Letters to the Editor – 2014 edition
@benzo: “We don’t miss things we don’t have, but we would really miss a nice bike lane if it was put in and removed or put out of service”
This is Pittsburgh. Bike lanes appear and disappear like channels in the Mississippi in the days of Mark Twain. I think we can deal with a bike lane in an unused section of Forbes being replaced by a better connection to the BRT, when and if that happens.
And in the meantime, you have a better ride west from downtown, fewer frustrated motorists, and maybe a few bike converts. You might even avoid some crashes.
After looking at street view, it does seem like you could remove part of the barrier on frobes and use the old decomissioned roadway till the highway offramp. It’s the high speed traffic coming off that ramp that scares the crap out of me the most.
I took this route the other day and really hated it. Would love to use the old road and then have a crossing to a protected bike lane on the other side of the highway off ramp. Hope this connection can be addressed soon. I might have to try hopping the curb on to the dead space there next ride.
I hop the curb.
The big issue is that traffic from the Parkway remains at high speed, typically well beyound the “25 mph Speed Limit” sign.
It’s not unusual to see 60 mph traffic through there.
The potential speed of the traffic coming off the parkway is why I habitually ride toward the latter part of the crosshatched section before I even bother trying to merge.
Less time in a slightly precarious lane, and longer lines of sight as compared to merging earlier. If taken to the end you’re very nearly upon the point where you can easily get over through the reflectors to finish the climb on sidewalk if you’re either feeling nervous, or going to cut over on Craft anyway and not in the mood for the stop and go traffic approaching the intersection.
A friendly reminder to carry a flashlight while crossing streets (http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/letters/2014/09/04/Pedestrians-must-make-themselves-visible-to-drivers-especially-in-darkness/stories/201409040205).
I think she also recommends eating cake when you run out of bread.
We need speed limit set (and enforced) to 20 mph on all streets. Then it would not matter what clothes pedestrian are in.
It will be noted that the road from downtown to the airport has not been I-279 South for a couple of years now. Not that they’d know that; it’s not like they work for a newspaper or something, with access to any recent information or imaginative thinking.
The Trib’s Pittsburgh office is on the North Shore, under the freeway between the stadiums. They probably don’t go through Downtown, anyway.
(Their main office, of course, is in Greensburg…)
But if the Trib is asking people to call Rich Fitzgerald to complain, right now would be a really good time to call him and thank him for the lanes.
Are the bridge lanes affecting traffic? I’m never down that way at rush hour.
I came across the 6th St Bridge around 9:20 this morning. No unusual amount of traffic on that span.
As a potential retort to bike-lane naysayers about fixing potholes vs. building bike lanes. The 2014 PGH capital budget (http://apps.pittsburghpa.gov/cbo/2014_Capital_Budget.pdf) allocated $7.085 million to street resurfacing compared to $125k for bike infrastructure. That is less than 2%
For every dollar spent to build new separated bike lanes, cities could save as much as $24 thanks to lower health care costs and less pollution and traffic, according to a new study from researchers in New Zealand.
— “The Cities That Spend The Most On Bike Lanes Later Reap The Most Reward”, Fast.Company
Somebody needs to talk to this guy: http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/letters/2014/09/10/Bikes-lanes-on-bridges-might-cause-traffic-problems/stories/201409100066
Oh, and here’s a new idea, bicyclists should pay for registration and insurance (also, seatbelts): http://triblive.com/opinion/letters/6741070-74/bicycles-bike-lanes
Jon, I like your reply regarding insurance. It would be interesting to have real figures on the maximum costs of bicycle-caused crashes. I imagine the property costs would be fairly low, probably no more than a thousand dollars or so (dented fender?); but injuring a pedestrian could potentially be almost as expensive as car-caused crashes (head injury?). So maybe requiring some minimal insurance for biking could be a logical argument. Of course the frequency of crashes should be figured in too, so bike insurance would probably only cost a few tens of dollars a year (assuming you dont already have auto insurance). I would buy that.
@marko you may be already covered by homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for injury you cause (personal liability). But it would depend on the state, your policy, etc. I guess.
