How do we get a mirror on the chute?

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J Z
Participant
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@edmonds59 I wonder of Center for Creative Reuse might have a “few pieces of mirror finish stainless steel” that are thin and flexible that would fit the bill. You know, just throwing it around as an academic exercise. Just a couple of strips that would illustrate to oncoming users if there is any movement in the chute would probably be sufficient.

@byogman if you feel like it, submit a 311 request and see if they tell you the same thing they told me.


Marko82
Participant
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@byogman, I suspect the mirror that was put up near the scrap yard in SS was not put up by the city, but rather installed as part of the wall/fence contract. So the city’s 311 response is not inconsistent, it’s just that the request is misdirected.

FWIW I think the low cost walmat mirror would be worth a try and I’d be willing to help others install it. When we put the mirror up near Kennywood it helped to have at least three people to aim the mirror correctly – one from each direction and one holding the mirror.

I’ll try to remember to look at the area more closely tonight for attachment options and will try to take some pictures as well.


byogman
Member
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Will share any results from what I sent to 311. Wasn’t it the city that installed the jersey barriers? If not, who did? The city wasn’t saying it wasn’t their jurisdiction which would’ve been the easy answer for them if they just wanted this question to go away.

For sure, the roadway oriented excuses just miss the mark entirely and the rest is whining about something that’s really nothing, that’s my point. If we need to show to tell, I’d be delighted to help with any effort to even slightly ameliorate this longstanding cluster&*.


jonawebb
Participant
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Even just pretty randomly oriented mirrors will help there, I think. You should be able to tell if someone is approaching from the other side. It doesn’t have to be perfect. And several mirrors stuck in place should be pretty resistant to vandalism.


dmtroyer
Participant
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Could we rent a forklift and just move the barriers out a smidge?


jonawebb
Participant
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Maybe just a little bit each day…


Pierce
Participant
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That spot definitely needs three lanes. Go there at 5pm any weekday and it’s always backed up. Would be worse with only two lanes. I used to live in Greenfield and used that route all the time. Maybe it’s gotten worse since then.

As far as making it wider, it’s still a sharp turn. I occasionally have people almost run into me on the HMB because they take such wide turns. So even if it’s wider, people are still going downhill and will still probably cut into your path of travel.

There’s a mirror by the scrap yard on the Waterfront trail. Maybe just reach out to them and see where they got it from.


Marko82
Participant
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I spent some time checking out the chute yesterday. Here are some observations:

-the narrowest part of the chute is 4’2″, which is right at the bend of second ave under the trestle (first pic)
-the short 4′ wall at this location is permanent pored concrete and can’t be moved. The permanent wall continues down second ave for 37 more feet(2nd pic where my tape measure is on wall), then it becomes movable jersey barriers
-the width of the bike lane (other than @ corner) from curb to permanent wall is 5’2″
-it seems the only option for attaching a mirror is either to attach it high to concrete wall, or low to concrete wall.
-I also talked with Ronald who walks this every day heading to his job downtown. He said that very few cyclist (or runners) ring bells or shout out their approach at the corner & he has had many close encounters here

View post on imgur.com

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View post on imgur.com


Marko82
Participant
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I still think we could put up a mirror at the corner, it will just take a little more effort. I have a hammer drill, ladder, and small generator that would allow us to drill into the concrete. We would just need to buy some angle iron and hardware in addition to the mirror.

Of course there are two more corners in that stretch that could also benefit from having mirrors. But I’d suggest we try this corner first (since it’s the narrowest) and see how it lasts. Then we can put up the others if everything goes well.


jonawebb
Participant
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I trust your judgment on viewing angles etc. but I think that the more elaborate we make the installation, the more likely it is to get ruined by vandalism. Wouldn’t it work to just epoxy up multiple convex stainless steel mirrors at that corner?


J Z
Participant
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Ronald? Is that the guy who gave me high – 5 riding through the chute?


Marko82
Participant
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I think epoxying a small (6 inch) mirror to the low wall might work and it would be easy enough to do. But I think if you want to put up a larger mirror, attaching it higher up on the tall wall would probably make it more difficult to vandalize.

I’m open & willing to try anything.


Ahlir
Participant
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I just measured the (mustache) handlebars on my commuter bike at 2’2″. Darn! That’s more than 1/2 the width of that chute corner. It won’t work. My other bike has 2″1′. So it fits! I should definitely be on it when I plan to do that stretch. As long as no one else screws it up.


Ahlir
Participant
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But seriously.
Let me ventilate for a bit.
It’s been a long week.

Making the chute work is not our job. This is why we have a municipal government. And elected representatives. And of course why we “pay taxes”. We are a legitimate part of the community. Trust me we are. Deal with it, already.
We are entitled to reasonable amenities.
Particularly when people’s safety is at stake.

Why is it ok to expose bikers, joggers, walkers and our children to the chute? It’s not. The chute may have served a purpose a long time ago, when traffic was light, but it no longer does. It has to be fixed. We’re spending tens of millions of our “tax dollars” to fix the (unbikable) Baum/Craig/Bigelow. Why not a fraction of that for the much more critical upgrades to the 2nd Ave bike connection?

