Local News Stories – 2015
I don’t know what you’d do with those stretches of EFT where there is zero horizontal space between trail and parkway. Frankly, I’m more worried about a car flying down the EFT 60 mph on its roof than any air pollution.
It would be quite cool to figure out how to assimilate tiered data with lots and lots of low quality data
One more question:
Are you set up to generate a temporal sequence from the data?
I’m thinking of an animation that shows a 24h cycle, say for workdays and for weekends. I can see this being really useful for people planning their riding (and more generally as a policy input).
@Stu: There might be alternatives, say a low wall topped by a transparent glass barrier (if there is such a thing that’s vandal proof).
“Frankly, I’m more worried about a car flying down the EFT 60 mph on its roof than any air pollution.”
I’m so glad I’m not the only one who’s had nightmarish scenarios like this run through my head.
I envision being chased down the EFT by a tanker truck filled with fuel… jack-knifed, overturned and bursting into flames.
That, or corn syrup.
@stu Frankly, I’m more worried about a car flying down the EFT 60 mph on its roof than any air pollution.
The first few times I was on the Jail Trail, I was freaking out. Standard procedure if I hear a car coming up behind me at 70+ mph, on Forbes or Liberty, say, I kind of dive for the sidewalk, without even looking.
I have to recalibrate my ears to ride on the Trail.
I completely agree that of the hazards to cyclists in Pittsburgh, air pollution probably ranks fairly low. That being said, 3 of the top 10 causes of mortality in the global burden of disease have to do with breathing fine particles (breathing over a 3-stone open cooking fire, not a common problem in Pgh; breathing through a lit tube filled with tobacco, a fairly common problem in Pgh; and just breathing).
Something like 1-2% of deaths in the US are attributable to #3, which is the topic of conversation here. More relevant, probably, is something near 10% of heart attacks are associated with #3. So, is a cyclist more likely to have a heart attack or to be doored? In spite of the alarming proximity of fast cars on the EFT, that does not rate high on my risk list. Hitting the middle bollard by the rental station, now THAT is on my list. I’ve been known to go through that gate at a pretty good clip.
> Hitting the middle bollard by the rental station, now THAT is on my list. I’ve been known to go through that gate at a pretty good clip.
For what it’s worth, I asked a couple council offices a couple years ago to see about removing the bollards at the rental station and the gates on the Panther Hollow Trail, and didn’t get much response beyond ‘we’ll look into it’, and also discussed it with Planning Director Ray Gastil at a meeting last fall. Maybe it’s time to try again.
I bike up East and Evergreen fairly often. I don’t worry about getting hit by a bus very much, let alone one rolling down the hillside off I-279. Cars going sideways on the Parkway are hardly a rare occurrence.
Then again, I’m riding right alongside or following cars/trucks/buses in traffic everywhere, so the monoxide and soot coming off passing traffic on I-376 do not strike me as that big a deal.
I think what I’m saying is that I don’t give a hang about air pollution so much as getting hit by stupid drivers, and not because they aren’t looking, but because they were going to wreck anyway and I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We have plenty of evidence that getting your hair done in a salon or buying gum in a convenience store are also good ways to get hit by a car.
While I share the gut reaction that cars are a much bigger concern than pesky sub-micron particles (pun semi-intended), the data are ambiguous.
Let’s start with dying, as that tends to focus the mind. There are about 700 cycling deaths per year and about 70,000 deaths attributed to breathing fine PM pollution. So, if about 1% of people are active cyclists, the two numbers are at least in the same range. Of course that ignores all sorts of obvious things. People tend to breathe all the time but unless they are Danny Chew or crushing the commonwealth like Stef they don’t tend to be on a bike actually all the time, and it is also probable that cyclists are on the whole healthier and less likely to have cardio pulmonary deficits. I have no idea how many heart attacks occur each year while people are either on a bike or just rode, but I suspect the number is pretty small, in spite of the zany things my heart monitor does when I go up Dornbush. Bike accident fatalities have a mean age of 43 and it is probable that the PM fatalities occur mostly in people older than that (but NOT in people who were about to die anyway — the epi people call that “harvesting”). etc, etc, etc.