Bicycles are covered under homeowner policies. PA (and elsewhere) has no-fault. This means your insurance pays for the damage to your vehicle. This makes sense for cars: if you smash a fender you’re out +$1000. If you break your bike fender you’re out maybe $14.95, or maybe just some duct-tape.
Bicycle licenses get tried, then abandoned. It’s easy to find stories about it, e.g.: http://bikesd.org/2012/08/city-of-san-diego-to-remove-bicycle-licensing-requirement/
The rest of the stuff, standard boring well debunked arguments.
But seatbelts, I love it!
Can’t comment on trib stuff while at work, whatever commenting software they use has its domains blocked.
But if ever there were a sign that it’s someone entirely ignorant of bicycling telling us what to do…
Trib still uses Facebook comments, for better or for worse.
(I’m also a little thrown by the seatbelts bit. Poe’s Law strikes again…)
Meanwhile, some Trib commenters elsewhere are aghast that we’re going to pay a competitive salary for our new bike/ped coordinator: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6760579-74/pro-mayor-peduto
Not wading into this one, this time. Same tired bullshit over and over. It’s no so much the stupidity, but the sheer repetitiveness of the stupidity that’s mind boggling.
Somewhere I’ve seen a piece that someone put together that rebuts and shoots down every one of these hackneyed anti-statements (Elly Blue, maybe?) that can be just cut and pasted into these situations. Going to need to dig that up.
The alarming (though maybe not entirely surprising) thing is that the Trib letter writer describes himself as a former State Representative.
So come November, be sure to vote.
And vote for competent people.
It makes a difference.
Man you’re just going to lure me in aren’t you? Like a weasel to bacon.
I see “John Strahs” has moved over to the Trib commentary section.
That paywall has probably kept a lot of folks from commenting on PG.
if anything, it makes it easier to respond mindlessly–the comments show up even if you can’t see the article. (though it’s no longer single sign-in, which probably does help somewhat.)
My comment on that Tribune Review letter:
This video about the history of the Netherlands’ bicycle infrastructure is instructive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuBdf9jYj7o . Synopsis: in the 1960s and 70s, after the rising number of cars on Dutch streets resulted in over 400 child deaths by car per year, nationally, there were grass-roots protests calling for traffic calming (slowing of cars) and serious provisions for pedestrians and cyclists. They’ve been honing their multimodal transportation network (pedestrian, bicycle, bus, train, car) in the decades since. We should study the Dutch and adopt some of their lessons.
Also if we legalize and regulate marijuana and prostitution, Americans would be a lot less tightly wound and irritable. That should get libertarians on our side. Kind of a “Pot, pro’s, and pedals” platform. Not even joking.
Here’s a letter asking employers for showers & locker rooms.
I agree that this could work to help encourage more people to give cycle commuting a try, and it would benefit the runners too.
Maybe multiple employers could provide joint facilities to make it more cost effective. Or maybe UPMC or Highmark could open one or two centrally located locker rooms and offer this as a service to companies using their insurance.
Can’t wait until some of the regular commenters chime in and start ranting against the all powerful, special-interest, “Shower lobby”.
We have a shower at my job. I’ve never used it though. Glad it’s there. If I ever picked up running, I’d consider doing that on my lunch break.
Make those cyclists PAY!
Bike lanes are bad for business!
Thanks for putting up those links Red. If not for those I would probably just be sitting on my deck with a coffee happily smiling at the sunshine. So thanks.
“Thanks for putting up those links Red.”
You’re welcome! :D
Huh, my Snark-o-Meter 5000 is going off. Must be defective.
Your snark o meter may have gone ’round the dial once. :D
My comment on Yochum’s “Penn Ave bike lane is bad for business” letter:
When I visited Toronto last November, even though it was a windy, chilly day, I saw lots of bicycles locked in front of restaurants, lots of cyclists on the street, lots of people apparently using their bicycles for short trips of a mile or two: commuting to work, shopping, going to a movie, eating out. The evidence is that bicycles help make Toronto a more vibrant, livable city. Welcoming them can benefit Pittsburgh similarly.
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