The chute is in District 5, “D.5”: Corey O’Connor (412-255-8965).
D.5 even has a website!

Fortuitously I happen to live in his district. On Monday morning I will call my councilor’s number and bring the chute problem to his (or his voicemail’s) attention. I’ll let you know what happened.

But if you also live in this (oddly salamanderish) district why don’t you also check in? But you don’t even have to live in D.5; just be a city resident who needs to travel through the chute.

[this bboard software…]


Pierce
Participant
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What I do is just post it and then edit accordingly


ErinK
Participant
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Yeah the chute is terrifying. I ride it infrequently but there is usually so much traffic I can’t bring myself to use the road.

Is the dead mirror not still there? There was a mirror when they built that and it was completely broken by vandals within a few months.


Vannevar
Participant
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I like everything said above, including the advice to gush-a-post and then edit subsequently, but I’d like to ask a slightly different question:

While a mirror is wonderful and lets you see around the corner to identify an inbound cyclist (unwisely) using the chute, how does that inbound cyclist know what we want them to do?

Which takes me to: Do you think it would have a noticeable affect if we put a sign on the Jersey barrier under the bridge?

The mirror will tell us when an inbound cyclist is using the chute.
BUT
telling cyclists about the flow will give them the info to do the right thing, and probably X% will take the guidance.

what do yinz think?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Need another one for outbound if you are going to do that.


Marko82
Participant
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@v. I know most of us usually take the lane inbound rather than deal with the chute, but I would hate to make that the preferred route for all cyclists. Do we really want to tell an adult riding with little ones that we think it’s safer for them to take the lane rather than stay behind a nice concrete wall? I’m all for encouraging people to use roads, but I don’t think this small stretch is where I’d start doing that.

You know putting up small stop signs (for bikes) like they did in Homestead might not be a bad idea. Surely no one will stop at them, but hopefully it will draw their attention the fact that conflict with other traffic should be expected.


Ahlir
Participant
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I’m all for encouraging people to use roads, but I don’t think this small stretch is where I’d start doing that.

The point is not to make all cyclists use the road, the point is to legitimate the road (at that spot) for those cyclists who do use it. And to make it safer for everyone by reducing traffic in the chute.


Vannevar
Participant
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Marko you are wise as always. Thanks!


Steven
Participant
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You know putting up small stop signs (for bikes) like they did in Homestead might not be a bad idea.

Is the “Walk Bikes” sign on Saline near the entrance to the chute still there? That seems like the same idea; nobody does it, but it warns there could be conflicts.

It might be tough to position a stop sign so chute users see it, but it isn’t sticking out in their way, and people in the lane right next to the chute don’t think it applies to them too. Maybe paint on the ground would work better?


neilmd
Member
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Is there any reason that 2nd needs to be 2 lanes outbound there? It is coming up to a light and of course splits in various directions under the RR bridge, but I rarely see a ton of traffic going in that direction. Why not just make the chute actually wide enough to work as a bike lane on 2nd? This does not totally solve what to do under the bridge / on the sidewalk, but it would make the whole thing much more functional.

At the same time, one could imagine re-painting my “favorite” Irvine to make it 1 lane each way and creating bike lanes there too — it is likely to be at least a year before some form of lane returns on the ALMONO site.


ErinK
Participant
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I have always figured the purpose of the “walk bikes” sign is just to put the blame solely on me if I get into a dispute there.

If I rode it more frequently I probably would take the lane. As it is, I slow down to a crawl (and my brakes always squeal like crazy) and balance bike my way through there making as much noise as possible at the corners.

The one time I did see a conflicting cyclist, he yelled real good as he came down the outbound path, so that was good. But I haven’t been there much on weekends.


edmonds59
Participant
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Maybe this has been mentioned before at some point, but it would be interesting to what the motor vehicle lanes are painted at. I believe the nacto min. is 10′. If they are marked wider, a push should be made to have the road reconfigured to the minimum lanes and the chute moved out correspondingly. Google makes it look a bit excessive. https://goo.gl/maps/7fo3gJ1B3Po


reddan
Keymaster
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We could also probably get some additional width (1′?) by replacing the jersey barriers with candlesticks (although with an obvious trade-off in terms of less armor ‘twixt trail users and motor vehicles)


Marko82
Participant
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^If you look at my third picture above, the low wall right at the bend is NOT a jersey barrier that can be moved easily. It is a permanently poured concrete wall that extends down the trail another 37 feet past the curve. To gain any width at the bend they would need to demo that wall with a jackhammer/backhoe etc. and then you would only gain a foot or so of space. IMHO, it’s not a very good return on investment (of bicycle advocacy).

