s Dept of Public Works did most of the talking. About 200 people attended the meeting – big crowd! Many were Greenfield residents worried about traffic & detours.

Bridge will close approximately Oct 2015 through May 2017 – 17 months!
Demolition of the bridge will be done between Christmas and New Years’ in late 2015, necessitating closure of Route 376 for a 5 day period.

There was much discussion of detour traffic concerns: anticipated problems at Murray & Hobart, at Greenfield Ave & Swinburne, at Blvd of the Allies and Dawson, for example.
It was pointed out that now that Route 28 has been improved, long-distance drivers needing to get between downtown and eastern areas (e.g. Murrysville, Harrisburg) during the 5 days when 376 is closed should simply take Route 28 to I-76.
Someone in the audience proposed that Boundary St be converted from a trail into an auto road. Several people in the audience applauded the idea, but I booed.

The new bridge, traveling north-to-south (toward Greenfield):
Coming down from Panther Hollow Rd, Greenfield Rd will have protected bike lanes on both sides and one car lane in each direction (road diet from the current two lanes southbound and one lane northbound) – they’re hoping to slow traffic on Greenfield Rd.
Sidewalk on the west side of the bridge, only.
Southbound car traffic will expand from one lane to two on the bridge, anticipating a back-up of cars turning left from the bridge onto Beechwood Blvd during evening rush hour.
They will paint a wide safety (exclusion) zone to separate the southbound cars turning right onto the bridge from the bicycles to their right.
Cyclists going wanting to turn left onto Pocusset St are expected to dismount and walk their bikes across the road there, on boldly painted crosswalk.
They do not plan to put bollards around this cross-hatched safety zone.
Southbound cyclists across the bridge will be sharing the rightmost lane with cars (but they’ll probably be moving at good speed).
Some southbound cyclists might choose to ride on the sidewalk.

Traveling south-to-north (into Schenley Park):
Cyclists will be on the sidewalk as they leave Beechwood Blvd headed toward the bridge. The sidewalk then ramps down to street level and becomes a bike lane across the bridge (paint, no bollards).
Cyclists coming from Alger St wanting to cross the bridge will have to do roughly what they do now: cross backed up traffic at the Beechwood-Greenfield Rd intersection and turn left into the rightmost (east) lane of the bridge. But now there will be 5 foot wide bike lane all the way across the bridge. At the north end of the bridge, where Greenfield Rd bends left, cyclists will be separated from cars by a curb, for a short distance, then bollards.

Pedestrians traveling north need to get to the west side of the bridge, where the sidewalk will be.

There will be improvement of a bike/ped detour for the 17 months when the bridge is out: the steps from Greenfield Ave to Alexis St will be rebuilt this year (with bike rail!), then down Alexis St to Big Jim’s, follow Junction Hollow Trail to Joncaire, and the Joncaire steps up to the Frick Fine Arts Bldg and Schenley Dr will be rebuilt (with bike rail) this year, also.

Q&A and announcements will be here: http://greenfieldbridge.otmapgh.org/


paulheckbert
Keymaster
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From the meeting.

Cross sections, existing and planned, viewed from Greenfield (south) end of bridge:


North end of bridge (north is to the right)


South end of bridge (north is to the right)



byogman
Member
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VERY well covered.

We definitely need to come out forcefully as a bike community against connecting boundary street to the run for motor vehicles, Pat mentioned that he had proposed such a thing in the past and that it didn’t go well for reasons he didn’t remember but that he’d look into it again.

Specifically, it needs to be emphasized how the trail, boundary and then the upgraded joincare steps were the proposed alternate bike/ped crossing going north (and will still be the bike/ped routing with the least daunting hill climb thereafter) and in that light we need be looking at making those modes more comfortable, something which would be wildly incompatible with a huge stream of motor vehicle traffic.


byogman
Member
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I will say, I was impressed by how Pat stood firm against the but… but… traffic objections to the plan to bring greenfield rd and the start of the bridge down to a narrowed single motor vehicle lane and was on point on the negative impacts the proposals for more motor vehicle throughput capacity would have in various spots.

The point was pressed in a sidebar with the engineering firm that a 14 ft. shared lane doesn’t really allow legal passes given the 4 ft law. It seems highly unlikely anything comes of it. But it also sounded like, in spite of the fact that it’s a 14 ft outside lane and the other lanes are 11 ft, the painted “super sharrows” would be 4 ft. wide, so that’s better than a line painted 3 feet from the edge of the road, the “rideable shoulder” presented before.


byogman
Member
#

Another sidebar I had strongly suggested that Pat would very much LIKE to do some sort of facility along Panther Hollow Rd continuing where the cycletrack left off… routing cyclists through the interchange was perceived as problematic, and there was fear (and I think justifiably so), the climbing cyclists would feel exposed in a cycletrack on the north side of the road facing the cars flying down the hill to one side just outside the bollards. I didn’t bother to add on, CYCLISTS flying down the other side of the cycletrack. Point is, there seems there’s a willingness to consider annexing some space, and that’s not small!