If you go beyond dying (or maybe stop short of dying is a better way to state it…) you wind up comparing road rash, concussions, etc to reduced lung function, etc. In this case it is very likely that cyclists really do suffer more damage than your average person, simply because we gulp so much air. I would not be at all surprised if we sustain more injury from breathing crappy air than we sustain from being hit by things.
Risk perception is a funny thing. We famously over estimate risk from alarming but unlikely causes and underestimate it from quotidian stuff. In this case, winding up on someone’s windshield may be the alarming one while breathing may be quotidian. Again, I am not arguing that anybody should tone down the vehicle safety conversation — I squawk at the 2′ passes as loud as anybody — but air pollution remains a big deal.
Also less than 1% of people are active cyclists. I think there are somewhere between 500K and 1M bicycle commuters. Even if you add in some recreational cyclists who don’t commute you don’t get near 1%.
Also, this brings up another thing, which is that we really need a comprehensive national survey of cyclist health and behavior in this country. The last good study is over 40 years old now. It’s very hard to evaluate safety issues based on a study done when cycling is so different. We need something that looks into the causes of accidents, into how many people are putting in how many hours on a bike, into the effect of bicycle infrastructure and personal safety items like lights, helmets, and reflectors, etc.
Bus meets bike: How the next wave of commuters is changing the urban landscape
@jonawebb we really need a comprehensive national survey of cyclist health and behavior in this country.
If you aren’t especially concerned about our air pollution, go somewhere with clean air and go for a ride. I’m always blown away by how nice the air is when I visit family in rural Oregon. It feels luxurious to breathe there and it’s much more comfortable to really gulp in the air. There’s no doubt our pollution is doing harm. I don’t expect to die early from cycling here for any reason, but that doesn’t excuse our serious problems with both air and safety. Clean air and not being murdered by other people are both considered human rights according to the UN.
I agree rich. I ride up in Warren County sometimes and the air is sweet smelling and wonderful. Here it is just one big smog/diesel pit. Sure is sad, but we love our big SUV’s and we love our coal, so not much anyone can do about it.
Community fund backs Ohio River Trail Council effort to extend Ohio River Trail
I rode through downtown last night at rush hour. The air was not luxurious.
“If you aren’t especially concerned about our air pollution, go somewhere with clean air and go for a ride.”
Alternatively, ride through Glassport some mornings when the whole town smells like burnt plastic…
Charity distributes adaptive bikes to students who have disabilities
This might lead to a better trail on SouthSide
No mention of cyclists. The mishmash of statistics at the end of the article is the short that drives me nuts. For example, “Four states — California, Texas, Florida and New York — accounted for 43 percent of U.S. pedestrian deaths in 2013.” Any guesses on what four states are the most populous in the US? However, they account for almost exactly 33% of the population, so they are as a group somewhat more dangerous than average.
Trib article on the East Ohio St bike lanes:
A bit surprised that there continues to be no news on the trail being built along PA28. It could connect nicely to these bike lanes
Story on Montour Trail improvements, complete with map!
Bike lanes on East Ohio St: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/7936229-74/bike-lanes-east
> A bit surprised that there continues to be no news on the trail being built along PA28. It could connect nicely to these bike lanes.
This is the first I’ve heard of that being a ‘trail’, rather than just a replacement of the previous sidewalk along the highway…
@buffalo, you may be right. My statement was based on something that was said on another thread (http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/penndot-east-street-meeting-march-5th/#post-309425). But then, the last post on that thread refers to a news release which describes it as a “wider walkway”. I’m not familiar with what was there before, but it probably would have been somewhat easy to add a trail there.
If you see this please turn it in. Last seen in New Brighton, Beaver County, so it may turn up on the next rando:
It “doesn’t pose a public health threat unless it’s broken open, tampered with or otherwise damaged.” So don’t do that.
Didn’t something similar go missing off the back of a truck last year too? These contractors need to keep better track of their toys.
BTW, google says it’s a Surface Moisture-Density
For the multi-modal commuters out there, finally you’ll be able to reload ConnectCards online soon:
Mayor announces Complete Streets initiative for Downtown. Naturally, the comments (and the article, really) focus on the addition of bike lanes:
Another article on the new Envision Downtown initiative, from the Trib:
This one focuses more on the big picture of this initiative, and makes no mention of additional bike lanes downtown. Surprising, really.
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