I think fighting for a more direct connection (across/over/under the RR tracks for instance) would be something more worthwhile to fight for, even if it seems less plausible.


jonawebb
Participant
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http://rockalley.org/routes/bike-routes/panther-hollow/ describes a good replacement for the whole mess. The route they suggest is drawn in red:

You would head off to the right (west) from the end of Junction Hollow trail at the edge of Schenley Park, instead of going to the left under the railroad bridge. You stay on the west side of the railroad the whole way to the Eliza Furnace trail parking lot, and never have to deal with any railroad crossings.
The biggest problem with this is that you have to fit the trail under the Parkway East bridge, and the space between the trail and the railroad is tight at times.


paulheckbert
Keymaster
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See my map at http://goo.gl/lT0LWO and click on “Junction Hollow Trail – rerouted” to see a picture of the route that jonawebb mentioned.


Marko82
Participant
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^I’ve been meaning to measure how close the tracks are to the parkway bridge supports but keep forgetting to do it. I know it gets pretty tight at the piers.

But knowing that it get’s tight shouldn’t deter us completely – here’s a pic of how close the tracks are to the trail in McKeesport by the police station.

View post on imgur.com


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Go big or go home. I want some serious infrastructure there, and to spend some real money. Whatever we put there has to scale, not just handle the weekend joyriders we have now, but five times that number, when we have people coming down from Squirrel Hill and over the river from Rankin.

We need to make the case for The Spindle. Suspend a big ring over the whole intersection and run bike path ramps up to it from all sides. Make the pinnacle 150 feet high so it attracts a lot of attention. This will likely cost ten million.

I’m not kidding. This is THE knot in the whole area, the one corner where stuff already doesn’t fit, doesn’t work, where cyclists are already “breaking the rules” so as not to get killed, and which makes entire parts of town essentially off-limits to all but the brave or foolish.

Whatever you put there, ask yourselves, how high would it rank on the Popsicle Index?

Whatever we put there, we will be looking at for years, probably decades. How long has the chute been there? Would you bring in friends from out of town to look at the chute, other than to point fingers of derision at it? How about instead we have a Coming Out Of The Fort Pitt Tunnel At Night For The First Time scale of infrastructure to solve this big problem?

I have some rough sketches, but it would be nice to put together a better presentation to sell to the big boys.

Spend the money. Do it right. Think big.


jonawebb
Participant
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I really think the Eliza Furnace trail’s centrality to bike commuting from the east is an accident. It’s just some space that wasn’t used for anything else, so it got dedicated as a bike/pedestrian pathway. Connecting from Squirrel Hill and Greenfield requires climbing a steep hill, and the connection from Oakland and points north makes no sense at all. The primary connection to the downtown from the east should be through Oakland, so it can pass CMU and Pitt. Say, dedicate a lane of Forbes through Oakland to bikes, then connect to a BRT lane the rest of the way.


Jason-PGH
Member
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Off topic, but as part of the BRT, a segregated bike lane is under consideration for either Fifth or Forbes.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Make it easy to get to the Jail Trail from Hazelwood, and you will see some bike traffic from there. Right now, Hazelwood is one of those places like McKees Rocks that are completely inaccessible to human beings except by a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine.

Braddock isn’t that much farther upstream that you won’t see some traffic coming in from there. Same thing as would-be cyclists coming in from Sharpsburg and Aspinwall, if only they could get down the ballast from the 62nd Street Bridge.


stefb
Participant
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“Spend the money. Do it right. Think big”

Amen.


dfiler
Member
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If spending that kind of money i’d prefer it go to solving missing links, not just inconvenient links.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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This is a missing link. You cannot put 500 bikes an hour through there, either direction, any time of day. As a simple rule of thumb, you need to put as many bikes an hour through there as you have cars going through there, per hour, either direction, any time of day, without chaos. The Spindle would do it. The chute would not. Taking the lane would not.


Ahlir
Participant
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I seem to recall, back in the earlier days of this board, someone claiming that they were on a funded project surveying bike trail options in that area. One posting suggested reconnecting Swinburne (probably impractical, given the Parkway) to provide a route to Oakland.

But anyway, if that person is still around or if someone else was involved, was there some published evaluation of the (lower) Swinburne — Boundary Rd connection? The terrain is sketchy and I can see a bike route being expensive (but of course way cheaper than any road or highway work). A cantelever?

I may, of course, be making this up. Memory is like that (for some of us).

While we’re at it, that survey was also supposed to evaluate the reconnection of Sylvan Ave (on the other side) to provide a route to Hazelwood. Doing that could moot part of the whole Almon[d]o bike issue.

Another thought: what if the Junction Hollow trail had a spur up to Swinburne so that bikes could use the bridge and get to the Sylvan Path with less effort?


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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I appreciate the DIY ethos prevalent on this Board, but I gotta agree with Ahlir. Contact your elected public officials, and in a logical, reasonable manner, make your case. Public officials are desperate for public input (notice I am talking about elected public officials, not the enduring bureaucracy…).

Put you issues in front of the officials. Make your case, and hold them accountable. That’s their job.


jonawebb
Participant
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I’ve thought about defying the conventional wisdom and just sticking a mirror up there. But any decent mirror is at least $20, probably more. And it will likely be vandalized in a matter of weeks. So then it would need replaced. I think the city would have the same problem. Anything they would put there would get smashed or painted over. So what would be the point?

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