J Z
Participant
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Thanks for debriefing on this.


chrishent
Member
#

Today’s news articles on last night’s meeting:

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2015/02/03/Public-invited-to-attend-meeting-on-Pittsburgh-s-Greenfield-Bridge-project/stories/201502030185

http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/7700693-74/bridge-greenfield-lanes#axzz3QmYRxuAl

So far, no bitching about the bike lanes. I’d suspect the commenters will more concerned with the traffic detours, Parkway closures, and such.


richierich
Member
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Thanks for the summaries and diagrams. It looks basically like the old design, but we get a little more designated space, which will be good and bad as is usually the case.

Did they say anything about whether Pocusset will be closed during construction? That would be a huge unnecessary inconvenience and cut off an obvious detour for a lot of people (and my primary route to & from Oakland).

Was there any indication of how wide the Greenfield Rd. protected lane approaching the bridge would be? That’s a pretty fast stretch of road, and even if it were the width of the bi-directional Phipps lane it seems it would be very sketchy to lean and pedal through the curve with bollards there. There’s definitely space to do it right.


Benzo
Participant
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I don’t understand why the sidewalk turns in to a bike lane to cross the bridge. I do not expect to be riding down a sidewalk in what looks to be a business district on beechwood blvd. I would rather just have 2 sidewalks on the bridge.


byogman
Member
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They were indicating that plans were for a 5′ lane protected in each direction. That’s fine uphill, but the downhill direction generally and at at the curve especially, there ought to be more space.


jonawebb
Participant
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@benzo, so it’s a dedicated bike lane. The whole idea is to segregate bike traffic from pedestrian traffic.


Marko82
Participant
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Thanks for all of the updates.

The idea of a road going through Panther hollow/Boundary is worrisome. There used to be a through road there up until the late 1970’s, and it probably wouldn’t cost all that much to put it back in either. We need to make sure that this doesn’t happen.


mjacobPGH
Member
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I was unable to attend this meeting due to previous commitments so correct me if I’m wrong, but it is my understanding that this idea to turn Panther Hollow into a road way was presented by a resident and not Pat himself, correct? This idea would be very costly nor is there much to say it would alleviate traffic. I’m sure that the residents of The Run and Lower Oakland would have something to say about it, as well.


byogman
Member
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During the meeting it was proposed by someone in the crowd. Pat mentioned that he had proposed such a thing in the past and that it didn’t go well for reasons he didn’t remember. He didn’t seem enthusiastic about it, but didn’t seem dead set against either, and closed it off saying something to the effect “let’s look into that, ok?” to someone taking notes.


Ahlir
Participant
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Panther Hollow did use to have a (gravel) road going through it (in the late 70s). I still remember riding it, and having to go past this one house with some really vicious dogs tied up in front. (Which I think you can still get to by following the street past the bikeway entrance).

I would be shocked (and dismayed) if a road were put in. Pretty sure it can’t happen though. It is not an efficient route (as opposed to 2nd) and the residents at the bottom (and top) will scream to high heaven.


paulheckbert
Keymaster
#

I emailed this to Pat Hassett and to Chuck McClain, project manager:

Mr. Hassett: thanks for the meeting last night. Please forward this to HDR Engineering, if appropriate.

I think the biggest problem with the bridge traffic design shared at the meeting is the crosswalk at the north end of the bridge, and the apparent lack of physical protection of the southbound bike lane and people using the crosswalk from southbound traffic. Cars have a tendency to cut corners on the inside, unless there are curbs, bumps, or bollards in their way, so if the crosshatched “exclusion zone” shown in this diagram is just paint on the road (as I heard at the meeting), that will not keep cars out, especially after it fades and gets worn away for several years.

If cars waiting to turn left on Beechwood (headed for 376 eastbound) have backed up as shown in red (something that happens most weekday evenings, I understand), and a blue car comes along that wants to go straight on Ronald St, say, it will most likely drive across the crosshatched exclusion zone in order to squeeze into the righthand lane. In the process, however, it will drive into the southbound bike lane and endanger cyclists there.

My recommendations:

1) The crosshatched exclusion zone on the inside of the curve at the north end of the bridge (in front of and under the blue car) needs to have a curb or bump or bollards to keep cars from driving across it.

2) The crosswalk is inherently unsafe for cyclists. Thinking bigger, a much better option would be a bypass path under the bridge, as shown in green. Then the crosswalk would not be needed at all!




Marko82
Participant
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@paul, Penndot did an under-bridge path like you show up near the trail in Freeport (I think Yale would have pics of it). You should forward that example on as a spot where the engineers got it right and they would also have an idea about the costs involved in constructing it.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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That’s almost exactly what we discussed a year ago about the north end of the bridge, some sort of path to get cyclists from Pocusset to Saline, if they’re not going to build a switchback. And which, if they did, would create a direct path from eastern Greenfield to the Jail Trail.

Also, for another simple, short, under-bridge bike path, see West Main St by the West End Circle project.


paulheckbert
Keymaster
#

@marko82: yes, good point, will do. Yale and I were there: Butler-Freeport bike trail where it goes under Lobaugh Bridge (aka Freeport Bridge, which carries Route 356 over the Allegheny River).





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